Blackrod Community Walking Group – Brinscall and Withnell


The first walk of 2018 started in cloudy conditions but not cold. There were 20 of us with one dog as we set off from the Hare and Hounds at Abbey Village. Walking up the footpath parallel with Dole Lane we passed through a small copse of trees before arriving at the Fox Timber wood yard.

Turning onto Twist Moor Lane we walked along onto Butterworth Brow and past Armstrongs quarry before turning left up the footpath. This leads to the first of the Brinscall Lost Farms. In 1900 there were 12 farms. Their fields and stone walls occupied the steep slopes behind Brinscall where we were now walking. Recent cold weather made this a bit like the Brinscall glacier with a thick flow of ice down the slope to the road.

Crossing over Edge Gate Lane we entered what is called today “The Pine Woods” or “Heather Lea woods”. Here there were also two mansions, Blackhurst and Heather Lea, the latter giving the woods one of its names. Today it seems a dark and dank place, however, in the 1890s it was pretty much treeless in the area and the farms would have had sunlight for most of the day with its south west facing frontage. Hundreds of residents left more than 40 farms on Brinscall Moors around 80 years ago after a decision by landowner Liverpool Corporation to protect their water supply. We stopped at these farm ruins for a coffee break.

Continuing on down we crossed over and headed back along The Goit towards Brinscall again. At Brinscall we crossed School Lane to enter the Withnell Local Nature Reserve. This is a disused railway line that has been made into a haven of peace and quiet with bird feeders, ponds and wild grass verges to encourage wildlife.

Arriving back at Abbey Village we returned to the Hare and Hounds for lunch where we enjoyed some classic German style food such as Schnitzel, Currywurst and Hawaiian Toast!  Vic

Link to images of the ruined farms //

Next walk: Tuesday 13th February. A walk to Rivington gardens and Pike. Meet at 9:45 to start walking at 10 at the Crown pub, 1 Chorley New Rd, Horwich, Bolton BL6 7QJ. Contact Vic 07775922433 if you need a pick up at St Katharine’s in Blackrod.