Picture: Spring grass background


The newsletter editor is always pleased to receive contributions to be considered for inclusion. The views expressed in the newsletter do not necessarily 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 Michael Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road, Littleborough. Tel. 70154.


Chairman: Keith Parry, 3, Prospect Street. Tel.79883.

Vice Chairwoman: Betty Pickis, Lightowlers, Blackstone Edge. Tel. 78849

Secretary: Judith Schofield, 3 Green Clough, Todmorden Road, Littleborough. Tel. 76015

Treasurer: Bernard Harrison, 5 Paul Row, Tel. 78013

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


Richard Evans, 8 Charles St.
Roy Prince, 14 Milbury Drive, Tel. 78883.
Geoff Sutcliffe, 14 Buckley Terrace, Wardle, Tel. 40369.
Mike Farrell, 41 Hollingworth Road, Tel. 70154.
Lincoln Jackson, 1 Moorfield View, Shore, Tel. 70542.
Rae Street, Calder Cottage, Tel. 76043.
Pauline Hopkinson, Far Hey Head Farm, Calderbrook.
Beryl Heywood, 27 Howarth Street. Tel. 73476.
Tom Walker, 70 West View, Ealees. Tel. 79573

Please pass on any suggestions that you have about the Trust and its work to any of the above.

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The (Civic Trust Committee apologises for the cancellation of the Annual General Meeting in January. This was because a significant number of members, including the evening's Chairman contacted the officers expressing a desire not to attend due to the bad weather conditions. It was decided at a subsequent Committee meeting that with the members' approval, the A.G.M. would in future be held in the springtime and the Constitution amended accordingly.

The A.G.M. for 1985 will now take place on Thursday April 18th, at 8.00pm. in the Coach House Heritage Centre, Lodge Street. There will be a number of vacant seats on the committee even if all current members are re-elected. The committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the Harehill Park Council Offices, to discuss planning applications, future events, footpaths, correspondence, environmental issues, and any other relevant issues and to hear reports from the various bodies on which we are represented. If you would like to serve on the committee the Secretary would be delighted to hear from you. Nominations from the floor will be accepted. If you do not wish to stand, please try to attend the A.G.M. and have your say.



Local Historical Society

We have been doing a survey of the Watergrove Area.

We are having a trip to Grassington on SUNDAY 19TH MAY, 10.00am. If you want to come, please contact L. Jackson, 70542 or Alan Luke, 79949.

Meetings arranged are:

Thursday 11th. April. Mrs. J. Bowers - Genealogy.

We are holding a Sponsored Walk on Sunday 16th June, about 9 miles. Details from L. Jackson.

R. EVANS, Secretary

We will also be taking part in Environment Week, see below for details.

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Coach House Events

Friday, April 5th.Good Friday Performance of the Pace Egg Play. 11.00am.
Saturday, April 13th.Art Exhibition by local artist Rob Holt. Reproductions available
Tuesday, April 16th.Cheese and Wine Evening. Heritage Centre.
Tuesday, April 23rd."Think of England" a not too serious look at our National Heritage on St. George's Day. Devised by Keith Parry Heritage Centre 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 27th. to May 6th.Environment Week. See seperate details.
Tuesday, 14th May.An Evening at the Centre, details to be arranged.
Thursday, May 16th.Shoe Party. Heritage Centre 8.00pm.
Saturday, May 18th.Stump Work Exhibition by Ada Eastwood.
Thrusday, June 6th.Good as New Fashion Show. Heritage Centre 8.00pm.
Saturday, June 8th.Great Outdoors Weekend - Provisional only.
Sunday, June 9th.Sponsored Walk Rochdale Canal towpath. Forms at the Coach House.
Wednesday, June 12th.Fun Run. starting from the Coach House. 7.00pm.
Saturday, July 13th.Coach House Fete and Market. From 10.30am.


Environment Week

This is a national project sponsored by the National Civic Trust. At the local level Events will be co-ordinated by the Coach House Trust, Historical Society, Civic Trust, and Oldham and Rochdale Groundwork Trust.

April 28th. to May 6th.Exhibition "The Changing Face" - Heritage Centre. "The Past" was a town dominated by textiles and engineering, "The Present" is a changing society and environment. "The Future" holds promise.
Thursday, May 2nd.Book Launch "Gordon Harvey" by Keith Parry. A short survey of his life and work. His first biographer described him as a "political idealist, practical reformer and believer in the perfectability of mankind". To that can be added "Enlightened millowner, pioneer environmentalist and, inevitably, disappointed man. Heritage Centre - details later.
Saturday, May 4th.2.30 from Coach House - "Trans Pennine" approx. 1 hr. (looking at Historic Trans Pennine Routes) 50p. to Coach House Project.
Sunday, May 5th.2.30pm. Village Walk - approx. 1 hour. (Richard). 50p to Historical Society.
Monday, May 6th. (Bank Holiday)2.30pm. "Rochdale Reborn" - A look at the canal and its future. 1 Hour. 50p. to Coach House Project.



