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Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Tockholes, Darwen Jubilee Tower, Anglezarke Moor, Great Hill, White Coppice, Lancashire.
[33.5 km]  Mon 25Jan 2021

OS Grid ref:
My plan was to catch the 24 bus from Wheelton to Livesey Branch Road and walk home via Tockholes, Darwen Tower, Great Hill and White Coppice. Checking the timetables the bus times have been cut back due to the plague and I wouldn't be able to get to the start until late morning. I decided to walk the whole way. Overnight snow made the walking easier than Iíd expected as with snow grips on my boots it was easy walking. I set off along Town lane around 06:20am then along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Withnell Fold.

 A dark & snowy Town Lane as I set off on my walk.

 Canal towpath near Withnell Fold at Silverwood, the old Gasworks.

 Mooring at Riley Green
By then it had just started to come light. At Riley Green there was enough light to photograph some of the moored barges. It is here that I was the first person of the day, a runner. I continued to the road at Livesey branch Road and joined the footpath.

 Mooring at Riley Green.
I turned east then right at the roundabout and up Horden Rake, Over Broken Stone Road to Bog Height Road. The road is narrow here and fairly narrow so I had to keep a constant watch out for cars. I was relieved to reach the turn off at Meadow Head Lane but being an unadopted road the compacted snow was extremely slippery. I crossed the bridge over the M65 then steeply up to Higher Meadow Head. I left their access track to follow a narrow lane that is now just a narrow muddy path. The sub zero temperature made the going easier. I reached the gate and left turn off into the field. Just off the bend the 1909 map shows a property called Salt Pie. I couldnít see any trace of it now. The footpath up the field isnít defined on the ground so I followed the gps track Iíd created previously. Over a rickety stile I reached the edge of Darwen Golf course and another couple of stiles across the course itself. Its still a public footpath. At the summit wall there is a group of trees and I had a look for a possible future camp spot. Over the stile the field had a shallow covering of snow and was easy to walk across. I was here last week and it was horribly muddy. Down on the farm track I reached the access to Buryís Tenement then on to Houghton farm and Earnsdale Reservoir. The path continues over the embankment. On the track to the left is a memorial stone reading Apparently Russell was a mountain biker who crashed here and sustained fatal injuries.

"Russell Hewitt, died 9th August 2000 aged 31 years old. A beloved son and brother to Mark and Shirley. His life a beautiful memory to all. His absence a silent grief. A friend to many."

Memorial to Russell Hewitt.
I soon left the main track for a minor track then up the footpath towards Darwen Tower. There was a bench where I stopped to eat one of my sandwiches in the sunshine, though it wasn't warm. By the time I reached the tower the wind was very strong and felt extremely cold. I climbed the spiral stairs to the top, walked round then back down again.
Reservoir Keepers House.

 Detail on the House. Darwen Corporation Water Works 1897.

Trig Post by Darwen Tower.

View from Darwen Tower top platform.
Now I re-examin Philosophies and Religions W.W.
J.W. Wallace found

 Darwen Jubilee Tower.
Continuing over the moor I followed a good track where plenty of people were out walking. Passing the area known as Lions Den I descended down to the Tockholes Road where I found some shelter to eat my second and last sandwich. I continued south to the Belmont Road and crossed it to the track heading out over the moor. It was originally and access track to a coal shaft which is where I intended to go. However after a km I noticed footprints heading off to the left towards the Spitlerís Edge path. I set off to follow but realised it was heading the wrong way so took a line across rough snowy ground to reach the Spitlers Edge path. I continued to Great Hill summit but there were too many people around so I continued down to Drinkwaters ruins.

 Drinkwaters Ruins.
Just past there I met Raymond Smith from White Coppice who was heading up to Great Hill. We stopped for a brief chat and he admitted heís never been up to Darwen Tower. I continued down to White Coppice and on to the picnic bench at Warth Bridge. I stopped here and took off the snow grips from my boots and felt instant relief. Though I still had to take care on the roads back to Town Lane and home.
Back across the river I ha
It was horribly wet
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