Rivington – 24th February 2019

Strenuous Leader : Paul Hogan                                   Distance :  8 or 13.00 miles

Depending on weather, fortitude or morale.

From the Barn we will head up to Rivington Hall and ascend north through the plantations up to Rivington Pike where we will firstly stop for a brew and respite from the inevitably cold wind before heading East and no doubt into that very cold wind and on to the eerie sci-fi bleakness of Winter Hill transmission tower. This bit of the walk to the transmitter is likely to be particularly boggy and even Rob can expect to get muddy.

Once we reach there we can seek the solace of shelter to partake of sustenance and good cheer after which we can then either turn back towards Lever Park (8 miles) or head north and then west to descend into White Coppice following the river back to the reservoirs, and then the reservoirs back to the Barn and a nice cup of tea in warm environs.          

Moderate leisurely Leader: Dave Hatchard                            Distance : 8.25 miles

Leaving the car park, we past the Go Ape Centre then head along upper Rivington Reservoir and skirt past the Yarrow Reservoir and down through Lester Mill Quarry and along Anglezarke Reservoir. From here we walk the track up the valley to reach White Coppice for a lunch stop. After lunch we head back towards Anglezarke Reservoir, on the opposite side passing Kays Farm, over the bridge, and back to Rivington Village. The walk is reasonably flat using well-trodden paths and a few hundred yards of B Roads Only two stiles on this walk.

Easy Leader : Joan McGlinchey                                                Distance 4.50 miles

Joan was asked a short notice to lead the easy walk at Rivington

Let me start by saying I am really very sorry I have not recced this walk due to the weather and work commitments.

I have two walks in mind.

4 miles firstly.

From the Barn we follow along the bridleway past the Rivington Country Park down to Knowle House.  We then loop back taking in the castle on the way back as we walk along the reservoir.

Or, we could do 4.5 mls as we start our walk along Sheep House Lane. After a short while we join a bridleway and walk on until it comes to the end.  This bridleway passes Breres Meadow Pit.  We then join a footpath which takes us in the direction of Rivington Lodge on the way to the castle.  From the castle we take a footpath through Rivington County Park and back to the barn.

Hopefully I will have a chance to speak to people who know the area before the walk and decide which will be the best to take.

Notes on the area

The villages of Rivington, and Anglezarke, lie on the south-western slopes of the West Pennine Moors, an area of moorland and reservoir scenery between Chorley and Bolton. The passage of time and the influence of the manmade lakes have shaped the valley and hillside into the landscape we see today, which has the attraction of a mini-lakeland. The reservoirs were constructed in the middle of the nineteenth century. The area has been populated for centuries, and remains of Bronze Age settlements and tumuli, long since raided, can still be found up on the moors. There is also evidence of an early influence in the area from place names of a Scandinavian origin. It was once a remote area with people being engaged in agriculture, home weaving quarrying and mining.

Rivington has developed over the centuries under several generations of the Pilkington family, who purchased the estate from the de Rivington (or de Roynton) family over 700 years ago. During the early 1600’s the estate was sold to joint owners Robert Lever of D’Arcy Lever and Thomas Breres of Preston. A century later, in 1729, the manor passed into the sole ownership of John Andrews, a descendent of Robert Lever. The manorial rights remained with the same family until 1900, when John William Crompton sold the estate to William Hesketh Lever who created Lever Park and the Terraced Gardens. The estate was subsequently acquired by Liverpool Corporation to protect their water supply.

Shortly after William Hesketh Lever, who later to become Lord Leverhulme, bought the estate, he began to lay out a series of ornamental gardens around his luxurious home named The Bungalow.  Lever made his fortune in soap. Born in Bolton, the son of a grocer, he began making soap in Warrington in 1886.  By the time he died, Lever Brothers, the forerunner of the multinational Unilever, was the largest firm of its kind in the world, and the new town of Port Sunlight was founded. Lord Leverhulme was one of a band of enlightened mill owners who realised that a happy workforce would be more loyal and work harder. His grand estate included the mansion of Rivington Hall, dating from the later 17th and early 18th centuries, but later rebuilt and extended. Still standing beside the hall is the Great House Barn, a much older structure which may date from as early as the 11th century. It was used as a tithe barn, but, is now a restaurant. The gardens themselves incorporate slanting paths and terraces, sets of steps, plus a range of grottoes, bridges and artificial lakes. Built of dark local granite, these features can look sombre on a dull day but are nevertheless intriguing. The gardens have had an eventful history. The exotic plants and buildings fell into decay and became overgrown.  In recent years however, conservation work has opened the network of paths up again and the area is now part of Rivington Country Park and used for recreation. In 2016 a grant of 3.4 million pounds came from the Lottery Heritage Fund to repair and protect the Japanese Garden and the remaining grade 2 structures.