A circular walk from Barrow Bridge

The first part of this walk done just yesterday has already been, or will be, covered in other posts, so I’m starting and ending in Barrow Bridge village which is still within walking distance of home. The village was originally created during the Industrial Revolution for the workers of the mills which were there at the time but with the closure and eventual demolition of the last mill in 1913 the workforce was dispersed and Barrow Bridge became known for a while as Lancashire’s ‘deserted village’, though gradually the houses and cottages were bought to be private residences. The village became a well known local beauty spot and has been so ever since; it was designated as a conservation area in 1970 and has won several awards in Best Kept Village/Most Beautiful village competitions, and though it looks very pretty in summer when everything is in full bloom it still looks nice enough now for a few photos.
Dean Brook rises on the slopes of Smithills Moors and runs through the village on one side of the narrow road, with each house on the far side of the brook being accessed by its own bridge. Beyond the cottages the road takes a sharp right turn across the brook and heads up towards the moors but on the corner a gate leads to a footpath running alongside the brook. Not far from the gate the path splits into two with the right hand side leading to the locally well know ’63 steps’; having been up the steps the last time I went that way I took the left side which took me up a long steep track through a wooded area.
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Eventually I left the trees behind and the path opened out to views across fields and farmland to Winter Hill on one side and a local golf course on the other side. The path ran through the golf course for quite a distance, at one point turning into a short cobbled lane before reverting to a rough path and eventually coming out on the road leading across the lower stretches of Smithills moors. Not far away, at the end of the road, was Bob’s Smithy Inn; originally built in the early 17th century it’s said to get it’s name from one of its regular customers at the time, a blacksmith who lived across the road, though I decided against walking down just to get a photo of it.
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Apart from being passed by an occasional car and a couple of cyclists the road was deserted so rather than walk on the rough ground which passed as a pavement I was able to walk on the tarmac for most of the way. Eventually I came to a piece of ‘roadside art’ set in the angle of two stone walls close to a farm; I featured it in a post a couple of years ago though I’ve never been able to find out what it is or what it’s supposed to signify, but the central design is the same shape as those featured on various outer walls of Smithills Hall so as the land is part of Smithills Estate I assume it has a connection to that.
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A distance along the road was a barn which had been converted into a house back in the 1960s and behind it was a hamlet of half a dozen modern cottages in a quiet little cul-de-sac at the end of a gravel track. Set back off the track and alongside one of the stone walls was a border with several brightly coloured tulips and other flowers so I couldn’t resist stopping for a few photos before continuing along the road.
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Beyond the hamlet the road bent sharply left and then right, also going down and uphill, and in the dip the upper reaches of Dean Brook ran through a tunnel under the road. The tunnel is known as the Cigarette Tunnel and at one time the only way to get to it was by a rather dangerous scramble down the very steep bank from the road or by a rough walk upstream from Barrow Bridge, however after the bank was recently shored up at each end of the tunnel there’s now a rough gravel path leading down to it.
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At the top of the incline were the cottages of Old Colliers Row, built up off the road and separated from it by a high stone wall. Further along several horses grazed peacefully in a field and beyond the field gate were the cottages of New Colliers Row and some more colourful tulips set alongside the corner wall of one of the cottage gardens.
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Continuing straight along the road would eventually take me back close to home but I wanted to make the walk a circular one so I turned down the lane opposite the Colliers Row cottages. This took me back to Barrow Bridge village and after taking a couple of shots of yet more flowers and some of the cottages across the brook my walk ended where it began at the beginning of the village.
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Of course that wasn’t really the end of the walk, I still had to get back home from Barrow Bridge, but for the purposes of this post I’m not counting that bit. With yet another day of lovely sunshine the circular walk had been very enjoyable and will no doubt be one which I’ll repeat in future months and years – and it’s also given me an idea for a future post on here.

20 thoughts on “A circular walk from Barrow Bridge

  1. What a lovely day. I walked this morning and took a lot of pictures of the blue sky but when I got home realised I had no memory card in the camera! Maybe it will be the same weather tomorrow and I can do it again!

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  2. I’m surprised your camera would work with no memory card in it, mine won’t. Hopefully the weather will be just as good tomorrow and you can repeat the walk πŸ™‚

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  3. Well thank you for sharing Barrow Bridge. I never knew about it’s existence and it looks charming.
    I know the road up by the cottages as we climb in Brownstones Quarry and head to Bob Smithies afterwards.
    Next time [?] I’m up that way I will explore those little lanes down to Barrow Bridge.

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  4. Yes I’d aleady looked at your other post, it looks a great place to explore in the future.
    Yes we used to climb in the Wilton quarries every week at one time. Fashions change and people move to other places for something new.
    The Wilton Quarries 2,3,and 4 also extend up the Scout Road.
    Wilton 1 has the most and arguabley the best climbing, I last did a route there a couple of years ago before the heavens opened and we had to make a hasty retreat to the Wilton Arms.
    Brownstones Quarry, the one with the pond further up the road near the cottages, being shorter is for bouldering without ropes.
    You probably know all this so I’ll stop wittering on.

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  5. I do enjoy walking with you, Eunice, and I’m sure I could quite happily live in one of those little cottages. I’m so thankful the recent weather has made getting our daily exercise much more enjoyable. X

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    1. If your weather is anything like it is here just now you’ll be getting out as much as you can πŸ™‚ Is Lily enjoying it or is she fed up with not being able to go too far afield?

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  6. A lovely walk Eunice. I was intrigued by the name Cigarette Tunnel until I scrolled down and saw it πŸ™‚
    Nice to see the flowers in bloom, I have to keep reminding myself it’s still only mid-April with this gorgeous weather. I may actually leave the house today for a short walk but sadly it won’t be nearly as nice as yours.

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  7. I don’t know who gave the Cigarette Tunnel its name but it’s been known as that for many years and it’s certainly appropriate. The flowers I saw were lovely, especially the first lot of tulips πŸ™‚ I hope you do manage to get out for a walk even if it’s only a very short one – this weather is just far too good to miss. I just hope it doesn’t all go pear shaped though once we are allowed to travel a bit 😦

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  8. It’s a lovely walk and will look even better with more leaves on the trees. I can’t get enough of this lovely sunny weather, I’m making the most of it while I can πŸ™‚

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    1. I would have expected things to be much greener by now Jo, we’re not far off May after all. Smaller trees and bushes are now quite green but taller trees have a way to go yet – I’m wondering if the interminably grey wet winter weather and lack of sunshine have anything to do with it 😦 I much prefer doing a walk like this when everywhere is really green but the weather is so good just now I don’t want to waste a minute of it πŸ™‚

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  9. I hope everything is okay with you Susan, I’m glad you liked my walk. The current warm sunny weather is too nice not to take advantage of it even if I do have to stay fairly local.

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  10. Well that’s a coincidence πŸ™‚ Apart from the fact that it’s a long way to a shop I’m surprised anyone ever moves from there as it’s such a pretty little place, especially during summer when the gardens are full of flowers. I’m glad it’s a conservation area, at least it can never be over-developed so it should retain its beauty πŸ™‚

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