RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

Today’s run started from Curley’s Trout Fishery at Wallsuches on the western flank of Winter Hill above Horwich. We have visited here for lunch on previous rides, but this was the first time we had started a Saturday ride from it. When Curley’s originally opened it was in a pre-fabricated ex-office type building, then another and larger pre-fab building was erected slightly farther along the site. This gave room to build the splendid stone structure we see today; it has a classroom, living accommodation for the Water Bailiff and most importantly a café and loos.

Our route today was along George’s Lane to Lord Leverhulme’s Pigeon Tower. The lane has been very busy throughout its life with traffic associated with coal mining, quarrying and water catchment; it was once the direct route through to Belmont, joining the present road at Hordern Stoops: Hordern was Belmont’s original name, changing in the early 1800’s.

Along the lane we passed Pike Cottage, once open as a café for two weeks, but lacking planning consent, it was closed by order of the local council. It is now boarding kennels. Just after the cottage we crossed the Metropolitan Boundary into Lancashire and started the climb beside Brown Hill, here was the site of the first of two public conveniences before the Pigeon Tower, this one, once surrounded by rhododendrons, was demolished about forty years ago. The other one, just below Rivington Pike at the top entrance to the Terraced Gardens is still standing, but has not been in use for many years. Yes, a very in-convenient ride.

At Brown Hill Dave and Ian left us to climb up to the Pike, more of this later.

Arriving at the Pigeon Tower the view opens up towards the Ribble Estuary, Morecambe Bay and the Lake District to the north and Southport to the west, but what was most noticeable was the snow atop the Welsh peaks to the south west..

Whilst taking in these splendid views Dave and Ian arrived fresh from their climb to the Pike. Would they want to join us when we did the ascent later? Yes, they would.

Just to the south east of the Tower there is marked on the Ordnance Survey maps a “tank”, this is often confused as being the site of a derelict World War Two fighting vehicle once used as target practice up to the early fifties by the Army and Home Guard. This was sited just off Rivington Road a couple of miles away and was cut up for scrap at the end of its use. The tank shown on the map is for water catchment and was used to feed the small boating lake just below and to the south of the Pigeon Tower.

Arriving at Brown Hill on the way back we turned for the Pike, Keith and Sue left us here. They were helping with the organisation of next week’s ride from Turton Tower by visiting and asking Paula if she would open thirty minutes earlier than usual for us. Thanks to Keith and Sue, she agreed.

On the approach to the Pike’s mound we were riding against a strong breeze, but as we turned onto the winding last part of the ascent the wind fairly blew us up. There were so many folk atop the Pike that it would be fair to say there was standing room only.

The swift descent from the top brought us quickly to Montcliffe, here we had a conflab, should we descend Marklands Road, pass the Gingham Fishery into Arcon Village and re-enter Wallsuches by this round-about route? Gary and Sue thought it a reasonable plan, so off we went.

Curley’s was rather busy we arrived back, but we did find a free table to enjoy a light snack before heading off to our respective homes.


See the photos here on our Flickr account.

See you all at Turton Tower next week, Brian.