The newsletter editor is always pleased to receive contributions to be considered for inclusion.

Not all views expressed in the newsletter reflect official Littleborough Civic Trust policy or opinion.

It is expected that anyone who wishes to make use of any material from the newsletter will seek the approval of the editor.

The next issue of the newsletter will be distributed early in February. Normal issues come out quarterly and we hope that you receive your copy promptly and that you keep it for reference until you receive the next issue.

To help you to distinguish easily between the old and new newsletters, we are going to ring the changes with the colours of the covers as often as possible.

Editor - Roy Prince, 14 Milbury Drive, Littleborough. Telephone 78883.

 

FUTURE PROGRAMMES

All meetings are held at the Oddfellows, 66, Church Street unless otherwise stated. All meetings commence at 8.00pm

Thursday, 17th November - Rochdale Canal Restoration. Illustrated lecture by Keith Parry.

Thursday, 15th December - Church Bells. A talk by Mr. John P. Partington.

Christmas refreshments.

Friday, 23rd December - Grand Christmas Dance 8.00pm to 1.00pm At Littleborough Cricket Club,
Prizes for the best interpretation of the theme “Full of Eastern Promise", Also surprises. Fancy Dress strictly optional.
Watch for further details

Thursday, 19th January - Annual General Meeting.

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HOLLINGWORTH LAKE COUNTRY PARK

The Trust members are very pleased to see this now well established and has become a "going concern". It was particularly gratifying to see the Ealees tip literally blossom this summer. Now people are beginning to get to know about this latest offspring of the Countryside Commission it is becoming well used. The footpath group were surprised on one wet, cold October day to find that they were not the only ramblers in the area. There were no less than half-a-dozen different groups of wet walkers enjoying the services of the Ealees Centre.

We understand that some of the alterations - for example stones to prevent parking - are only temporary and that these will eventually be replaced by well-designed chain barriers.

We look forward to further extensions of traffic regulations so that the Park will truly provide "recreation" for people of all age-groups and interests. We have always been aware of the benefits of cars, particularly for the disabled within the Country Park. On the other hand, the disadvantages or cars being involved with those wishing to walk and enjoy a little freedom from noise and metal boxes makes it imperative that this problem be tackled speedily - as we are sure it will be.

RAE STREET

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PUBLIC OPEN SPACE

The protection of public open space against development by various agencies of Local Government is giving Civic Trust members and others cause for very great concern. The Rochdale Metropolitan Authority is no exception to the current national trend and is in fact notching up some notable successes in tries and goals scored.

So far it has built old people's houses on a children's play area at Hurstead, has given outline planning permission to build a private hospital on the public open area at Broad Lane, Balderstone, has tried for a sunken gardens development and an Esplanade scheme in Rochdale and is currently trying desperately to save £30,000 by avoiding using the derelict gas-works site in Harehill Road, Littleborough for a children’s day nursery. Instead, it plans to build it in Harehill Park on the tennis courts near the former council offices.

We need old people’s homes and we need nurseries, but we need public open space for all to enjoy and above all we need to employ resources of derelict land and disused buildings which can be adapted for new uses. The gas-works site should, we feel, be developed in such a way that public use could be made of the building or buildings. The idea of a multi-purpose Civic Hall or Centre increasingly makes sense.

DONALD PICKIS. May '77.

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Geoff Wilson Memorial Fund

The fund for the Goff Wilson memorial will be closed at the end of the year. The Trust intends to buy, and have suitably framed, an Ordnance Survey map of Littleborough. This will be hung in the Hollingworth Lake Information Centre at Ealees where we hope to have an unveiling ceremony in spring.

Rae Street

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The Rochdale Canal Society

"The Rochdale Rally Cruise 1971 and The Birmingham National Rally 1969" is the subject of a lecture by Mr. Eddie Brierley at the Summit Inn on Wednesday, 18th January 1978 at 8.00pm. The Rochdale Canal Society extends an invitation to anyone interested.

Rochdale Canal Society Open Lectures in November.

Wednesday, 16th November. 8.00pm at Hebden Bridge Information Office - "Places of interest to visit from the Rochdale Canal".

Wednesday, 23rd November. 7-45pm. at Oldham Community Centre - ”Canal Architecture in Britain".

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Plant a Tree

If you didn't “plant a tree in '73”, please remember the sixth of November.

Plant a tree week begins on 6th November. I hope that many people will be encouraged to take up their spades during the week.

Cartoon of a tree

We are told that the stock of trees in this country is not diminishing. Although the total number of trees is higher, it is the distribution of the trees and the mix that is suffering. We are losing elms - single specimens or well-placed groups mainly in the south east; birch, beech and sycamores - many of them mature and well-positioned - from all parts of the country; and we are gaining conifers such as sitka spruce in straight lines, shoulder to shoulder, in plantations owned by the Forestry Commission and commercial concerns - trees for a quick return.

