Reporter: Chris Fildes
This was my third summer stroll with Pat and Harry, and not an event to miss! After a quick walk round the block with the dogs, I joined the party of 8 for a bring and share lunch.
The sun was shining as we set off from Highfield Road on a 6 mile clockwise circular walk of the Naden/Ashworth valley area led by Harry. We cut through the estate by walking down a ginnel between the houses, overgrown with blackberries, sadly not ripe as in previous years! Across another woodland path and very quickly we were away from the houses, and found ourselves by an electricity substation, (The land being owned by Peel Holdings)!! We then followed a footpath to reach the steep sided Naden Valley eventually descending to Naden Brook, (a tributary of the River Roch). The path was muddy in places due to recent heavy rainfall. We passed an old mill and a large arched wooden footbridge which replaced the earlier one swept away by floods in 2004. An Interesting reinforced corrugated metal walkway has been constructed because of footpath path erosion, however most of the paths were good. The four dogs enjoyed playing in the brook where brown trout could be seen, not big enough for a meal though!
We continued along the pleasant Gelder Clough cutting through a residential site to Ashworth Road, then climbed up through the woodlands of Simpson Clough with Cheesden Brook far below us, the whistle of the East Lancs steam train was clearly heard in the distance and the Ashworth Valley scout camp was pointed out to us over towards our right on the other side of the brook. We followed the steep wooded edge of Cheesden Brook valley (not for vertigo sufferers) and dropped down through Cleggs Wood to the valley bottom, crossed the Brook and made our way up and out of the valley We then continued through meadows and along farm tracks towards Ashworth Hall Fold. We turned right onto School Lane, chatted to a proud owner polishing his ‘Caterham’, paused for a photo at the exclusive Ashworth Cattery/Livery Stable, (well...It is licensed)! Further on the dogs enjoyed welcome drink & splash in an old stone trough, fed by a spring (see photo) We passed Scott House, an impressive mock Tudor building, formerly Rochdale Children’s Hospital, and retracing our footsteps we returned to Highfield Road around 5.15pm.
This was a delightful walk in dappled shade with babbling brooks and an old mill, evidence of Norden’s industrial past. We rounded off the pleasant afternoon with scones and a cream tea in Pat and Harry’s garden. No ripe blackberries this year, however a member was spotted taking Fuchsia cuttings in the Ashworth’s garden, and I came away with a lovely hand carved walking stick for my husband.
Many thanks to Pat and Harry for organising the event and the cream tea was delicious!