Distance 5.87 miles (9.45 km) Duration 2:30 hrs Calories 950 (est.)
With dramatic landscapes, a fascinating industrial past, modern art, a heritage railway service, independent shops and tearooms, cosy pubs and link to 19th-century statesman Sir Robert Peel, the Ramsbottom and Peel Tower walk gives you a great introduction to the West Pennines and the area’s Victorian legacy.
The walk starts and ends in the Victorian mill town of Ramsbottom in Lancashire. The town was awarded joint runner-up in the Daily Telegraph’s 2013 High Street of the Year contest, a testament to its old-fashioned charm. As you wander it’s streets, you will come across a traditional sweet shop, a butcher that makes exceptional pork pies, the Chocolate Café, art galleries and a great choice of tearooms and cafés, There are lots of annual events that draw large crowds, including the Easter egg rolling or ‘Pace Egging’ on Holcombe Hill, the Chocolate festival, and the International Black-pudding throwing competition.
Starting at the free car park at the train station, this 5.87 mile walk takes you through Ramsbottom and then up onto Holcombe Moor, visiting Harcles Hill and the Peel Tower. Coming back down via an ancient roadway you will come through Summerseat and return to Ramsbottom, roughly following the routes of the East Lancashire Railway and the River Irwell. On a clear day, the views from Harcles Hill can be spectacular, taking in Manchester, the mountains of North Wales, and the Yorkshire and Derbyshire Dales.
The walk uses pavements/roads and well-marked pathways. There are a few steep ascents and descents and in some cases these use wooden steps that can be slippery. There are some stretches that may be wet/boggy, so be prepared.
As mentioned above, there are a few annual town events, as well as the regular Sunday and Bank Holiday markets that may mean access to the train station car park is limited. Check out the Ramsbottom.net website (http://www.ramsbottom.net/) for information on upcoming events.
If you want to get access to/climb the Peel Tower, it is open most Sundays as well as holidays such as Good Friday and Easter Monday. Look out for the flag flying from the top of the tower indicating that it is open to the public. See the Visit Bury website (http://www.visitbury.com/) for opening days as well as information on other things to do in the area.
Not sure you’re ready to go paper-free? Here’s the OS map covering the tour area:
West Pennines Moors (OS Explorer Map – 287) – Buy Now at Amazon
Images from the tour