An autumn afternoon dog walk

A long spell of gloriously sunny and very mild weather lasting from mid September finally ended last Friday – it was wet all day, with a mixture of prolonged periods of fine drizzle and shorter bursts of really heavy rain, but on Saturday the sun came back and the weekend has been glorious. It was far too nice to stay in all the time so yesterday I took Sophie and Poppie (and the camera) for a long walk through part of the local countryside so I could capture some of the remaining autumn colours before all the leaves completely disappeared from the trees.
My walk started by the local River Croal where it flows under one of the main roads south of the town and from there I made my way to the upper part of the old Manchester, Bury & Bolton canal. Built between 1791 and 1808 to link Bolton and Bury to Manchester the canal was originally just over fifteen miles long, but it’s been disused since the 1960s and many parts of it have been filled in over the years to make way for various roads, housing developments and industrial estates – only 40% of it still contains water, with many parts very overgrown with reeds, grasses and surface weed, but the canalside path makes for a very pleasant walk on a sunny day.
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River Croal
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Top canal basin
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Top canal
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Top canal and old bridge
Just by the first of the old bridges a wide gravel path took me down a steep slope to the lower canal; the two parts of the canal were once joined by two sets of three staircase locks, and though the lower staircase was filled in many years ago the remains of the upper staircase can still be seen. Not far from there a rather overgrown aquaduct took the canal over the River Irwell and from there my walk took me past open fields on one side and a farm and a recently-built small housing development on the other, though this was shielded from the canal by plenty of tall trees.
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River Irwell
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Lower canal and packhorse bridge
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Looking overgrown
Eventually that section of the canal came to an end and I made that my turn round point, though when I got back to where the old staircase locks used to be I didn’t go back to the upper canal – instead I turned left through a kissing gate to where a path bordered an open field and eventually took me through a large area of woodland. I’d been that way one day back in early May and had been surprised to see a couple of young deer running across the field and into the woods so I rather hoped I would get lucky and see them again but other than a squirrel and a couple of other dogs with their owners I didn’t see any other signs of life.
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From canal side to woodland
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A walk through the woods

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The end of the walk
The woods ended in another open field with a bridge across the River Croal and at the far side was the car park where I’d left the van. I hadn’t been watching the time so when I got back there I was quite surprised to realise that my walk had taken me two hours – I didn’t think I’d been out that long but it had been a very pleasant time, the dogs had enjoyed it and I’d got some good photos, so I considered it to be two hours well spent.
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13 thoughts on “An autumn afternoon dog walk

  1. We live very close to the Forth and Clyde Canal which was reopened as a Millennium Project, so I could walk from one side of the country to the other on it if I so wished! We were out yesterday and walked part of it – not as picturesque as this, as it’s passing through North Glasgow, but a pleasant walk all the same. It might make it on to the blog – if I ever get finished with Yellowstone.

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    1. I love canals, and many sections of this particular one are very picturesque. If I’d carried on walking from the point where I turned round I could have gone south right into Manchester, or up to Bury the other way, as even though huge sections of the canal have been buried for many years there’s still a passable footpath in both directions.

      Incidentally, I did see your original brief comment but I’d only briefly published the post to see what it looked like when finished, as what I get in ‘preview’ isn’t what I get in reality so the post, and unfortunately your comment, was deleted within minutes. To be honest, in some ways I’m finding WordPress very difficult to work with – this should have been such a simple post but everything kept going wrong and it took me until 3 o’ clock this morning to finally get it right! 😦

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      1. Yes, I definitely had a sense of deja vu! My very first blog was in Blogger but I much prefer WordPress so I think it’s worth persevering. I find it much more versatile. My preview-function is exactly like the post so maybe it’s something to do with the theme you’re using?

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  2. What a lovey walk and your photos are stunning. I love to see all the colours of the leaves on the trees in autumn and we have been spoiled this year with mild weather. The leaves have gently fallen and not torn off the branches with strong winds. It’s lovely to feel the leaves crunch underfoot too.

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  3. It took a long while for the trees round here to start shedding their leaves as it’s been so mild – even when I went to Ireland three weeks ago it was still warm enough to wear a t-shirt without any sort of jacket – though once the leaves did start falling they came down fairly quickly. I love the autumn colours so I wanted to get them on camera before the trees became completely bare.

    To be honest I don’t think the small size of the photos does them justice but the next size up is just too big – the last four upright ones look enormous and ridiculous, and a mixture of large and small just looks stupid so unfortunately I’ll have to keep them all small. 😦

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  4. Stunning photos and colours! πŸ˜€ By the way, you should be able to set a custom size for your photos by clicking on the little pencil symbol – I’ve set mine to 720 x 720 (my photos aren’t always square, but this setting still works well).

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  5. Thanks for the comment and the tip re photo sizes. I’ve just tried your suggestion and unless I’m missing something all that does is give me the current size of the photo with no option to input a different size, and clicking on the minus sign which appears above the photo just gives me the small size I’ve already gone down to 😦

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  6. I’m so glad I’m not the only one to struggle sometimes with techy stuff (WordPress etc). I’ve no ‘younger generation’ here to put me right, so I must just use trial-and-error.

    I love canals too. I have the Calder & Hebble, Huddersfield and the Rochdale locally which make up a South Pennine Ring which I’ve walked the whole of, in sections, over 2 years.

    Terrific photos, Eunice.

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  7. The Leeds/Liverpool canal is only a fifteen minute drive from me and I’ve walked or cycled along various parts of it many times. One of my favourite parts is the section which takes me from near here to Blackburn, there are some very picturesque parts along there.

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  8. I certainly do, in fact I live only a few minutes walk from open countryside and moorland to the north of the town. I like walking along the canal though, it’s always lovely and peaceful πŸ™‚

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  9. This is quite a large town but whichever area of it you live in you don’t have to go far to be in the countryside. And I never take it for granted either, no matter how many times I walk round a particular part of it I always appreciate what’s there even if it’s just up the road from home.

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