Friday, 11 July 2014

Rivington Pike

I mentioned in a previous post that I've been on leave for the last couple of weeks. After our holiday in Verona in May, it was time for a staycation and to explore places much closer to home.

Our first destination was Rivington Pike. When I was younger it was traditional to walk to the Pike on Good Friday and thousands still do so. At the same young age I thought the Pike was the television mast on the top of Winter Hill. Then I thought it must be the 'castle' on the small hill at the side. Nope, the Pike is actually just the small hill; 'pic' being the Old English for hill. I'll tell you more when we reach it later.

There are lots of routes up to the Pike but we chose to start at Lower House car park and set off along the heavily cobbled path.

As we steadily climbed higher and higher, the view started to open out. We could just glimpse the reservoir below.

The route was taking us through part of the Terraced Gardens built by William Hesketh Lever, Lord Leverhulme, in the early 1900s. Before he planted trees and shrubs, and built waterfalls, rockpools, terraces, bridges and towers, there was nothing but open hillside and moorland.

In front of us was the Seven Arch Bridge which is rumoured to have been based on the design of a bridge in Africa.

To our left were stone steps leading to an intriguing archway. I was really curious to see where it led but maybe another time or we'd never reach the Pike.

A little further on, a pool leading to a stream.

(I was going to save this photo for the Pool category of the latest Scavenger Hunt so I'm hoping I find another or you'll be seeing it again!)

And several ruined buildings.

We're now emerging out of the trees and into more open moorland.


There were lots of what I think are bilberries growing up here amongst the heather. A man I once met whilst picking blackberries told me they're also known as wimberries.

Look up and we can now see our destination, the tower on top of the Pike.

Almost there!

We made it!

The tower dates from 1733. All the doors and windows are bricked up now but it apparently contains a cellar and a fireplace and, for a while, was used as a refuge by grouse shooting parties.

From the top of the Pike you can see for miles on a good day. It has been used as a site for beacons since the 12th century. I remember waiting and watching for the fire to be lit for the Queen's silver jubilee and then again last year for her diamond jubilee. Nothing but darkness and then a bright flickering light in the distance. I read somewhere that, using these beacons, warnings could be sent tens of miles in just a few minutes.

Looking left, you can see the Pigeon Tower, built in 1910, which was used by Lady Lever as a sewing room. If only!

If you look closely you can also see a white building in the distance, just over the top of the reservoir. That's the Mormon Temple in Chorley.

Behind us is the television mast on the top of Winter Hill, the highest point of the West Pennine Moors at 1496 feet.

I think this is Pike Cottage.

And this is the unmistakeable Reebok Stadium, home to Bolton Wanderers Football Club (recently renamed Macron Stadium).

What goes up must come down and we headed back along another of the paths, past one of the old garden shelters.

And back over the top of the Seven Arch bridge to join the path to the car park.

We really enjoyed our walk to the Pike. It's one of those things I've been meaning to do for years and just never got around to. It was also interesting seeing the terraced gardens and I think we'll be back to explore them properly another time. x


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  1. What a wonderful day out. I love the seven arch bridge, I have never seen anything like that, how great that you got to go under and over it!! xx

  2. A fabulous post, nice to see something so close to where we live in such good light x

  3. It was nice to see the walk here - we were in Bolton at the weekend and considered a walk here but it driving around, I wasn't convinced so we didn't stay!

  4. What a great place for a walk, just love the bridge, the walls and the old buildings and the view...just lovely and you photos show it of realy well.
    Great post.
    Amanda xx

  5. Absolutely stunning - love the bridge and the sewing room - and the views - and the plants - it was all spectacular.

  6. So much to see on that long walk - I hope someday I might walk it. But what sort of shoes will I wear on that cobbled path??

  7. What an atmospheric place! There is something a bit creepy about that tower, all alone on top of the moor, with it's bricked up windows. But the views are just stunning. x