Nick Burton explores an area where beauty and history combine


START: Rivington Lower Barn car park. By the cafe, off Rivington Lane.

DISTANCE: 4½ miles (allow 2-3 hours)

MAP: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors

THE reservoir country north of Bolton is a great place for a springtime walk. This ramble visits the 1940s air crash memorial above the shores of Anglezarke, an area of picturesque waterfalls in a rocky gorge and the site of a mine that had its heyday in the 1780s.

There is plenty here to interest anyone with an interest in industrial archaeology. The mine not only produced lead but also the mineral of witherite, used in porcelain manufacture in the Staffordshire Potteries. Josiah Wedgwood’s supply of witherite came from Anglezarke.

1. Walk to the rear of the car park and turn right along the track with the woodland and reservoir down to the left. Walk straight ahead along this track for about a third of a mile and it meets Horrobin Lane near the village primary school. Turn left downhill along the lane for only about 100 metres before crossing the road and joining the track opposite that runs alongside the Upper Rivington Reservoir.

2. Keep to this track running straight ahead, it soon bends right by a woodland and then reaches a gate where the track forks into two. Do not fork right here but go through the gate straight ahead waymarked as a bridleway. The track soon runs below the embankment of Yarrow reservoir on the right. When it forks, keep right along the reservoir edge and follow it all the way to the top end where it meets a lane.

3. Turn right along the lane and when it bends sharp right over Alance Bridge leave it by going straight ahead along the track which runs alongside the stream inlet to Yarrow Reservoir. It soon crosses a bridge and then keeps the stream - Limestone Brook - down to the left. The stream here forms a narrow gorge, the Lead Mines Clough, and higher up re-cross the stream by an information board.

4. Do not follow the track zigzagging steeply uphill but turn right after the bridge to explore the old mine workings. A path up the steep slope either side of the lead mine workings leads to the 1943 air crash memorial where there is also a good view across the moors. Retrace your steps from here back down the clough the way you came in to rejoin the lane at Alance Bridge.

5. Turn left crossing the road bridge and following the lane in the direction of Rivington. The lane climbs steeply uphill and a signed path is soon reached on the right.

Join this path which runs straight ahead along the edge of a boggy area and heads for a gap in trees, crosses a stream and enters another large field overlooking Yarrow Reservoir. Cross this field aiming for trees at the opposite end. Follow the waymarked path straight ahead through the pastures overlooking the reservoir to reach cottages in Dean Wood.

6. Turn right and join the access track away from the cottages. The access crosses a stream and runs alongside it. When the access swings across the stream continue straight ahead along a waymarked footpath on the left.

This runs between a fence and the stream and climbs steps to follow a field edge that leads back to the lane in Rivington village. Take care crossing the lane here and walk past the village green and stocks.

The lane is now followed straight ahead back to Rivington Barn. Walking along the road can be avoided though by picking up the path on the right just beyond the houses that runs parallel to Rivington Lane.

Nick Burton’s Guide to Lancashire Pub Walks (Countryside Books, £5.95) is available now.