Photograph: Bluebells

Bluebells in spring

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Not all views expressed in the newsletter reflect official LCT 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.


Chairman: Don Pickis, Lightowlers, Blackstone Edge. Tel. 78849.

Vice Chairman: Geoffrey Sutcliffe, 14, Buckley Terrace, Rochdale. Tel. 40369

Secretary: Bernard Harrison, Tumblin’ Croft, Paul Row. Tel. 78013.

Treasurer & Membership Secretary: Beryl Jackson, 27, Howarth Street.

Press Officer: Keith Parry, 3, Prospect Street, Tel.79883.

Minutes Secretary: Rita Kay, 2, Lodgeville, Rakewood Road. Tel. 79573

Footpaths Secretary: John Hindle, 5, Chichester Close. Tel. 70407

Progamme Secretary: Richard Evans, 8, Charles Street.

Newsletter Editor: Roy Prince, 14, Milbury Drive. Tel. 78883.


Chairwoman's Report for 1980

It has been customary for the Chairman's Report delivered at the Annual General Meeting to be printed in the newsletter as it gives a summary of the activities of the Littleborough Civic Trust for the preceding year. Although some weeks have passed since the A.G.M., the report is still valid.

Littleborough Civic Trust - Chairman's Annual Report for 1980.


I make no excuse for starting with this problem this year. A problem it is. As members know, we have a very active footpath group who not only gain great enjoyment from walking, but endeavour to keep public footpaths open. (We have more than 600 in Littleborough) As an increasing number of people join rambling groups, so every time an organised group goes out they find an increasing number of blockages -on paths which should be open BY LAW.

It seems to us a very difficult situation that the statutory right to keep paths open should be the responsibility of the Borough Engineers' Department. Top priority is given by them to keeping the roads open and in a reasonable state of repair. However important members think footpaths, to the Engineers' Department they are of minor importance. Only a small proportion of the blockages reported by our Footpaths Group Secretary this year have been re-opened. Nor on the other hand do most of the farmers and landowners want to cooperate with the walkers: their rusty barbed-wire makes that clear. It has been shown in other parts of the country that different interests can be reconciled to everyone's advantage, but in most parts of the country, including our own, the difficult task of education and persuasion has hardly been touched upon.

This is the task which cannot be undertaken by the voluntary organisations themselves. And yet is anyone aware of a local government or central government department directly promoting the interests of ramblers? At a time when more and more people have leisure time and there is much discussion about the provision of extended sports facilities (and we don't decry that) where is there ever a mention of aiding ramblers? Yet here is a recreational interest enjoyed by and to the benefit of thousands of people of all age-groups; an interest which is organised principally by Volunteers and would need very little cash in national terms to make things friendlier and more enjoyable for all.

What is needed is an educational programme to promote rambling, which would have a special reference for the farmer and landowner. The latter could be shown how it is only to their benefit to leave public rights of way open: it has never happened in my experience that a rambling group has left a gate open to let stock out or knocked a wall down, though it can be a great temptation when the way is barred. And, on the other hand, more people would be encouraged to enjoy and respect the countryside. Valuable educational work is done in a general way by the Countryside Commission through the Country Parks (and our own at Hollingworth Lake). What is needed now is a specific programme to support the walker.

Listed Buildings

At the beginning of the year, we heard that Handle Hall had been 'spot-listed' which was good news. We are now cooperating on a borough-wide survey of listed buildings together with the Historical and Archaeological Society and the Townswomen's Guild. Our particular contribution to this survey, for which we have received a grant of 30, will be transport relics. In this context the Trust continues to press for further Conservation Areas in Littleborough.


Here are some developments the Committee has commented on:

Environmental Health

Complaints were sent about the burning of rubbish at Schofield Street.

Canal Improvements

We welcomed the announcement from the Borough Council that their improvement scheme, was to come in our direction. We have suggested to the Council and to the Countryside Commission that simultaneous to the scheme a useful additional amenity would be a footpath from Ealees directly to the canal towpath.


The Committee decided to join the Woodland Trust and we hope to cooperate with them in a tree-planting scheme in Littleborough.


There were some good talks and walks. There was also an excellent turn-out for the Village Fete in July. During the year representatives of the Trust attended: The A.G.M. of the Lancashire Federation of Civic Societies at Pendle Heritage Centre; the launching of the Institute of Environmental Education at Manchester Polytechnic and the October visit to Tourcoing.

