Photograph: Winter scene

Snow Tree

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

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.

OFFICERS OF LITTLEBOROUGH CIVIC TRUST

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.

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Communications

There has been quite a long space of time between the last newsletter and this issue. The main reason for this is that the Committee has been giving some thought to the Trust's activities - especially its open meetings and more on this subject appears later in the newsletter.

Another matter under discussion was our means of communication with members and with the community as a whole. Our members, of course, are aware of the Trust's work, but we realise that many people in Littleborough are unaware of the Trust's achievements in the past, its present work and its aims for the future. With this in mind, we have published an information sheet, a copy of which is enclosed in this newsletter. You will probably be able to pass it on to a friend or neighbour whom you think would be pleased to read it. More copies will be available, if you require them.

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The Annual General Meeting

This year we shall be holding a Cheese and Wine Evening on Thursday, 21st January 1982 at 8.00pm in the United Reform Church Room. This will be an informal occasion at which we shall deal with the year's essential business in a brief and slightly more formal manner. Information about our recent work and possible future programme will be available. We would especially value the support of our members and any others who would be prepared to get involved.

It is, as you will appreciate, very important to have sufficient nominations for the Officers and Committee. Generally, but not essentially, the Officers come from the Committee, because through being on the Committee knowledge of the working of the Trust is gained. A good way to start is to join the Committee and to see whether there is anything in the Trust's work that interests you and to which you could devote a little of your time. The Committee meets once a month for about two hours.

We do hope that, if you wish to nominate anyone to serve, you will attain their approval - just as we hope that anyone nominating you will have your prior approval.

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A Rethink about the Open Monthly Meetings

An obvious lack of support from the general public for our regular monthly meeting during the last nine months has given conclusive evidence that times and tastes change. The Committee has tried a change of meeting place and supported a varied programme of talks and lectures, but with little success.

One thing remains clear: the special open meeting devoted to a particularly important topic of current interest or urgency has not failed to draw very good support. The meeting held earlier this year on "Footpaths" was extremely successful and one recalls that others concerned with the Hollingworth Lake Country Park, the forming of a Rochdale Canal Society and particularly sensitive planning issues have provided a strong stimulus to popular support. We hope that people throughout Littleborough will join forces with us next year, probably in the spring, when we sponsor a meeting on "Litter".

Incidentally, some of the issues raised by the footpaths public meeting are still being followed up.

DON PICKIS

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The Coach House

The Civic Trust is one of the groups which support this co-operative venture. The Manpower Services Commission carrying out the initial work, employ 3 supervisors and 15young Littleborough people who were formerly unemployed. A model of the proposed conversion is on display in the Library. If you wish to know more about the project:

Public Meeting – Thursday, 3rd December at 8.00pm.
United Reformed Church - Everyone welcome.

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Hollingworth Lake Country Park

In the latest periodic 'Count of Visitors to Country Parks' issued by the Countryside Commission and which covered 154 designated parks, Hollingworth Lake was listed seventh out of the ten which attracted the largest number of visitors in the country. Clumber topped the list, followed by Tatton and Box Hill. Sixth was Lyme which pipped us by 130 people.

The Lake is not the easiest of areas in which to carry out a survey of visitors. People can walk into it from all points of the compass. They arrive by public transport, cycle and on horseback. A considerable number jog in, but most arrive by car. The Commission picks four Sundays at random during the summer months and from 10.00am to 6.00pm on those particular days students all over the country are simultaneously compiling data sheets. Apart from the actual body county the results show weather patterns and petrol price rises and they also record the fluctuations in attendance at managed sites when an entrance foe is raised.

In addition to the official counts we try to keep an accurate record of the number of visitors to the Information Centre. The lady who dispenses information also 'clicks in’ the number of people who come through the doors; although, on a busy afternoon when the total can reach anywhere between 1000 to 1800 (Easter Monday 2455; ) even this system falls down. The Centre becomes crammed with a heaving mass of visitors swarming in through the doors, struggling to queue for refreshments and trying to reach the information desk. Invariably, whilst trying to cope with requests and sell publications at the same time, the 'hand tally' becomes of secondary importance and the previous careful court becomes a guide. At such times as this, visitor pressure takes on a new meaning. The exhibits are obscured by the press of people and the Centre no longer carries out the function for which it was intended. Inevitably, the Centre count is always a pale reflection of the real numbers who enjoy the Country Park. What percentage actually uses the Centre? How many of those who park their cars at Lakebank and Hollingworth Road are even aware of its existence?