It is unfortunate that most tree planting is done for profit and, for this reason, quick-maturing types of tree are planted. Often the more attractive trees are seen as obstacles to progress and farmers do not nowadays plant single specimens in their fields or hedgerows, nor do they follow the practice of the past where a farmer would invariably have a small copse (or coppice) to provide a variety of timber for his various needs.

During the summers of 1975 and 1976 the shallow-rooted, deciduous trees such as birch, beech and sycamore, felt the effects of the dry weather. Some of the fine beeches that have survived might have been weakened and, if attacked by the latest tree menace, beech bark disease (which is not in itself a tree killer), might yet be lost. Dutch elm disease has claimed untold numbers.

Let us hope that those who do plant trees this November choose the species and their locations with care.

ROY PRINCE

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FOOTPATH NEWS

I regret to announce the resignation of John Hindle from the position of Footpaths Secretary. On behalf of all the members of the Footpaths Group, I wish to thank John for his enthusiastic work which has helped to keep the Group in existence for the last three years or so. I hope to do as good a job in the future as John has done in the past.

The Footpaths Group exists primarily to try to ensure that our public footpaths are not deliberately or inadvertently blocked by landowners. The Sunday walks are varied so that as many of the local footpaths are surveyed as possible. The Local Authority employs a Footpath Inspector to take the necessary action to ensure that blockages on footpaths are removed. The individual has no right to remove blockages.

The most enthusiastic members of the Footpaths Group are fairly hardy ramblers therefore about half the summer walks are outside the Littleborough boundary. It is hoped that next spring and summer, when a long walk is organised, there will also be a short walk of about three miles in Littleborough for the not so energetic.

As many people know, Councillor Connell, the Mayor of Rochdale, completed a sponsored walk around the boundary of the Rochdale Metropolitan Area, The walk took place on the 8th, 9th and 10th of September. Members of the Footpaths Group, Richard Evans, Geoffrey Sutcliffe and I acted as guides on the sections between Newhey and Norden. It is believed that the Mayor raised about £1000 for the Jubilee fund.

The annual Littleborough boundary walk, which took place on 11th September, was supported by only seven walkers. The weather stayed fine all day, although the morning was far from promising. Eighteen miles sounds a long way, but two of the group, Michael Farrell end Michael Clarke, both only twelve, completed the course with no difficulty. Perhaps a few more people will be brave enough to try it next time.

BRIAN CLARKE

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Future Walks

November 6th. Leader - Roy Prince. Meet - The Square at 1.30pm

Cars to Ogden. Reservoirs circular. 3 miles

November 20th. Leader - Richard Evans. Meet - The Square at 3.00pm

Windy Bank - Gatehouse - New Barn - Sladen Fold - Timbercliffe Farm - Warland - Canal Towpath back to Littleborough. 5miles

December 4th. Leader - Brian Clarke. Meet - The Square at 2.00pm

Ealees - Brearley Farm - Higher Fold Farm - Higher Abbotts - Dickey Steps - Bib Knowl - Peanock Farm - Lake Bank – Lower Cleggswood Farm. 4¼miles.

December 18th. Leader - Roy Prince. Meet - The Square at 3.00pm

Canal Towpath - Lightowlers Farm - Longley Hey - Woodcock Inn - Lydgate Clough - Humber. 3 miles.

No walk on New Years Day.

January 8th. Leader - Lincoln Jackson. Meet - The Square at 3.00pm

Stubley Mill Road - New Street - Middle Starring - Shore -Heights Farm - Clough - Newgate - Higher Gale - Riverside. 3½ miles

January 22nd. Leader – Geoffrey Sutcliffe. Meet – The Square at 1.30pm.

Cars to Lawflat, Wardle - Lawflat – Rydings Dam – Fanny Brook – Top of the Meadows Farm

February 5th. Leader – Margaret Padmanabahn. Meet – The Square at 2.00pm.

Old Lodge Inn – Lower Booth Hollins Mill – Tunshill Hill – Carr Farm – Hewfield Head – Claylands Road –Higher Tunshill – Roadfield Road – Rakewood Road. 4½miles

February 19th. Leader - Geoffrey Sutcliffe. Meet – The Square at 1.30pm.

Cars to Hebden Bridge - Green Hirst - Limers Gate - Lumb Falls – Jack Bridge - Baby House Farm –
Haworth Old Road - Sneakin Road. 5 miles

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COLOURFUL LITTLEBOROUGH

I have for some considerable time been aware of the lack of colour in the Littleborough area, which wild flowers provide. One has only to go to the Dales in springtime to become conscious of the difference.

Sketch: Purple heather

Purple heather

It came as something of a shock, therefore, returning with a party of Civic Trust walkers along the towpath from Warland to Littleborough on a glorious summer afternoon on 31st July 1977, to notice large numbers of wild flowers and quite a variety too. I returned the following afternoon armed with flora, pencil and paper determined to find out just what was in flower.