Geoff Wilson Memorial

In July a small, informal ceremony was held at the Hollingworth Lake Information Centre to unveil a framed Ordnance Survey Map in memory of the late Geoff Wilson. His widow, Mrs. Joyce Wilson, unveiled the map.

Stanley Jeeves

In October we were all very saddened to hear of the untimely death of Stanley Jeeves, full-time Secretary of the C.P.R.E. in the North West. He had done more perhaps than any other single person in the North to make people aware of the value of their environment.

Coach House Community and Heritage Centre

During the year the committee representing all the voluntary and amenity societies had made considerable progress. The Littleborough Coach House Trust was now a limited company with charitable-status and several successful joint fund-raising events had been held.

Steanor Bottom Toll House

The trustees of the Steanor Bottom Society announced during the year that the Toll House had been leased to tenants who had covenanted to complete the work of restoration and to keep the building in good order.


The Committee wished to record their thanks to Mrs. Sylvia Hildrew who had resigned during the year and to Mr. Harry Dearden who, following a bad accident, was not able to take such an active part as he had done previously.

The Chairman thanked all the Committee for their support and in particular Mrs. Beryl Jackson, the Treasurer, Mr. Roy Prince, the Newsletter Editor and Mrs. Betty Pickis, the Minutes Secretary, who was resigning after eight years. It was felt that her incomparable minute book would become an historic document.

The Chairman, who was also resigning this year after nine years wanted to express her very warmest thanks to all those members of the Trust, too numerous to mention, who had made the job so enjoyable.

RAE STREET. 22-1-81.

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As Rae said, she was Chairman of Littleborough Civic Trust for nine years, a very long period of office, during which the Trust grew and flourished, giving rise along the way to other societies and groups.

A great deal of gratitude is owed to Rae for her untiring efforts over the years, for the time she has given up at all hours of the day to the work Of the Trust and for her friendly and efficient chairmanship of the meetings - not to mention the frequent use of her house and its services.

Thank you, Rae.


Footpath Group Walks.

Cartoon: Puzzled walker

April 12th. Meet in the Square at 1.45pm. Cars to Ogden. Leader - Roy Prince.
Ogden Circular.

April 26th. Meet in the Square at 1.50pm for 2.02pm bus to Sladen Wood. Leader - Lincoln Jackson.
Smithy Nook - Long Hill - Grimes - Deardens Pasture - Forest House - Blue Pot Brook - Top O'th Clough - Turn Slack
- Clough - Green Wells - Lower Turn Slack Hill - Flight Hill - Old Charles Hill - Turn Slack Hill - Fox Stones -
Hill Forest House - Cuckoo Hill - Pasture House - Stoney Field - Calderbrook Road - Higher Newgate -
Gorsey Hill Wood - Gale - Benthouse Bridge - Canal Towpath.

May 10th. Full Day walk. Leader Geoffrey Sutcliffe.

May 24th. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm Cars to Barrowford. Leader - Joe Taylor.

June 7th. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm or Lawflat at 1.50pm. Leader - Geoffrey Sutcliffe.
Clough House Lane - Flower Hill Lane - Ciss Hill - Rydings Lane Fafflety Brow - Manstone Edge - Brown Wardle -
Middle Hill -Sheep Cote - Higher Hades - Hades - Dry Bank - Wall Nook - Long Causeway - Ramsden Road.

June 21st. Meet in the Square at 1.50pm for 2.02pm bus to Temple Lane. Leader - Richard Evans.
Reddyshore Scout Gate - Moor Bank Clough - Ferny Hill - Owler Clough - Allenden Hill - Stubley Cross Hill -
Crook Hill - Claypots Hill - Higher Stone Pits - Lower Stone Pits.

July 5th. Meet at the Beach Hotel at 2.00pm. Leader - Roy Prince.
Peanock - Shaw Lane Cottages - Wildhouse Farm - Plumb House - Belfiled Lane Bridge - Dobfield - Cronshaw -
Owl Hill.

July 19th. Meet in the Square at a time to be announced. Bus to Oxenhope.
Oxenhope to Hebden Bridge. Top O'th Stairs - Howarth Old Road - Grimshaw Dean.

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So far this year - - - there have been 6 walks attended by a total of 129 people - - - 24 blockages have been found (20 in Littleborough and 4 in Milnrow), 14 of these being within the environs of Hollingworth Lake and out of the 24 there were 11 new blockages i.e. they were not reported last year.

All together last year 36 blockages were found on 25 walks. This year's figure of 24 on 6 walks is not good.

Just a couple of questions to test the Footpath Groups could anyone tell me where footpath No.1 and footpath 500 are? There are no prizes for correct answers.

