Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
A wet day today, the first rain for ages. So I stayed local around Smithills area. At the back of my house is a wooded area, the remains of the extensive woods that surrounded the local manor. When a ring road was built in 1938 much of the hillside and woods were taken away, but some trees remain behind my house up to Forest Road. This road used to be a private road built around 1900 by Col RH Ainsworth, the local lord and owner of the factory works where my house now stands. This path was the route many workers took to get from town to the bleach-works and runs past a terrace of older cottages from 1840. As was his wont, Col Ainsworth kept the path private, see An Early Mass Trespass – Winter Hill. Despite this many locals used the path on Sundays and holidays to get from the tram terminus to the boating lake and cafe at Barrow Bridge.
Anyway, during the storm on Boxing Day last year, a torrent of water came down the road, flooding the cottages and taking much of the new road away. Hundreds of tons of earth were taken away down to a brook below the road, which was swept onto the footbridge before making its way to the River Mersey and Liverpool. Water ran across the bridge and into some newer houses next to the brook.
The footbridge is a regular stop on our walk around here, so we have watched the progress of the repair works. These new excavations have shown that it isn’t earth under the woods, much more like slag from a foundry. That probably didn’t help keep the bank together.
I found out, only last night, that I actually jointly own those woods. I’ll be down the river looking for my slag back. Until then there’s more to write about Forest Road in a future blog.