|Another journey to Cheetham Close. This time we decided to make it into a real pilgrimage. Our last trip here had been in early January, in the snow, and it was then that we decided the next time we came here would be when Spring was first starting to really show, and we'd do it from our doorstep and make the entire pilgrimage on foot.
So today we set off on this 18 mile round trip. The walk takes in very few ancient monuments, in fact Cheetham Close is the only definite monument, but this kind of thing never stops me from proclaiming wild conjecture about the land around me.
The first landmark we reached was one I see every day, Darwen Tower. The tower is a monument erected to celebrate Victoria's jubilee. This makes it totally unsound, but I can't help but have some feeling for the place as my families history is tied up with it. My great-great grandfather owned a quarry from which stones where taken to build the monument. It's been a constant feature in my life, and I can't remember a time when I haven't lived somewhere with a view of it. Prior to the tower, the hill was used for beacon fires. Darwen is home to it's own barrow at Ashleigh, and I often wonder what was up here, on the site of the tower, before it's erection.
We carried on across the moors, next stop Green Lowe. I had read in an old historic walking guide book, that this was the site of a burial mound but we could see nothing here, so we just carried on. The track led us down to a stretch where it was necessary to walk on the A666 roadside for 15 minutes. The road is an accident hotspot, and it was interesting to see at close hand a few little roadside memorials, tiny shrines to road culture. We left the road near Charters Moss, itself the site of a bronze age settlement. There is little to see here as this is a modern plantation, and doubles up as a lay-by for HGV drivers complete with greasy caff. Trivia fans may be interested to know that this stretch featured in Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights (first series), doubling up as Stranraar.
The walk from Charters Moss to Cheetham Close was pretty straight forward, taking in a path under a series of electricity pylons. Arriving at Cheetham Close was fantastic. There's nothing here to see, in terms of ancient monument, as anyone who's been or seen the photographs will already know, but that's not the point. This is a very special place. Looking at the surrounding hills, my gaze constantly drawn to Winter Hill, it's not difficult to imagine why the circle was built here. Burl's comments on this place are now an irritation to me, as they miss so much of the point. I've been here in awful weather conditions, in very poor visibility, and admittedly at times like that I can think of places I'd rather be, but on a day like today this place is magnificent. There is an air of sadness about the place however - the circle is all but gone, and the fact that the damage was done so recently (19th century) makes it all the worse.
We rested out here for an hour then decided to walk to Entwistle (another important place in my family history) and The Strawbury (sic) Duck, for a few drinks and some food, before making the long trip back. Well worth the effort, and I'll no doubt be doing it again before the year is finished.
Posted by IronMan
16th March 2003ce
Edited 13th May 2003ce