Haigh Hall and Lady Mabel’s Wood
On a bright and sunny morning, ten of us gathered at the Balcarres Arms for a walk round the Haigh estate. Haigh was part of the Hundred of West Derby Township. This is said to be an area that could support a hundred men at arms. Hopefully we won’t need them today.
Walking down the lane past St David’s Church we eventually came to the turn into Crawford’s Wood. This is a Woodland Trust area planted in 1996 but harking back to a UMIST gardening club of the 70’s.
Onward and across the Leeds & Liverpool Canal we eventually came to the track by the Haigh Sough settling ponds where mine water is treated before it enters the River Douglas. Down some steps we saw the cleaned water enter the Yellow Brook which then feeds into the Douglas. Walking by the River Douglas we came across the now obligatory patch of mud which was navigated without incident before we turned up to climb towards Haigh Hall.
At the Hall Lane gate we turned into Lady Mabel’s Wood. Managed by the Woodland Trust this wood area was created in 1995 as part of Greater Manchester’s Red Rose Community Forest. The site was originally bare land used for open cast mining but was re-named Lady Mabel’s Wood in 1998 after consultation with local people to mark the area’s history. Lady Mabel was a 14th century noblewoman who walked barefoot from Haigh Hall to a cross in Wigan as penance for taking a second husband after mistakenly believing her first had died in the Crusades. The truth is less dramatic. Her husband Sir William Bradshaw was outlawed for 7 years as a royalist rebel by the Earl of Lancaster until the Earl died. Sir William was murdered in 1333 and Mabel never re-married.
Passing through the wood we emerged at the Leeds & Liverpool Canal before walking up through the Haigh estate and on a path alongside the hall. The hall is now a luxury hotel and wedding venue but was built between 1827 and 1840 for James Lindsay, 7th Earl of Balcarres.
Our final walking section was along Copperas Lane and back to the Balcarres Arms. We intended to eat lunch here and did, after a fashion. The cooker had blown up the day before so we were restricted to grilled sandwiches and chips! All very good though and helped by some good real ales.
A grand day out in the sunshine of Autumn. Vic
Next walk: Tuesday 13th November – Holcombe Brook circular walk.
Meet at The Pack Horse, 52 Watling St, Tottington, Bury, BL8 3QW at 9:45 for 10 start. Lunch at the pub afterwards (pre-order needed).
Leader: Ken 07743576377
PS: See more pictures on the website https://stkatharine.net/gallery/