Due for publication this summer is a new outdoor leisure map of the Northern and Eastern Yorkshire Dales showing Wensleydale and Swalesdale on two sheets back to back.

British Rail have announced plans for a new marketing drive to promote the use of the Settle-Carlisle Line, due, possibly to the 21,000 objections to the closure plans. British Rail have decided to keep the line open for at least another five years.

The National Conservancy Council report, "Nature Conservation in Great Britain" shows a great loss of all main types of ecosystem and some have been catastrophic, for example - of lowland neutral grasslands including herb rich hay meadows, 95% are now lacking significant wild life interest.

Photograph: Field boundary hedgerow

Only 3% is left undamaged by agricultural intensification. Lowland grassland of sheepwalk on chalk or Jurassic limestone - 80% loss or significant damage. Lowland heaths on acidic soils – 40% loss. Limestone pavements in Northern England – 45% damaged or destroyed, 3% only untouched. Ancient lowland woods composed of native broad-leafed trees, 30% loss by conversion to conifer plantations or farmland. Hedges in England and Wales 28% loss or 140,000 miles. Lowland fens valley land basin mires 50% loss or significant damage. Lowland raised mires 50% loss or significant changes. Upland grasslands, heaths and bogs, 30% loss or serious damage.

Other measured habitat loss and damage has occurred to inter tidal flats and saltings, sand dunes, shingle beeches, lakes, rivers and higher mountains. The flora and fauna associated with these habitats have suffered losses in parallel of the groups monitored so far. Butterflies and dragonflies have shown the biggest loss; one species of butterfly, the large blue became extinct in 1979. Ten more out of a total of 55 species breeding in Britain are vulnerable or seriously endangered and another 13 have declined substantially since 1960. Of Britain’s 43 species of dragonflies 3 or possibly 4 have become extinct since 1953, 6 are vulnerable or endangered and 5 have decreased significantly.

At least 36 species of birds breeding in Britain have shown long term decline since 1949 as a result of habitat deterioration. All species of bats have declined so that now the pipistrelle is no longer common. Several of Britain’s 15 species are at risk of extinction, and several more are now rare. Due to problems such as decreasing food supplies, destruction of roosts and pollution, four of Britain’s 12 species of reptiles and amphibians are endangered.

Of Britain’s 1423 native species of flowering plants and ferns 10% have declined substantially since 1930 and 10 species have become extinct mainly due to habitat loss and changes of land use practices.

Percentage of ancient woodland in some counties of England and Wales converted to plantation or totally destroyed in the last 50 years are as follows:

Bedfordshire 40%Cornwall 48%
Hertfordshire 43%Leicestershire 47%
Lincolnshire 56%Norfolk 52%
Northamptonshire 64%Northumberland 50%
Shropshire 63%Somerset 46%
Clwyd 48%Gwent 67%
Gwyndd 51%

(This article of the Report by The National Conservancy Council is of great importance and should be published in full).



The first six walks this year have been well attended with over 20 on one walk. The weather on the first three was appalling but it has improved since.

The summer 1985 programme was drawn up at a meeting of the Footpaths Group in February. We would be delighted to have more members contributing walks and id4as. The remainder of the year’s programme will be discussed at a meeting at Harehill Park Council Offices on 18th June, at 8.00pm. Please come along.

Sunday, APRIL 14th. Leader – RICHARD EVANS. Meet Square 1.45pm.
Ealees - Lydgate - Moorcock.

Sunday, APRIL 28th. Leader - ALF WARD. Meet Square 1.45pm or Ogden 2.00pm.
White Hill - Pennine Way.

8 miles.

Sunday, MAY 12th. Leader - GEOFF SUTCLIFFE. Meet Square 9.30am.
Crow Hill (Midgely) - Luddenden Valley - Limers Gate - Crimsworth Dean - Hebden Bridge.

Approx. 10 miles.

Sunday, MAY 26th. Leader - ALF WARD. Meet Square 1.30pm or 1.45pm at Ogden.
Bishop Park and Ogden.

8 miles.

Wednesday, MAY 29th. Square 6.45pm. for bus to White House.
Blackstone Edge

Sunday, JUNE 9th. Leader - HELEN BRAY. Meet Square 10am.
Digley Reservoir - Yateholme - Holme Bridge

12 miles

Sunday, JUNE 23rd. Leader - RICHARD EVANS. Meet Square 2.00pm.
Ealees - Windy Bank - Dry Mere - Booth Hollins.

Sunday, JULY 7th. Leader - Lincoln JACKSON. Meet Square 1.30pm.
Shore (Calderbrook area).

Sunday, JULY 21st. Leader - MICHAEL FARRELL. Meet Square 9.30am for bus to Todmorden.
Whirlaw - Black Hameldon – Widdop – Heptonstall.

13 miles.

