Saturday, 17 November 2012

Inchfield Moor, Rushy Hill and Watergrove Hill 11.11.12


A circular walk, 13.3 miles.

It was cold, November and a mixed forecast - perfect for a stroll on the moors! In particular a stroll across Inchfield Moor, which I had seen on the local news recently regarding moorland that is being managed purposely for Grouse shooting and some damage it was causing to the land itself. But aside from that it looked like a fantastic place for a quick walk and with it being a short walk from the town of Walsden, I drew a route up.  
 Now naturally I was on the hunt for any Trig Points in the area to bag, Inchfield Moor has one, but there are two others I have managed to incorporate into the route aswell, overall producing a 13.3 mile circle.
 It was the 11th of the 11th, which means Remembrance Day. Typically the train I was on was delayed by 10 minutes meaning arriving into Walsden at 11 am on the dot, and so I had to break the two minutes silence to ask the person sat next to me to excuse me so I could get off the train. This made no difference, as the train was absolutely packed out and no one seemed bothered about observing the silence anyway, or for that matter even aware of the tradition.
 Arriving at this time for a 13 mile plus hike meant I was pushing it for light, which was playing on my mind a little, it would be possible to do a hike of that mileage before it would be dark, but I'd have to get a move on!
 Here arriving into Walsden station, just as an express swooshed by on the other side...
Coming out of the station I turned right and headed along the edge of the A6033 road that cuts through the sleepy town. I then turned right again after about quarter of a mile up the steep Inchfield Road, following this I was soon high up above Walsden...
 The lane eventually brings you out onto the moors and it was quite windy here...
 After a good mile or so the lane becomes a track taking you past some farm houses. Rough Hill is the rise in the land on the left...
 The edge of Inchfield Moor ahead now. The path to get onto the moor itself passes under the pylon...
 Here looking back towards Walsden, with cloud making its way up the valley towards the town and across Blackstone Edge...
 The easy to follow path cuts across some expected very boggy ground towards Freeholds Top, the highest point of Inchfield Moor...
 Inchfield Moor summit Trig Point and the highest point on the walk, at 454 metres...
 Heading south along a substantial pathway now, here the cloud starting to roll in...
 Heading across bleak Hades Hill here, looking towards Middle Hill...
 Watergrove Reservoir and Middle Hill, with Brown Wardle Hill sticking up behind...
 Middle Hill has been quarried in a few places and it's seemingly still used, the path however is easy to follow across it.
 Here I'm descending from quarried Middle Hill towards Brown Wardle Hill...
 Approaching the summit of Brown Wardle Hill now, with its interesting way markers that are dotted about along the old pack horse trail that runs over the it. This hill has a summit cairn too, unusual for these parts. Apparently the cairn is in place of a vandalised Trig Point that once adorned the summit...
 It's a steep descent to get off Brown Wardle Hill, but the views were better now that the fog was lifting slightly.
 When studying a map, this part of the world is covered in paths, trails and bridleways. From here there was a group of 50 (yes I counted) horses being ridden along the Pennine Bridleway, a quite amazing site really, worth stopping to rest and watch...
 Heading towards the next rise in the land, Rushy Hill. The building high up on the right has something to do with a large golf course that is ahead...
 Onto the Pennine Bridleway now that runs next to the course, always a bit unnerving walking next to a golf course...
 Looking west towards Knowl Hill...
 Heading east directly across the moor from the Pennine Bridleway now towards the top of Rushy Hill. Here sheep keeping the fairway of the golf course nice and trim...
 And eventually to the summit of boggy Rushy Hill above Rochdale, at 315 metres...
Looking towards the village of Wardle on the left here on the descent from Rushy Hill...
The path got a bit confusing across various farms before getting into Wardle, but eventually I came to this substantial lane. Here looking towards Clay Pots Hill on the left and Watergrove Hill on the right above Wardle...
A brass band was playing as I strolled through the village, which was a nice moment on Remembrance Day, it was also a quick walk through the village and I was striding towards the next port of call, Watergrove Hill.
 Here looking across Watergrove Reservoir towards the now climbed Brown Wardle Hill on the left and Middle Hill on the right, from the marshy slopes of Watergrove Hill...
And to the Trig Point on the top of Watergrove Hill at 306 metres. The M62 was clearly visible from here, with Rishworth Moor and Blackstone Edge not looking to far away too. Hollingworth Lake is also visible in the below picture above Littleborough...
After scaling a few dry stone walls I was onto the Pennine Bridleway again, here heading towards the edges of Turn Slack Clough...
The track descends for a time, then climbs steeply uphill towards the 400 metre mark before you head onto the Rochdale Way which appears to have had quite a lot of work done to it recently, making it very muddy to walk along.
 After climbing back to this height, that means there is always going to have to be a steep descent at some point...
I headed down the very steep clough before heading along the embankment for a time at the side of the A6033. But after a while the path became indiscernible and I decided to walk the road instead...
Heading through Bottomley on the A6033 here...
And after a good mile of road walking I was back into Walsden...
And finally back to Walsden railway station completing the walk...
Overall a tough hike as the ground is so sodden, and with having to race against the dark. I also have to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the scenery beyond Inchfield Moor, but I was surprised. A good walk in all.

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