As the bus was going to the Stansfield Estate I alighted where it left the main road and walked up to Fothergill and Harvey’s. It was a hot afternoon and, feeling a little lazy, I thought of missing out the stretch from Summit as being unworthy of attention. However, something prompted me not to dismiss that stretch without checking it. I was glad that I did for I spent over an hour on this section of towpath.

My intention was to record the species in flower between locks and bridges and this I did, but later I found that it was convenient to divide the towpath into three sections.

Section 1 - Summit to Fothergill and Harvey Ltd.

Section 2 - The Fothergill and Harvey Complex.

Section 3 - Fothergill and Harvey to Littleborough.

I have recorded the species present in the three sections in the table below. The colour of the flower is indicated by the symbol — Y = Yellow, W = White, P = Purple, mauve, red.

Colour Species Latin name Section
      1 2 3
P Heather Calluna vulgaris   +  
Y Tormentil Potentialla erecta   +  
Y Dandelion Taraxacum sp.   + +
W Yarrow Achilla millefolium   +  
Y Vetch – Tufted Vicia Cracca     +
Y Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris     +
P Black Knapweed Centauraa nigra + +  
W Elderberry Sambucus nigra +   +
Y Hawkweed Hieracium sp. + + +
W White clover Trifolium repens + + +
P Red clover Trifolium pratense   +  
  Rush Funcus effuses +   +
P Willowherb – Rosebay Epilobium augustifolium   +  
P Willowherb – Broadleaved Epilobium montanium   +  
W Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium   + +
Y Ragwort Senecio Jacobaea   +  
P Foxglove Digitalis purpurea   +  
W Sneezewort Achillea Millefolium   +  
P Thistle – creeping Cirsium arvense   + +
P Thistle – spear Cirsium vulgare   +  
Y Buttercup Ranunculus acris   + +
Y Groundsel Senecio vulgaris   +  
W Blackberry Rubus fruticosus   + +
W/P Field bindweed Connvolvulus arvensis   +  
Y Meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis   +  

The sections of towpath vary in a number of respects.

Section Length Type No. of species of flower
1 500yds Urban 5
2 800yds Industrial 21
3 1320yds Rural 11

No doubt others will be as surprised as I was to find that the largest number of species and incidentally the greatest of each species in flower was to be found in section 2.

I continued my journey home along the canal towpath as far as Clegg Hall and although I did not record any data the absence of flowers on this stretch was very noticeable. However, I did make a number of observations.

Canal Street to Smithy Bridge Road.

1. The practice of cleaning weed from the canal and dumping this upon the towpath may have a damaging effect upon the natural flora of the towpath.

2. The section of canal immediately up to the first barrier in front of the chemical works had many fish and an excellent crop of floating water plantain (Luronium natans) which was in flower. This may be due to the higher all round temperature of the water due to the release of heat from the chemical works. Beyond the barrier and in front of the main part of the chemical works the water was in a terrible state and this extended beyond the remainder of the complex

Smithy Bridge Road to Clegg Hall

Large sheets of duckweed (Lemma sp.) were to be found floating in the water.

Conclusion

I hope that this short article will provide food for thought. The canal is a much-neglected reservoir of wild life. The presence of an industrial complex does not necessarily destroy the flora and fauna and indeed, in some instances, may have actually added to it.

Whilst not condoning the use some members of the community make of the canal as a tipping ground for cast out cookers, beds, prams, industrial waste etc., I equally fear the well-intentioned work of the canal restorers, who might create a sterile stretch of water, devoid of plant and animal life with expensively landscaped towpaths.

With a little help and encouragement, nature can make an interesting and attractive landscape at far less cost.

It will be a pity if man, however good his intentions, destroys the little colour and beauty in our midst.

GEOFFREY SUTCLIFFE Aug. 1977.

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STEANOR BOTTOM TOLL HOUSE

Sketch: Steanor Bottom Toll House

In July the Steanor Bottom Society came into existence. It replaces the committee which represented jointly Littleborough Civic Trust, Todmorden Historical Society and the Todmorden Conservation Group. The Society is a Civic Society in its own right, has the model constitution laid down by the Civic Trust and is therefore acceptable as a registered charity to the charity commissioners.

Since the Society has now acquired that status, it qualifies under the terms of the Architectural Heritage Scheme for a loan of £5,000 to complete the work of restoring and preserving the unique building at Steanor Bottom.

The objects of the Society are:

a) To stimulate public interest in the area of benefit

b) To promote high standards of planning and architecture in the area of benefit

c) To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in the area of benefit.

The area of benefit comprises the Turnpike Roads and Packhorse Tracks in the Pennines adjacent to the Toll House.

Restoring the Toll House and setting up the Society has provided us with an opportunity to co-operate with our Yorkshire friends in a practical venture which has now much wider possibilities.

Would those who wish to be kept in touch, wish to join, have practical suggestions or can offer help, please get in touch with the Secretary, D.A.Pickis, Lightowlers, Littleborough. Telephone: 78849

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Thanks to - Keith Parry for the cover design, all contributors and the people who distribute the newsletter.


Editor: Roy Prince