Turn Right At Liverpool And Keep Walking- Day 16 – Bacup To Rawtenstall – 15 August 2016

My original objective in these walks was to follow the Manchester rivers from source to sea. Having done the Mersey, and not yet brave enough to go further afield on day trips, the next target was clearly the Irwell. Having worked out where that was it was train, tram , bus then taxi into the Lancashire badlands to set off in search of the spring that becomes the puddle that becomes the Irwell.

I couldnt manage to get to that , as it seemed to be on private land, so you will have to make do with a picture of the abandoned pub, and general area of the source

It was a lovely day for a walk though, sunny and warm and everything an August day should be. The bonus, as always when walking a river to source was that it is downhill all the way, therefore I made good progress, eventually getting my first glance, upstream of the inappropriately named Irwell Springs. The water looks rusty because there is a lot of iron in the ground and it picks that up.


The Irwell gathers water quickly and was soon getting wider


It is not an easy river to follow as it was such an important waterway that houses and mills were built alongside it, and it is often even this far up culveted. It follows the road, along steep valleys which makes a long terrace of buildings, the river meandering amongst them. Very Victorian Metropolitan here.


However, still the touch of rural, to break the monotony of the road.


You can se how intergrated the river is into the architecture in this pub


Though not all the culverts have stood the test of time


Bacup as a town appears to have stopped in 1950 and not moved since then, it was sleepy and the shops old fashioned.

or just abandoned, another Co-op gone the way of most


English Heritage named Bacup as the best preserved cotton town in England , and it isn’t difficult to see why. I hope it starts once more to thrive as it has solid buildings going for it, and is close breathtaking Pennine scenery.

I really did like how much the river is a part of life here There isnt the pollution that exists downstream.

The Irwell is getting noticeably bigger.


It didn’t take long to get to Rawtenstall which is where this stage of my walk ended, unfortunately the Steam train was not running today, but I had a chance to look at the station before catching a bus back to Bury.  The station once served Bury and Bacup, but fell victim to Beeching. However, since 1987 it has successfully been reopened as a heritage line, Pete Waterman has given a lot of support (and a few engines). It may once more connect to transpennine services, so there is hope.


A modest 8 miles today, compared with what I am managing currently it seems hardly worth getting out of bed for, but on reflection a very interesting walk with a nice contrast of rural and industrial.

Copyright Allan Russell 2019




Author: allanprussell

Big houses in the Heatons and others that take my interest.

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