New Year’s Day walk 2019

After more than two weeks of almost constant gloomy and wet weather New Year’s Day was dry, bright and sunny so I took the opportunity to go for an afternoon walk round part of Leverhulme Park, a local place I hadn’t been to for about twenty years. Unfortunately though, I couldn’t take the dogs this time – with Sophie having recently had a major operation she wasn’t allowed out and it wouldn’t have been fair to take Poppie and leave Sophie behind so for once I was on my own.
Leverhulme Park is the largest of all the local parks and was gifted to the town by well-known local soap magnate and generous benefactor William Hesketh Lever (Lord Leverhulme). Back in 1914 Bolton Corporation was negotiating to buy 67 acres of land on the outskirts of town to turn into a park but when WW1 broke out government restrictions made it impossible to raise all the money necessary for the purchase. When William Lever heard about this he bought the land himself and presented it to the town, then went on to buy further pieces of land to extend the park to 98 acres – a total of 88 of these acres were donated by him and the park was eventually named Leverhulme Park in his honour.
Although the top end of the park provides the usual park facilities – well mown grass, bowling greens, cricket pitches, football pitch, playground, dog walking areas and more recently an up-to-date leisure centre and running track – the bottom end has more of a countryside look with wild meadows, woodland, two rivers and several unmade tracks and paths, and it was this part I was going to explore.
My walk started at the main car park close to the playground and followed a wide tree-lined tarmac path with the cricket pitches and a bowling green up a bank on my left. After a while the tarmac changed to cobbles and the path went downhill through a small wooded area, ending up close to a road where a row of cottages nestled in the shadow of the 86ft high Darcy Lever viaduct. This was once part of the railway line connecting Bolton to Bury but the line was closed in 1970 and the track was left derelict for many years, though more recently the viaduct has become part of a shared footpath/cycleway running from Bolton to Radcliffe.
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A few yards along from the cottages the River Tonge flowed down wide shallow steps and under the road ; footpaths ran both right and left of the river and I took the right hand one as I knew that would take me back into the park. I hadn’t gone far when the path split at the beginning of a wild meadow ; going straight on would take me directly across the meadow so I went left through a small coppice and followed the river round the meadow’s edge. At the point where Bradshaw Brook joined the river itself a man was throwing sticks into the water for his dog although it looked rather gloomy just there as the tall trees were keeping the sunlight at bay.
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The River Tonge
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Bradshaw Brook
At the far side of the meadow the path took me through a thicket of trees to a second meadow ; the man and his dog had given up playing in the river and were walking ahead of me. On the left was a bridge with stone parapets and railings, a bridge which I knew would lead to another more cultivated part of the park although I would save that one for another time. Continuing straight on the path led through more woodland but not sure of where I would end up I turned right and followed a nearby dirt track uphill.
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Bradshaw Brook near the bridge – a great spot for picnics and paddling in summer
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Looking towards the meadow from the bridge
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The top of the dirt track brought me out onto the main path through the top end of the park close to the running track ; although it was only just after 3 o’clock I was already losing the best of the sunlight so deciding that it was time to go home I followed the path past one of the more modern slide constructions and back to the car park.
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It had seemed strange walking without the dogs but although it hadn’t been a long walk – time-wise it had only taken 45 minutes – it had been a good one and it was nice to see that the bottom end of the park hadn’t really changed in the years since I was last there. I’d got some good photos too so I must remember to go back in the spring/early summer to see the differences a change of season will make.
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My walk, clockwise from yellow dot
It’s good to see that my blogging friend Jo is resuming her Monday walksΒ when she can so I’m linking this with her latest, a walk round a nature reserve and salt marshes in Southern Spain, ending with some delicious-looking cake and cream.

17 thoughts on “New Year’s Day walk 2019

  1. It was a lovely day for a walk although it must have felt strange leaving Sophie and Poppie at home. Never mind it won’t be long until it’s Spring and they can accompany you next time.


  2. I’m so used to having them with me on walks that it felt weird without them 😦 It will probably be spring when I do that walk again and by then Sophie will be able to run through the meadows and paddle in the brook. Neither of the dogs have been there before so it will all be new to them πŸ™‚

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  3. A beautiful day for such a lovely walk. When I lost my dog, it took me a long time to get used to walking without one, so I can understand how strange it must have felt for you. I hope Sophie is now feeling stronger by the day. X


    1. She’s raring to go Jules but she has to take things slowly for a while yet so no long walks and no off-lead. No doubt when she finally gets her freedom she’ll run round like a thing possessed! πŸ™‚


  4. A bright sunny day for a walk. Perfect! I always feel strange if I’m not with Hugo too. Though it can be more relaxing sometimes. Hope Sophie will be out and about soon. X


  5. It’s always nice to be out when the sky is bright like that, isn’t it? We were walking in the hills here this morning and it was glorious. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to you!


  6. My two are fairly fast walkers Cathy so they don’t slow me down. My normal walking pace is brisk anyway although I do tend to walk a bit slower when I’m on the lookout for good photo opportunities. I think the dogs have got used to the fact that when I make a photo stop they can sniff while I’m taking it! πŸ™‚

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  7. Another lovely walk, you do have some super places nearby πŸ™‚

    It is strange walking without our four-paws but I confess I like it. Daisy is a great “stop and sniffer” and these days she’s very slow too.


  8. There are some lovely places round here Jayne, most only a short walk or a few minutes drive away from home – walking round this park, especially the more ‘countryfied’ part, it’s hard to believe that it’s in the middle of a huge and ever-increasing suburban sprawl. I noticed that Daisy hasn’t been in your last few posts, I hope she’s okay?


    1. Thanks Eunice, so thoughtful of you to ask about Daisy.

      She is absolutely fine, just doing very little at present! Like us she is hunkered down in mid-winter semi-hibernation!


  9. It was really nice Becky, and it was good to see that the ‘country’ bit of the park hasn’t changed at all in the years since I was last there πŸ™‚


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