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Spread Eagle, Ramsgreave, Mellor, Stanley Grange, Nab's Head, Jack Green, Pippin Street, Lancashire.
[24.5 km]  Tue 09 Mar 2021

 
OS Grid ref: SD 66837 31027
Lat/Long: 53.774304, -2.503255

I'm on another one way walk. Fortunately I have been able to get a lift from my brother to the start of my walk at The Spread Eagle Inn at Ramsgreave. It was very misty with slight drizzle as I walked west along Mellor Lane. It was shortly after 8:30 a.m. when Iset off and there was lots of traffic travelling at speed. As I entered Mellor I turned right up a muddy field track to the Ordnance Survey trig post on the summit. This is also the site of a Roman signal station which can just be seen on the lidar images.
Spread Eagle.

 Rain along the lane.

 Mellor distance information plate.

 ROC (Royal Observer Corps) installation.
Slightly to the west is a ROC (Royal Ordnance Corps) observation post. The access lid is covered with a large stone slab and it appears to be sealed. There is also an information plate with with views that can be seen in the distance but I couldn't see anything in the drizzle. I followed a path through the field down to the lane back into Mellor.

 Mellor summit showing old map and lidar image.

 Hacking House Gatepost.
I continued down Nickey Lane to the former Whitecroft Farm on the left. The footpath is shown going through the Farmhouse yard on the old maps but it is now a private house house and I had to go through their garden with a large dog. Once out into the fields the path was horribly wet and I continued down towards Hacking House a stile on the way was very difficult to get through. I reach the farmyard and then out onto the main A677 road. I turned right to head towards Preston as far as the bottom of Mire Ash Brow then turned left onto an old track that was the original access route to Stanley House. It is now very overgrown but there was still the original lighting post sticking up from The verge. Higher up I joined the tarmac access to Stanley Grange and continued to the car parking area which was almost deserted as the place seemed closed. I headed out into another muddy field to the boundary wall of the Woodfold boundary wall of the Woodfold estate. I headed east along a path through the field which became wetter as I continued. I descended through the trees to cross the access road to Middle Lodge then down through the fields passing Walks Cottage and on to Arley Farm where there was a substantial wooden footbridge over Arley Brook.
I walked up the wet field to Middle Farm which I could see on the horizon. There was a narrow section of path between a hedge and fence which was not obvious at first. I emerged onto a surfaced track and followed it up to Westholme School boundary wall. On the corner of Mains Road was a large benchmark. I sat on the wooden stile to eat my sandwiches then continued South up a very wet field to emerge on Billinge End Road at the Clog and Billycock Inn.
OS Bench Mark near Westholme School.
I turned right to head down Billinge End Road doing my best to avoid the speeding vehicles. It was good to reach the sharp left hand bend where I left the main road to follow a minor access road to the houses around Close Farm. I turned right to head down the very rough lane which passes Alum Scar Quarry and on down to the bridge across Arley Brook. It was very muddy over the bridge but the track improved steadily as I headed up to Wallbanks House.

Alum Scar track

Bridge over Alum House Brook.

Woodfold Hall in a ruinous state.

Elma Amy Yerburgh (1864 - 1946)
This is where I reached the tarmac and across the fields to the right could see Woodfold Hall being extensively renovated. I believe it is being subdivided into apartments. The hall was originally built for Henry Sudell, a cotton merchant, in 1799 before being acquired by John Fowden Hindle who was High Sheriff of Lancashire. In the late 1850s, the property was initially rented by Daniel Thwaites Sr. before being purchased by his son in 1865. At its height, the property comprised over 20 ground floor rooms, built surrounding a courtyard; the house stood in a 400-acre estate, with a dairy and small brew house.
The estate is surrounded by a 9 feet high wall, which was 4 miles long.
Woodfold was for many years home to Elma Yerburgh, daughter of Daniel Thwaites. Elma Amy Yerburgh (née Thwaites, 30 July 1864 – 6 December 1946). Elma had taken control of the brewery's affairs, when Daniel died in 1888. She was on her honeymoon tour when she received the news of her fathers death and was aged just 24 when she became proprietor of the Thwaites empire. During World War II, Mrs. Yerburgh moved away from the property to live in Scotland, and Woodfold Hall became a home for elderly women evacuated from Merseyside. On her death in 1946, the estate was inherited by her son Lord Alvingham, but he soon abandoned the property. In May 1949, the house contents were sold by auction and the house roof was removed (to avoid property taxes), allowing the house to decay. The Hall & Orangery on the estate are Grade II listed buildings.

 Nabs Head.
 
I reached Further Lane and turned left to Nabs Head then steeply down to Samlesbury Bottoms and the bridge over the River Darwen. The Old Mill is now separate industrial units and it is good to see it being used. Heading up the steep climb I'm I crossed a style then steeply up a field to Blakey her Farm access track. The official footpath goes through the farmyard but the Farmer appears to have made a stile across the track and into the field opposite. I took that route and soon regretted it as the field was incredibly wet and boggy.
Spring Bank Farm 1882, Nabs Head.
Continuing South across fields I descended steeply down to cross a brook then up to reach Goose Foot Lane where I turned right for a short distance then left along a footpath and an extremely wet and narrow way between overgrown hedges. I then headed out across fields to cross roach Road then for a short while up up Cripple Gate Lane then across fields towards Quaker Brook. It was while crossing the fields I saw a man approaching with a dog which was running loose. The dog ran up to me and bit my left hand but fortunately didn't break the skin.
Dog bite.
I had some choice words to say to the man and after he'd apologized continued on his way. I reached the main railway line where the path follows the northern side of the railway to the A675 Blackburn Old Road. I climbed the steps to the road and followed it down to The Straits and access track to Brindle Lodge House.
Brindle Lodge.

 Rest here awhile with me.
I only followed the track a short way before the path took me through open ground where I stopped by a bench for a short rest. The path continued to Brindle St Joseph's Church where I turned right by the graveyard and headed across fields to Gregson Lane where I turned right and soon left to follow a footpath across the fields back to the railway line and the crossing at Oram Road. At Oram House I walked through the farmyard then out across fields towards Haddock Park Wood.
I crossed Gorton Brook at a shallow ford and then up into the fields and a very wet and muddy Gateway. continuing across the fields I thankfully reached the footbridge over the motorway at Seed Lee. I then on a defined path here which was still muddy but much easier to negotiate than the fields. Crossing under the M65 at the farm track tunnel I reached Pippin Street. 
Train at Oram crossing.
I decided to stay with the road and headed south to Thorpe Green and then along Holt Lane. I stopped by the Weavers cottages to look at the extension which had recently been completed. The last time I was here it was just a large hole in the ground. I continued along Denham Lane then Carwood Lane footpath and home.
   
 
   
 
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