Lake District


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About Summiteer

~Bacup in Rossendale~

17th March 2012

Today's walk is essentially an urban one, a look at Bacup and the route along the Irwell to Rawtenstall. With fuel prices at such high values, I thought I'd take a look at Lancashire and a place very much on the doorstep.

Railway Tunnel

Newchurch No.2 Tunnel

Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....

Weir Playing Field

Weir Playing Field

Weir is the first place you come to on the road from Burnley to Bacup and I parked on the roadside. I took the footpath through the playing field and down to the infant River Irwell.

Irwell Springs

Irwell Springs?

Research has led me to believe that there were once dye-houses down by the river, close to Weir.

River Irwell at Weir

River Irwell

Looking upstream, you can see the remains of industry on the left bank. The Irwell keeps its name all the way through Manchester until it becomes part of the Mersey.



Weir School

Northern School, Weir

The main road goes past the school on the way down to Bacup.

Bacup Old Road

Step Row on Bacup Old Road

Six cottages at the foot of the old road between Burnley and Bacup. It is no longer possible to take photos of houses without the inclusion of such modern accoutrements as wheelie bins and satellite dishes, not to mention motor cars.

Meadows Mill

Meadows Mill, Broad Clough

or possibly not! nowtelse2do (below) tells me that Meadows Mill is further down the road, I'll have to take another look...corrections and comments always welcome.

Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge


Sentinel by Jane Dunn (1998)

Modern art on the hillside, part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail.

Christ Church, Bacup

Christ Church, Bacup

The sign at the top of the field was damaged and had no message. I followed a path to the foot of the field, where the sign pointing the other way said "...trespassers will be prosecuted". Well, I wasn't going back up the hill so I jumped over the wall into the church grounds. The church is now closed, the congregation moving to one of the other churches in Bacup.



Southerners! It's pronounced bay-cup, not back-up! The sign is attached to a flagstone. Stone was an important industry in Rossendale, particularly after the arrival of the railway in the late 1840's. My father's side of the family are from Rossendale and one ancestor, Henry Heys (1815-1889) was a "Quarry Master". G.Ratcliffe & Sons (Felts) Ltd. were first based in Tong Mill, Bacup before moving to Stanley Mill, Burnley. Geoffrey Ratcliffe previously worked for Mitchell, Ashworth, Stansfield aka MASCO.

Bacup Wall of History

Bacup Wall of History

The Bacup Natural History Society has collecetd artifacts from the area and constructed this "Wall of History".

Pioneer Buliding Bacup

Pioneer Buildings, Bacup

The Co-op would have been in the Pioneer Buildings. Or maybe not, as per the kind comment of "retard" below. I'll not remove comments offered by website visitors unless they are offensive or vulgar, sexist, racist etc.

Bacup Public Baths

The Public Baths, Bacup

No longer a bathing facility. Donated by Sir John Henry Maden in 1893.

George V Bacup

George V Hotel, Bacup

Now private flats, no longer a pub or hotel - there is a recurring theme here.

Bacup War Memorial Central Methodist Bacup
The War Memorial
Central Methodist

Bacup Views

Bacup Police Station Bacup Markeet
Bacup Police Station ~ Closed
Bacup Market - Closed

Redundant Buildings

The market has moved and so have the police, both still exist locally. The police station was the one used in "Juliet Bravo" a 1980's BBC police drama.

Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank

Lancashire & Yorkshire Bank

Certainly not a bank anymore, does anyone remember that particular bank? Did they have call centres in far off places?

Bacup Railway Station

The Site of Bacup Railway Station

Beeching dictated that Bacup should lose their railway services and the last train left the station in December 1966. There is very little left to see, but I'm going to look for it. Further down the Rossendale Valley I come to Stacksteads.

Farholme Mills Stacksteads

Farholme Mill, Stacksteads

Acre Mill Stacksteads Railway Bridge Stacksteads
Acre Mill, Stacksteads
Railway Bridge, Waterbarn

Acre Mill was a listed building, but has been delisted. James Ashworth was said to have started the mill construction in 1839 and his initials can be found carved into a stone on the far side. Our family history also includes "Ashworth's", but it's a very popular name in these parts, so I cannot say if JA, in this case, is a distant relative.

River Irwell Railway Walk
River Irwell, Waterbarn
Railway Walk

Railway Tunnels

Newchurch Tunnels

No.2 tunnel is open to walkers. The history of the two tunnels is not straightforward, I think that due to the line being "doubled", a second tunnel was excavated, I need to find out which was the original and which came later.


To Waterfoot

The next little township on the road is Waterfoot, the wall on the right is obviously of railway times and there remains a coal merchant in the old marshalling yard.

Waterfoot Houses

Terraced Houses in Waterfoot

Railway Walk

Railway Walk over River Irwell at Hareholme

The parapet on the left looks older than the one on the right, however it's possible that the stonework was renewed when the route was upgraded to a walkers' right of way. I should have gone underneath to see if the bridge had been widened.

Longholme Methodist Church

Longholme Methodist Church, Rawtenstall

My parents were married here, in April 1957. I had previously determined that I would take a ride on the East Lancashire Railway, but when I got there, my plans changed. The advertised "Steam" train for the 14:25 departure, looked un-steam, in my opinion.


Diesel Multiple Unit at Rawtenstall Railway Station

I was not paying £10+ for a ride on this to Bury and back. The East Lancashire Railway is a great "preserved" railway, generally offering steam trains as well as diesels (on Saturdays) and more usually steam on Sundays. I just wasn't in "diesel" mood.

Ratcliffe & Sherriff

Dad shakes the hand of Mum's dad (Grandpa Sherriff) after the wedding. Grandpa was the Superintendent Minister of the Rawtenstall Methodist Circuit, but allowed one of his underlings to take the wedding as it didn't seem right (and Mum said she would have got the giggles - so she told us). Mum is in the centre of the photo with Grannie Sherriff further away.

I walked to the bus station and got the No.8 bus back to Weir. Bacup deserves another look on a brighter day and so does Rawtenstall. I have an original of Thomas Newbigging's "History of the Forest of Rossendale", dated 1868 and it makes interesting reading, more so after a walk in the valley.

3hrs 40mins over a distance of about 8.5 miles, under grey skies with one shower. Lunch at Tesco and greeting count suspended as urban behaviour is quite unlike rural, where welcomes come easy.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2012 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....