My Monday walk this week is a very pleasant local one not far from home, a walk which I’ve done many times before over the years and will probably do many more times in the future. Starting from the rear car park of the Last Drop Village a grassy path led across a couple of fields to a gravel path running through a partially wooded area still looking very bare with its leafless trees, then a gap in a stone wall took me through to the quiet traffic-free tarmac lane passing the boundary of the old Cox Green quarry.
Although officially ‘out of bounds’ to the public for several years the place is used by rock climbers so a gate and a path lead from the lane into the heart of the quarry itself, with another path taking a short circular route round a small pond on the upper level. At one time the pond looked quite attractive and in summer would be a nice place to chill out for a while but now it seems to be drying up and looks nowhere near as pretty as it once did.
Back on the lane I eventually reached the road past a long row of modern houses and bungalows but another path took me away from there and past a field of grazing sheep to the boundary of the nearby golf course. As I walked towards the golf course gate a peacock butterfly flitted past me and landed on the path just a few yards away but before I had chance to focus the camera it flew off again so I kept walking. This happened several times but eventually it landed and stayed just long enough for me to snatch a reasonable photo of it.
Through the gate onto the golf course and along the path I came to my most favourite part of the course. Set back from the path it may not look much from the photos but it’s so nice that I’ve often thought that if I could ever choose a place to build my own house that would be it, though I don’t suppose the golfers would be happy about losing one of their greens.
Further along the path I came to the golf course pond, currently looking rather overgrown with reeds. The path split into two there, going right would eventually take me round to the club house so to extend my walk I went left and skirted the gated gardens of Torra Manor, a period detached house sitting in an elevated position overlooking the golf course and countryside. Very little is known about the property but it’s thought to originally date from the 17th century, and though it’s undergone more than one refurbishment over the years it still retains many original interior features including a stone staircase, exposed beams and stone and slate floors.
Past the house and down the hill I left the golf course behind and the path took me across open grazing land to the lane leading down to Turton Tower’s castellated railway bridge, built in 1847 and commissioned by James Kay, the then owner of Turton Tower. With the advantage of very few bushes currently obstructing the view of the bridge from the railway embankment I was able to get a decent shot of the side of it and I was just about to walk away when I heard a train approaching. Unfortunately I hadn’t time to change the camera setting but I still got a reasonable shot as the train whizzed under the bridge.
For obvious reasons Turton Tower itself wasn’t open but the grounds were so I had a pleasant wander round the woodlands and the gardens, getting a handful of shots before following the lane down onto the nearby main road. About half a mile of road walking from there took me to a side lane close to a farm and a small enclave of cottages and from there I headed back towards the Last Drop Village.
The Last Drop Village, with its hotel, pub/restaurant, shops and function rooms is always a popular place and I can never usually take any photos without other people getting in my line of vision and spoiling the shot but this time it was different – the place was completely deserted and actually felt quite strange with no-one around.
Had I been able to I would have had coffee and cake at the Last Drop but of course I couldn’t, so with the final shot of the flower bed I headed for home to chill out and have my own coffee and cake there instead.
**Just to make it clear to anyone who may think I’m being completely irresponsible (you know who you are!) this walk was done before the current lock down and I did not drive to get to the Last Drop Village. As it’s within walking distance of home I walked, but the route from home to there is just boring road walking and not worth mentioning, so for this post I classed my ‘official’ walk as starting and ending where it would have done if I had driven there. Maybe some people shouldn’t be so quick to criticise without knowing all the facts!