Sunday, 28 August 2011

Rivington Country Park

Distance 7.5km; Ascent: 220m; with Lynsey & Isabel

It was turning out a to be a typical bank holiday weekend weather wise, with plenty of heavy showers yesterday.  It was forecast to be marginally better today, so we decided to head out for a walk.  Given that the Peak District was likely to be extremely busy, we opted for a walk in the fine West Pennine Moors and there was a pleasant sounding one in our Lancashire ATP book.

We set off from the Great House Barn car park under threatening skies soon after 9:30am and headed down towards Lower Rivington Reservoir.  We followed a path south  through windy, but pleasant, woodland for a kilometre or so to reach The Castle.  This interesting folly is a replica of Liverpool castle and was built by Lord Levershulme between 1912 and 1925; there were excellent views out over the reservoir from here, although it was still quite windy.

The Castle, Rivington
View across Lower Rivington Reservoir from The Castle
From the castle we followed the good path ESE towards the road; the windy dropped considerably now we were no longer next to the reservoir.  Once across the road we locked the front wheel and started to ascend the tree rooty path past an enclosure containing wild boar and goats.

We soon joined a better track, which we forsake after a minute to take a muddy path further up the hillside.  After a few minutes we reached the bottom of a wide cobbled track leading up into the hills.  It was tricky getting the pushchair established on the track once through the gate due to the eroded ground.

On way up towards Rivington Pike
It was hard work pushing Isabel up the hill, whilst trying to pick the easiest route through the cobbles; however the views were excellent, especially now that the sun was out!  We zigzagged up the hill to reach another cobbled track just below Rivington Pike, which we turned left onto, heading into the wind.  After a few hundred metres it transpired that we had taken a wrong turning, due to an unclear description in the book; I should have paid more attention to the OS map instead!

We decided to continue along the wrong path and just miss out Rivington Pike, which would have been very windy anyway.  At a disused toilet block we rejoined our planned route and forked left downhill.  However there was a kissing gate that was far too narrow for a pushchair to negotiate first; therefore Lynsey carried Isabel whilst I lifted the pushchair over.

After a short distance we reached an unexpected T junction with no guidance in the book about which way to go.  It looked like either way might take us downhill, but which one would be easiest with the pushchair?  After a consultation with OS Explorer 287, I concluded that we should turn left.  This we did and soon reached a further junction where we turned right.  We soon passed underneath a fancy bridge, which was mentioned in our ATP book, thus providing us with evidence that we were on the correct path.

Fancy bridge in the Chinese Gardens, Rivington
The bridleway turned into a road at a car park; here we turned left down another bridleway into the woods.  The sky was looking increasingly threatening again and a heavy, but short-lived shower broke shortly before we reached Rivington Hall Barn.  The paths were much busier here and we took a track next to the road back to the car park, where we arrived at around 12:15.  It had been an enjoyable morning's walk and we treated ourselves to lunch in the tearoom :)

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