Return to Whittle Wanderer

Horwich, Rivington Pike, Noon Hill, winter Hill, Hempshaw’s, Great Hill, Wheelton, Lancashire.
[22.2 km]  Wed 23 Aug 2017

OS Grid ref: SD 64474 11505
53.598901, -02.538283

I caught the 125 bus from the A6 Shaw Brow stop around 09:45 getting a ticket through to the Horwich Parish Church bus stop after the Leisure Centre. Using public transport is a great way to do a one way walk. I got off the bus outside the Parish Church then walked down the path to where another path descended to Purl Brook where cobblestones had been used to line the brook bed and sides.

The 125 bus in Horwich

Purl Brook cobblestones

Steps and River Douglas
I followed Bridge Street to where a path cut through the housing estates on either side. I emerged on to Green Lane then into woodland to descend steeply to the River Douglas. Up some steep steps I came to crossroads in the track and continued straight on, though I don’t think it’s not an official track. I came to the foundations of an old ruin which used to be part of the adjacent and long disused quarry.
Rivington Pike
I joined a track wich continued up to the Belmont Lane track. At the gate where two workmen gazing out to the distant views. We chatted for a while and I continued up into the mist. I was heading for Rivington Pike and earlier it was obscured by cloud. As I climbed through the damp grass I could see it up ahead and by the time I’d got there the views were clearing.
Pigeon Tower from Rivington Pike

Rivington Pike

Noon Hill cairn and Winter Hill masts

It was the perfect spot to stop, take in the views & eat my sandwiches. My next objective was to visit the Noon Hill cairn in the distance. The path to it was incredibly wet and deep bog in places. It was worth it as the Bronze age burial monument has been dated to around 1100 BC. Noon Hill has been excavated twice, first in 1958 and then a second time in 1963/4 by Bolton Archaeological Society and members of Chorley Archaeological Society.

Winter Hill trig post
I then turned east to head for Winter Hill. I didn’t think it possible but the path was even wetter and really hard going in places. On Winter Hill I visited the trig post then doubled back to start the steep descent to roads at Hordern Stoops.
Boundary at Hordern Stoops
It’s a good job I’d taken my walking pole and the descent would have been a nightmare without it. Instead of heading off across Spitler’s Edge I walked down to the ruins of Higher Hempshaw’s and Lower Hempshaw’s. The higher ruin had been partly stabilised since my last visit which was many years ago. A track headed north and I followed it to Standing Stones Hill.  It’s a name that’s always puzzled me as I’ve never seen any standing stones and nothing is shown on the map.
Higher Hempshaw's ruin

An interesting alignment as I looked to the north west. The hump in the foreground is the Round Loaf Tumulus 1.34km (0.83miles) away and to the left on the far horizon is Blackpool Tower 39km (24.23miles) away. The mound scheduled as a Bronze Age bowl barrow
Just after I left the track to follow a narrow path I looked back at the Round Loaf tumulus to the west. The Round Loaf bowl barrow on Anglezarke Moor dates from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. Probably belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. Its profile always intrigues me as it can be seen from several different directions.
Great Hill summit stone shelter
I reached the Spitler’s Edge path and continued along the stone slabs to Great Hill. I turned west and headed for White Coppice but stopped at Drinkwater’s Farm ruins to have a drink from the spring just below Joe’s Cup memorial. Before reaching White Coppice I turned right along the side The Goit and crossed over to Tootals Farm behind The Lowe. I tried to find the tenon top gatepost that used to be adjacent to the buildings but couldn’t find it.
Wheelton House and new gated community
 I crossed the fields to Garstang House Farm then right along the lane to where the old Wheelton House Farm has been renovated. Sadly it is behind large gates now. At Logwood Mill I headed up the track and path towards Harbour Lane. At the first house there is another tenon top gatepost which is still there. My map doesn’t give it a name but the old map calls it Monk’s Hill House. I walked down Brier’s Brow, across the bypass and on to Victoria Street where I left to follow the path across the fields behind Rye Bank Cottages. At Whins Lane I joined the Leeds & Liverpool Canal back to Town Lane then the final mile walk home.
Tenon top at Monk's Hill