The motley crew of fourteen East Lancs LDWA Plodders left the cool and breezy layby opposite Owd Betts pub bang on time at 10.30. Hard luck, anyone who may have been a few minutes late!
We were soon in a more sheltered spot down by Lumb Bridge, in a valley where there used to be many water powered mills, none of which is currently operational.
We paused for Paul (out of picture – above) to take a self-timed photo that will appear elsewhere.
There are many remnants of these various mills.
We noted that the entire valley has a 'man-made' appearance, as we made our way to this chimney near Deep Moss.
After elevenses and cake here, our group of fourteen dashed off up the heathery slopes of Deep Moss. The ling was in full bloom.
Not everyone could keep up with Bernard's rapid pace. A series of ‘waits’ took place beside the foamy waters of Cheesden Brook.
Neil was valiantly trying to keep his disparate group together.
We passed an interesting 'barn conversion in progress' near Cleggs Wood, after which the spires of Heywood beckoned as we loped down to the lowest point of the walk.
After that, beside Naden Brook, it was all uphill, which proved a bit much for Carol, but a breeze for most of us.
A facsimile of Norman's skeleton had been pinned to the cliff face opposite.. "he upset the landowner", explained Neil. In deference to elderly sub-elite Plodders like Norman, I’ve excluded the photo.
Beside Naden Brook, the 'Hidden Valley' was a riot of foliage that concealed the brook, man made waterfalls, tunnels, mill buildings and groups of picnickers in this haven of industrial archaeology.
We crossed a bridge near the Owl Sanctuary that led shortly to a café, which sadly was shut, so no respite there… so we meandered slowly back up to Owd Betts, from where a mercy mission to rescue Carol was launched.
Here's our route - 15km, 300 metres ascent, in 4.5 hours. A really excellent and interesting route. Thanks, Neil.
There’s a slideshow here. I hope the link works; Google seems to have disabled the links to all my old slideshows as they bully me into using Google+ rather than the version I’ve been happy with for years. To view the slideshow you need to click on the first image then either manually use the arrows and note the captions to the right, or click on ‘slideshow’ to view the full screen images at your leisure.
Here’s Neil’s report:
Fourteen Plodders and a dog ventured into the Hidden Valleys of Rochdale on a dry but breezy Wednesday.
The circular walk took them through Cheesden Valley, Deeply Dale, Ashworth Valley and Naden Valley, passing long forgotten old industrial sites with stone remains, lodges, bridges, chimneys and mill streams.
The walkers were warned at the off that gaiters were recommended as some of the paths where prone to mud at the best of times, but some managed to keep reasonably clean even without them.
The Cheesden Brook provided power for over fourteen mills during the nineteenth century and work for over two thousand people. Walking through the valleys now it is difficult to imagine them all fitting into such a confined space.
The Haweswater water system that feeds Manchester passes through the valley and between 1976-79 Deeply Vale was the site of a free music festival. The festival managed to overcome bad publicity and its soggy debut to become the major event in the free festival scene in the late seventies.
It's amazing how nature can reclaim the land after such interference by man but the old mills and lodges now add to the character of the valleys.
Passing a scout campsite on the opposite side of Ashworth Valley, the walkers crossed Ashworth Road and walked through a residential caravan site, the party entered the Naden Valley passing the old Carr Wood Tea rooms and more old mill sites. The route passed Millcroft Gardens Tearooms, which, unfortunately doesn't open midweek. It was steadily up hill from then on to reach Edenfield Road and the Owd Betts public house beside which the cars where parked.