Wednesday, JULY 31st. Leader - ALF WARD. Meet Square 6.45am.
Ogden Reservoir circular

4 miles.



In 1942 J. P. Pounall produced an idea which I believe could and still would have overwhelming benefits for this country, and could change completely bulk carrying of goods in this country. He called it 'the Grand Contour Canal’; it would consist of a line from Leeds to London via Manchester.

Links were envisaged connecting the Midlands and the Bristol Channel to the main line.

Although no locks were to be used on this canal a slight gradient of one foot in twelve miles was planned which would be sufficient for the waterway to be used as a water grid.

The minimum tonnage would be 350 tons, maximum size 1350 tons. Also containers travelling as a raft would only need a small tug. The speed would be 6 mph. Below are some of the times for travel between towns:

London - Birmingham: 24 hrs.

Birmingham - Manchester: 19 hrs.

Bristol - Nottingham: 27 hrs.

Southampton - Nottingham: 33 hrs.

In my opinion the advantages not only in savings but in maintenance costs and the environmental benefits would far outweigh the actual building costs.

At today’s prices this would be £6 million a mile compared to £10 million a mile for an urban motorway.

On writing to the Dept. of Transport the idea was turned down, first because the cost would be £1.2 billion for the main line (to get this in perspective the cost is equivalent to 5 months unemployment pay).

I also enclose the following figures:

A 40 ton articulated lorry running between Leeds and London would in a year move 18,400 tons, an average of 8.89 tons per hour at a cost of 2.59p per ton/mile.

A 350 ton barge (minimum size) running between Leeds and London would in a year move 16,100 tons an average of 9.94 tons per hour at a cost of 58p a ton mile (11% less at a cost 4½ times cheaper).

A 1350 ton barge (maximum size) running between Leeds and London would in a year move 62,100 tons an average of 36.2 tons per hour at a cost of 58p a ton mile (almost 3½ times the tonnage at a cost of 4½ times cheaper).

I believe that this revolutionary concept of bulk carriage was never even considered because of two factors:

1. The all-powerful road haulage lobby which is all too evident to-day.

2. The inability of the people who have the real authority in this country to see the waterways in this country as anything but a rural backwater and their idea of water carriage does not go beyond a narrow boat which can carry at most 20/30 tons or a barge carrying 70 tons.




Being editor of the Civic Trust Newsletter also entails being keeper of the Archives (so if anyone would like to browse through old newsletters dating back to 1974, please contact me). The spring 1975 issue is quite an interesting one.

The Committee Members of the time who still serve today were Rae Street (Chairman (1972-80) Betty Pickis (then Minutes Sec.) Rita Kay (then Treasurer), Keith Parry (Publicity Officer - an office which seems to have disappeared), Richard Evans and Lincoln Jackson. Some of the others remain in the Trust but for varying reasons no longer serve on the Committee such as Don Pickis (Vice-Chairman 1972-80 Chairman 1981). John Hindle (then Sec.) Brian Clarke (Footpaths Sec. 1977-1979). and David Bogg. Others like Gill Joiner (one of my predecessors as editor) and Harry Giffin have moved out of the area. Others like Philip Darnborough, John Stanley and Mariel Sugden left the Trust some time ago. And inevitably there are two names there which represent members who are sadly no longer with us - Alma Harper and Geoff Wilson.

Events-wise we were due to hold a Buffet Dance and Antiques Auction with Todmorden Conservation Group and Todmorden Antiquarian Society. These useful links seem to have been lost since the Steanor Bottom restoration scheme was completed. This project was in full swing as were the monthly meetings. The competition run in the schools for a civic trust emblem (which still appears on the cover) was won by Denise Gardiner of Littleborough High School. With the Footpaths Group, the only unfamiliar names to me are Philip Greenwood and Bob Culshaw who must both have left the Trust before 1977.

The overall impression one gets is that the Trust was more active in those days with a greater number of people, taking part in our activities. Members of the Committee have been worried about dwindling numbers on the Committee and a contracting membership for some time. Please come along to the A.G.M. so we can reverse an unfortunate trend.




Michael published a list of his top 20 tops and invited lists from other people. Here is mine, which surprised me I had not realised I had done so many.

1. Cross Fell2930 ft.11. Dove Crag2603 ft.
2. Fairfield2863 12. Kidsty Pike2560
3. Crinkle Crags281613. Dow Crag2555
4. Great Dun Fell278014. Great Rigg2503
5. Little Dun Fell276115. Wetherlam2502
6. Hart Crag269816. High Raise2500
7. Coniston Old Man263317. The Knott2423
8.Brim Fell261118. Seat Sandal2415
9. Knot Fell260419. Sargeant Man2414
10. Green Gable260320. Harrison Stickle2403


Thanks to:
Keith Parry for the cover design.
Roy Prince for printing the newsletter.
The Coach House Trust and Rochdale Resource Centre for providing facilites
All contributors and distributors

Editor: Roy Prince