A local walk round Belmont village

With lots to do ahead of the coming Easter break I didn’t really have time to go too far on my dog walks over the weekend so my Monday walk this week is just a local one round Belmont village, only three miles up the road from home. Leaving the van outside my friend’s house in a quiet square at the bottom end of the village I first headed off across the main road and up the hill past the Black Dog pub. The pub has two signs outside, one at the car park entrance and the other on the side wall of the pub itself and strangely they are both very different ; the one on the wall is a mosaic picture and reminds me very much of a dog my friend once had.
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The sign in the car park
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Mosaic picture on the wall
Past the church I came to Ward’s Reservoir, though it’s always been known locally as the Blue Lagoon. The reservoir was built in the 19th century to supply water to the bleach and dye works down the hill, though over the years it’s become a well known local beauty spot. The Belmont Bleaching and Dyeing Company opened in 1878 and for many years was one of the country’s major dyers and cotton bleaching specialists, then in much later years it became one of the few companies in the UK capable of manufacturing a range of flame-retardant textiles.
The company finally closed down in 2004 with the buildings eventually being split into individual industrial and commercial units, though the reservoir and land around it began falling into disrepair. An independent study and report concluded that it needed at least ยฃ40,000 spending on it to bring it up to the standard legally required by the Environment Agency but the owner, a local man, was unwilling to spend money on something which no longer had any commercial value, so in 2010 he ‘pulled the plug’ and the reservoir was drained. It was eventually sold to a local consortium based a few miles away, repairs were undertaken and it was allowed to fill up again although every so often, especially after periods of heavy rain, a certain amount of water is released to prevent it becoming too full.
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Gathering cloud over the Blue Lagoon
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The outflow channel and St. Peter’s Church
From the Blue Lagoon I headed across the nearby playing field and through a couple of pleasant residential streets to the top end of the village and the larger Belmont Reservoir. Built in 1826 by Bolton Waterworks to supply water to the rapidly expanding town it’s now owned by United Utilities, and not only is it home to Bolton Sailing Club it’s also an important base for wintering wildfowl. It’s not often that I see anyone sailing when I’m walking near there but this time the dinghies were out in force in spite of the very chilly wind which was blowing.
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Sailing on Belmont Reservoir
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Across the dam and along the traffic-free lane I decided that instead of walking all the way along to the top of the road which would take me back to the village I would make a short cut down a public footpath past a small farm, and I was glad I did as I was rewarded with seeing a field full of sheep with their young ones.
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And this is why I don’t eat lamb
The path eventually brought me out about halfway down the road back to the village ; it’s not an easy road to walk, especially with two dogs, as it’s narrow with no pavements and is a very popular short cut for traffic going to and from Belmont and another area of the town, but fortunately it wasn’t busy and I didn’t have to walk too far before it widened out by the former bleach works buildings. Ages ago I was told by someone – and I can’t remember who – that round the back of those buildings was a fishing place called Ornamental Lake ; it was one of those places that you wouldn’t know was there unless someone told you about it so I decided to check it out and was quite pleasantly surprised.
Eagley Brook, a combination of the outflow from Belmont Reservoir and the Blue Lagoon, flowed under the road and behind the buildings, emptying into the lake. Across a short bridge a path ran through the trees near the edge of the lake and in a clearing I came across a couple of small timber shacks, obviously for the use of anyone fishing there. Looking at the land it was obvious that I couldn’t walk all the way round the lake so I just snapped a few photos then made my way back to the road.
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Ornamental Lake
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A short traffic-free lane took me steeply uphill to where I’d left the van and my last photo was of the water monument at the corner of the square. Erected in 1907 by Edward Deakin, mill owner and patron of the local church, it was to commemorate a clause having been successfully fought for in the UK parliament and inserted into the Bolton Corporation Act of 1905 to protect the flow of water into Eagley Brook from Belmont Reservoir.
Eagley Brook, along with water from the Blue Lagoon, provided an essential water supply to the bleach and dye works and there was a danger that taking too much water from Belmont Reservoir to supply Bolton’s homes and businesses would have a detrimental affect on the business and employment at the bleach works. The clause on the monument states that as compensation for taking water for Bolton the Corporation had to ensure a continuous flow down Eagley Brook between 5am and 5pm every day except Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day.
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The water monument
With that final photo I returned to the van and headed for home for a much needed brew ; although the sun had been shining for most of the walk the wind definitely had the chill factor so a mug of hot coffee was most welcome. There’ll be no Monday walk next week as I won’t be here – I’m off exploring pastures new so fingers crossed that the weather will be good and I’ll come back with lots of different places to write about.
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16 thoughts on “A local walk round Belmont village

  1. I do like the pub signs and to see Spring lambs with their mothers and those sailing boats are very colourful.You had nicer weather than we had here this weekend, no blue skies for us just very chilly winds. The forecast looks much better for the week ahead so hopefully you will have a good Easter break away. Enjoy, I’ll look forward to reading about your adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. The little lambs were adorable – if only they would stay that size I’d have a couple in my back garden ๐Ÿ™‚ People with sailing dinghies must be a breed apart – a lovely warm summer’s day when you would expect the boats to be out there’s nothing, then a day like yesterday with a bitingly cold wind and they are all out. Very strange! The water monument is quite unusual, I thought it was a war memorial until I read the writing and researched it a while ago – an interesting bit of history though, and it’s lovely in summer when planted up with flowers round the base ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. An interesting walk with lots of watering holes, both manmade (pub & dams) & natural. Mum & lamb are so cute. Funnily enough I showed small sailing dinghies on my last post too, though mine were pulled up on the shoreline. Have a great week & take care.

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    1. It was a nice walk, and lovely seeing all the little lambs with their mothers. The Ornamental Lake was nice too, quite a hidden gem being out of the way behind the old bleach works buildings ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. It’s surprising how many everyday things you pass and take for granted until you bother to find out about them and realise they are more interesting than you thought. I’ve walked passed that water monument countless times, both with my own dogs and with my friend’s, and always thought it was a war memorial until I found out about it. I never liked history when I was at school but local history fascinates me ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. That mosaic is very โ€˜Old English Sheepdogโ€™ . . . And another lovely walk from you. The water looks so lovely now, when you think of how much pollution there must have been there as a result of the bleach works.

    Having done a little sailing, itโ€™s far more fun when thereโ€™s a good wind to get you whipping along than when it is warm and calm.

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  5. I can’t make my mind up whether the mosaic is Old English Sheepdog or very ungroomed Beardie – I like it though, whatever it is ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think I’ll leave the sailing to you, I get seasick in small boats! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Enjoyed that – fascinating – and I have never heard of any of those places! You had a good day for it, too. And lambs frisking about are just great, aren’t they; impossible not to smile watching them.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. It was a good day for a dog walk although somewhat chilly in the wind. Little lambs are so adorable and I love seeing them when I’m out somewhere ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. Just good to be outdoors, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry it’s taken me so long to get here! Downside of blogging but I do meet some lovely people. Happy Easter, Eunice! Weather looks set fair?

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  8. Happy Easter to you too Jo. It’s been glorious today and warming up nicely, according to the weather forecast Friday and Saturday are going to be the best days for sunshine. I’ll be away until Tuesday so I’ll be making the most of any good weather we get. How about you?

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