Certainly it still comes as no surprise to the staff when they are asked, "How long has this place been open?" or to be told, "We have been coming here for years and it used to be a refuse tip". Many of the enquirers are reluctant to believe that the Centre opened as long ago as Easter 1977, but some idea of the popularity which it has created can be gathered from the following annual figures:

1977/78 30,067
1978/79 42,204
1979/80 61,866
1980/81 73,953

The Centre is presently staffed only at the weekend during the winter months.

Finally, a new sewage disposal system has recently been installed to deal with the ever increasing numbers. Six years ago, when the building was in the design stage, the architects did their homework using comparisons with other centres and decided that a throughput of 500 visitors on the busiest days would be an adequate over¬estimate and, accordingly, installed facilities to deal with the effluent of that number. After a couple of years it became grossly overloaded and eventually gave up the ghost.

G. Garlick, Warden of Hollingworth Lake Country Park.

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Trees

In summer some poplars on the river bank in the centre of Littleborough had to be cut down - they were overgrown and taking light from the houses. The Civic Trust hopes to plant some trees in an adjacent area on the riverside.

These will be decorative trees, say a willow or winter-flowering prunus and will not take light from any houses or offices. We are always on the lookout for new sites for planting trees - do let any committee member know, if you have any suitable places.

RAE STREET

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Offa's Dyke

In June this year I was able to realise an ambition which I had cherished for a number of years, namely to walk the Offa1s Dyke Long Distance Footpath which starts at the Bristol Channel just below Chepstow and ends on the North Wales Coast at Prestatyn. The Path, not all of which is along the line of the Dyke, crosses some magnificent countryside through the English - Welsh Border Counties and allows visits to once important and busy towns, which now languish as sleepy backwaters as their importance has waned.

Offa's Dyke

Path along Offa's Dyke

The peace and solitude which I encountered, the glimpses of animal life and the colourful flowers seen in hedgerows, ditches, fields and woods made the walking of the Path a tremendously worthwhile experience. The magnificent structure of the Dyke can still be observed in places and its line seen in the distance as it goes up hill and down dale ever onward. I marvelled at the incredible effort made by our ancestors in the 8th Century as they strove to complete their task. No unemployed in those days - there was always the Dyke to build.

Travellers along the Dyke vary tremendously - all friendly, eager to relate their experiences and to report on the progress of others. Because one saw few people in the course of the day, such brief encounters were more meaningful and of more interest than if one were walking amongst hundreds along a crowded promenade. The younger walkers 'backpacked' and seemed more inclined to complete the walk in as short a time as possible, whilst the older ones took a more leisurely pace, savouring every step. One lady in her sixties, walking the Dyke a second time, carried a rucksack on her back, a string bag round her neck, a map in one hand and walking stick in the other. She was an inspiration to anyone thinking they were too old to do anything worthwhile.

Litter, so much of a problem in our own community, was virtually non-existent. Footpaths were generally well-defined and clearly signposted. One leading off the Dyke and down to the River Wye read as follows, "This is a hayfield. Use the path with pleasure, but please keep in single file."

Local people were both friendly and helpful, accommodation] good and some of the meals memorable.

With the passing of our local industries, perhaps we need to look to and to look after the natural beauty of our own area in order to create a new era of prosperity and perhaps there is something to be learned from those living close to the Offa's Dyke Long Distance Footpath.

GEOFFREY SUTCLIFFE

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Littleborough Rambling Club

This club is not, of course, run by Littleborough Civic Trust but readers might like to know about its activities.

We have a committee of six and a membership of nineteen. The committee runs the club and meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 22, Joseph Street, (just off Todmorden Read). Anyone, whether a member or not, is allowed to attend one of those meeting's as an observer. There are four vacancies on the committee at the moment. Our walks programmes are decided at our meetings and suggestions are welcome. The walks take place on alternate Sundays to the Civic Trust's Footpath Group Walks. There is no charge for membership.

The two remaining walks for this year are:

6th December. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm. Whitfield and Calderbrook Moor.

20th December. Meet in the Square at 1.30pm. Whittaker and Hollow Field.

At present the Club is working on a long distance footpath, the Lake to Lake Way, and a Littleborough Town Trail.

Officers 1981

Chairman - Michael Smithson, Tel. 76548.

Secretary - Michael Butterworth. Tel. 78678.

Treasurer - Shaun Hampton. Tel. 74779.

Walks Organiser - Michael Farrell. Tel. 70154.

Committee - Francis Hampton, Helen Farrell.

MICHAEL FARRELL

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Footpath Group Walks

If weather conditions are unsuitable, the leader might have to alter or cancel any walk. This might also be necessary if, when cars are required, there are insufficient cars available.

