RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

Well, not far enough in fact; technically speaking it was actually a viaduct we had arranged to visit; it has ten arches and is a grade two listed building by English Heritage. Today was one of those rare open days of the Sustrans owned Martholme Viaduct. If it were not for one recalcitrant land owner it would form part of the through route from Blackburn to Burnley for cyclists, horse riders and walkers.

Starting from Accrington’s Tesco we immediately joined NCN6 heading for Church Kirk on this bright and dry day. One of the features of the route, usually not of concern to cyclists, is the vast number of bridges we use; so for this report I shall describe the route bridge by bridge.

Reaching the Leeds and Liverpool Canal we crossed the Hyndburn Aqueduct, hardlyvisible below the lush vegetation. Only a few metres ahead was the Church Swing Bridge. The next bridge was the stone and humped back Peel Bank Bridge, which gave access to the Peel Bank Arm, a short stretch of canal once used to supply local industry.

Progressing towards Clayton le Moors we arrived at Riley’s Swing Bridge, the only road access to Whin Isle Farm. Onwards, and we passed under the M65 to the Enfield Changeline Bridge.

Next after going under the Whalley Road Bridge we passed Pilkington Bridge to arrive at Foster’s Swing Bridge; here we left the canal to descend to the Hyndburn Brook, crossing Mill Lane Bridge before joining the old railway route to the Martholme Viaduct. Many visitors were enjoying the open day; a narrow gauge railway had been assembled on the viaduct and was doing a roaring trade. I would never have dreamed I would see a train using the viaduct in my lifetime.

Leaving the viaduct we rode through Harwood Bar for a refreshment stop at Great Harwood’s Tesco.

Leaving Great Harwood on the route of the old railway loop line, once used to supply the insatiable appetite of Padiham, Huncoat and Whitebirk power stations with coal. The only bridge still existing on this section crosses the path to the hamlet of Tottleworth; the others have been removed.

Now heading back to the canal we reach it at Tottleworth Bridge, another old route down into the hamlet. Progressing along the canal we pass under Rishton Bridge and over the M65 Aqueduct. Reaching New Barn Bridge we divert from the towpath to Church Kirk to cross the canal at Changeline Bridge 112.

Riding through the streets of Cote Holme we crossed Accrington Road and passed under the very low Church Railway Bridge and joined the former rail route back to our start point. There were many other bridges along this section of the route, but I think this is now getting somewhat tedious. Boring bridges, or what? Unlike today’s company!


View the photos of the bridges here on our Flickr account.

See you all at Rivington Great House Barn next time, Brian.