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Last week’s recce was in delightful weather. Today’s walk was on another grey day. I’m not surprised that some folk bottled – our destination was smothered in cloud when we set off after 10.30. A select group of the five pharmacists pictured above, and yours truly.
Knowing this was going to be a short walk, we could afford to start with a leisurely coffee in the Great House Barn’s café. Sue even managed to squeeze in a parkrun before the walk, whilst I had a tooth filled.
We started off along one of the many tree lined avenues in Lever Park, named after William Lever, Lord Leverhulme, who bought the estate in 1899. After this level stretch through chatty woodland to warm up, a pretty path leads up above Knowle House.
A short descent is then required to cross a narrow valley full of moss covered rocks.
A good path then leads up to Ormstons Farm and onwards towards Pike Cottage. We took a short break, with good views to our objective, Rivington Pike, and beyond the local reservoirs to the Lancashire coast. Thankfully, by now the mist had cleared and the sun was trying to emerge, despite a forecast of rain.
After a while, we arrived at the high point of the walk, Rivington Pike Tower, 363 metres above sea level, a hunting lodge built in 1733. Here, Shak, with his customary panache, obliged a large group of jolly ramblers with photos from each of their ‘phones.
Our own group photo was rather easier, and the picture(s) can be shared via Dropbox.
Did you know that the hunting lodge, the entrance to which is now blocked up, has a spacious cellar?
Our team, Shak in particular, found the ensuing descent rather easier than the ascent. Perhaps because we had refuelled with tea, cake and bananas, plus some excellent spicy seaweed from a Korean supermarket. Thanks Katrina.
The path soon levels out as it joins the track that by-passes the tower and continues to the spooky looking Pigeon Tower. Built in 1910, and with Lady Leverhulme's sewing room on the top floor, it was renovated in 1974 and re-roofed in 2005. It now seems to be implicated in some further restoration work, as are the terraced gardens below it.
Here’s a bit more information:
The Pigeon Tower was built in gritstone with four storeys, each a single room. It has a steeply pitched roof and a corbelled chimney. On the west side is a semi-circular stair turret with a conical roof. The fourth storey, Lady Lever’s sewing room, has four light mullioned windows on two sides. The second and third storeys are a dovecote. On the west wall are square pigeon holes with perching ledges.
Beyond the Pigeon Tower, a steep, rocky track, deeply eroded into the hillside, leads to a car park, beyond which easy paths lead to Rivington Hall Barn, which was renovated by Lord Leverhulme in the early 1900s, but which may originally date from up to 1000 years earlier, albeit the current structure dates (merely!) from the 16th century.
Rivington Hall Barn is devoted to private events (today’s was a wedding) on Saturdays, but it has a thriving cafe full of bikers and hikers on Sundays.
Raindrops towards the end of our walk deterred us from continuing for an afternoon amble. Instead, we enjoyed a lengthy lunch at the Great House Barn, which provides café facilities every day of the week. The last three pictures from the walk were taken in light rain.
This barn is dated 1702, probably from a restoration or rebuilding. It was restored, altered, and enlarged in 1905. It has an exposed oak cruck frame, clad in squared sandstone and stone slate roof. A Tudor-style timber-framed porch and mullion windows are 20th-century additions. It’s an excellent café.
Here’s our route – 7.2 km with about 220 metres ascent, taking us about two and a quarter hours. A delightful stroll, and thanks to everyone for coming along.
I believe that Shakeel is minded to arrange another similar event.