December 27th. Leader - Richard Evans. Meet at Hollingworth Lake Information Centre 1.30pm.
Whittaker - Sheep Bank - Rough Road - Fielden Farm - Lanefoot Farm - Ealees Valley. Distance - 5 miles.
This is a reasonably easy walk.

January 10th. Leader - John Hindle. Meet in Littleborough Square at 1.30pm.
Ealees - Brearley Brook - Canal Drain - Hollingworth Fold - Old Lodge Inn - Schofield Hall Farm - Benny Hill - Syke
Farm - Whittaker - Lanefoot Farm - Ealees. Distance: 6½ miles

Photograph: Ramblers' Group

January 24th. Leader - Richard Evans. Meet in Littleborough Square at 1.30pm.
Canal Towpath - Benthouse - Gate House - Higher Windy Bank -Fielden arm - Owlet pall - Lydgate - Humber Farm -
Lanefoot Farm - Ealees.

February 7th.Leader - Roy Prince. Meet at the Beach Hotel at 1.45pm.
Peanock - Shaw Lane Cottages - Birchinley Farm - Wildhouse Farm - Plumb House - Belfield Lane Bridge - Dobfield -
Cronshaw - Owl Hill. Distance 5½ miles.

February 21st. Meet in Littleborough Square at 1.30pm for 1.45pm bus to White House. Leader - Richard Evans.
Aiggin Stone - Roman Road - Packhorse Road - High Peak -Swainrod Lane - Greenhalgh Farm - Leach - Longley Hey
- Sladen Fold - Hollow Field - Lightowlers - Gale.

March 7th. Leader - Helen Bray. Meet at Lawflat at 1.45pm.
Rydings Dam - Rydings Farm - Flower Hill Lane - Spring Side - Old Ben Lane - Stid Fold – Hard Lane - High Wardle -
Broad Ing - Cry Pasture - Steward Barn - Ramsden Road - Wardle Fold - Bank Barn Farm.

March 21st. Leader - Roy Prince. Meet at the Beach Hotel at 2.00pm.
Lakebank - Turnough - Antioch - Higher Abbotts - Higher Fold - Syke - Higher Booth Hollins - Rakewood - Dickey Steps
- Higher Bib Knowl - Shaw Moss. Distance 6 miles.

April 4th. Leader - Geoffrey Sutcliffe. Meet at Lawflat at 1.45pm.
Dog Road — Clough House Lane - Ciss Hill - Rydings Lane - Fafflety Brow - Man Stone Edge - Brown Wardle - Middle
Hill - Sheep Cote - Hades Hill End - Higher Hades - Higher Slack - Crook - Ramsden Road - Sheriff Hall.

April 18th. Leader - Richard Evans. Meet in Littleborough Square at 9.00am.
Cars to Hurst Green. Ribchester Roundabout. Distance 13½ miles.
(To help defray costs a donation of £1-80 per person will be asked for.)

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Three Peaks Walk.

I would be obliged if those people who have expressed an interest in doing this walk would let me know definitely if they are going by the end of December. If I have not heard by then, I shall assume that they are not interested. The walk is quite demanding, being 24 miles in length, with almost 5,000 feet of climbing. I should also be glad if someone would offer to arrange this weekend.

JOHN HINDLE

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Littleborough Historical &Archæological Society

Our open meetings are held on Thursdays at 8.00pm in the Oddfellows' Room, Church Street, Littleborough

December 10th. - Mr. W. Kershaw, "Mural Painting".

January 14th. - Mr. K. Parry, "Trans Pennine Heritage".

February 11th. This will be a joint meeting with Littleborough Civic Trust and will be held in the United Reformed Church. - Mr. A. Luke, "Littleborough Pubs".

RICHARD EVANS

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CAROL SERVICE

The Coach House Committee are again organising a carol Service this year with the kind cooperation of the United Reformed Church. This will be on the evening of Tuesday, 22nd December and it is hoped there will be a children's choir and the Littleborough Band to lead the singing. Approximate times are:

7.00pm. Meet in the Coach House Yard for singing outside. Move to the Square for singing round the tree.

7.30pm. Walk back to the United Reformed Church for singing inside.

8.15pm. Those who wish walk round to sing at Hare Hill Court.

9.00pm. Return to the United Reformed Schoolroom.

The collections will be given to the charities for the disabled in the area.

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Don't forget the Annual General Meeting on 21st January in the United Reformed Church at 8.00pm.


Editor: Roy Prince