Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
There’s a path between the two large stone quarries above Horwich. It takes one, somewhat muddily, up onto Burnt Edge lane. Some work has just been completed on the paths from the quarry path up across White Brow to Adam Hill. There are new plank bridges across the beck’s and the start of a cairn at a high point. The new track takes a direct route across the moor, unlike the rights-of-way marked on the map, which stick to the old walls.
As the track drops down to the junction with the tarmacked road up to the TV mast it passes two hollows in the ground. These are remains of Bell-Mines, early forms of mining in the 17th century. Usually done by individuals, hand digging holes in the hill to get at coal for personal use and later on, selling to the growing mills in town. Seams were accessed by shallow holes with ladders and wooden winding gear.
Under the south-western side of Winter Hill is an extensive series of tunnels. These are all that is left of the commercial coal mines that were worked from late 18th century until closure in 1966. The pit heads and ventilation shafts are all gone, leaving the hill-side quiet, except for walkers and their dogs. Occasionally mine explorers go down there, risking thmselves for the excitement of finding old equipment and rotting pit props.
However, the extensive rights-of-way and gentle gradient paths are left linking the 50 or so surface mines to the road to the towns of Horwich and Bolton.