Did you know that on the 1845 6" O.S. map there are 25 woods named, while there are only 3 or 4 on the latest map? Do you know the locations of these: Dyehouse Wood, Almore Wood, Town House Heights (Lower Plantation), Town House Heights (Upper Plantation), Howdins Bottom Plantation? The first three of these have disappeared.



The Hundersfeld Way

A circular footpath route round Littleborough area was first proposed some time ago. Christened 'The Hundersfeld Way, it was included (as a separate plan) at the time of the launching of the Coach House Project's first explanatory leaflet last July. Now, thanks to some timely interest shown by the Countryside Commission and West Yorkshire’s Countryside Officer some progress can be reported.

'Hundersfeld' was the name of the Parish which included both Littleborough and the 'Lancashire' part of Todmorden, so it is a logical title for a route exploring the upper part of the Roch Valley, the Summit Pass and the Walsden Valley. Designing a route of this sort poses some particular problems, only a proportion of which have yet been solved. It must be an interesting route, taking in as many of the important historical sites as practicable, not too challenging, not too much of a town trail yet not a wild moorland trek!

Adaptations are sure to be made, but the present scheme is to take a route out from the centre of Littleborough to Townhouse, on to Newgate and Higher Calderbrook, up on to Reddyshore Scoutgate, then by way of the Ramsden Wood Valley and Inchfield Pasture to join up with the Calderdale Way at Dobroyd. The Hundersfeld Way will then use the Calderdale Way to cross Todmorden, then leave it at a point between the Quaker Burial Ground and Lumbutts, run South, rising all the time, to join the Pennine Way to the top of the Roman Road, then cut down the Roman Road to take in the Hollingworth Lake Information Centre before taking the Ealees Valley path back to Littleborough Square.

John Hindle was responsible for the first change - a logical decision to cut out the original proposal to run round the Lake and cut across the valley to the Shore area. The route as described above has the advantage of making the Ealees path part of the main 'Way' rather than a link to it and the route as described more or less circles the 'Heritage Area' to be promoted by the Coach House Centre. Access routes will link the main 'Way' to the canal towpath and to the bus route which (conveniently) bisects the circular route.

John Hindle has already walked the section of the Way - from the White House by way of Hollingworth Lake and Littleborough to Todmorden and reports no problems that cannot be overcome.

Once the route has been fully surveyed, it will be possible to put the plan into operation. The Countryside Commission has suggested it may be in a position to help with such things as waymarking and signposting and West Yorkshire have also shown interest in helping with the project



Littleborough Historical and Archæological Society.

Society Logo

The Society is now four years old and we have approximately 70 members. At present we are engaged in the Listed Buildings Survey and also this summer we shall be helping Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit with a survey of archaeological sites in the area. Anyone wishing to help in either of these projects should contact D. Grayson, Tel. 76262.

We are now considering the possibility of joint trips with the Civic Trust to Thurnham Hall, Manchester, and Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, probably in July if there is sufficient interest. The following meetings have been arranged:

Thursday, May 14th - The Annual General Meeting.

Thursday, September 10th - Miss S. Bourne. "Towneley Hall History and Collections".

There will also be a history Trail, probably in August.

RICHARD EVANS (Secretary).



A meeting to promote walking and rambling locally and in the surrounding Pennines and to discuss possible action over blockages on footpaths is to be held at the United Reformed Church, Victoria Street, Littleborough, at 8.00pm on Thursday, 21st May.

The Manchester Ramblers' Association, Rochdale C.H.A., Rochdale H.F., Rochdale Borough Engineers' Department, the National Farmers' Union, West Yorkshire Authority, Greater Manchester Council and the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society have all been invited to send representatives.

Anyone who has an interest in walking is warmly invited to come along. It is important to show by the strength of interest in our area a determined attitude towards the maintenance of facilities for walkers at all levels.


End Bits...

Honorary Life Member

Miss Alma Harper was made the first Honorary Life Member after ten years committee membership and work on behalf of the Trust. She was warmly applauded.

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The former Chairman, Rae Street and the former Minutes Secretary, Betty Pickis continue as Committee Members. New Committee Members for 1981 are Mrs. Jacqy Harrison, Mr. Michael Smithson and Mr. Michael Farrell.

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1981 Subscriptions are now due. The fees agreed for this year are:

Individual subscription - 2.00.
Family subscription - 3.00
Senior Cit. or Junior - 1.00


Thanks to Keith Parry for the cover
All contributors
All distributors.

Editor: Roy Prince