WALK NO. 2. WOODNOOK FARM – COUPE GREEN – RED ROCKS – ROACH BRIDGE
The distance covered is approximately two and three quarter miles and there are some very muddy places in wet weather.
USE THE STILE OPPOSITE WOODNOOK FARM ON ROACH ROAD AND WALK ALONG THE RIGHT-HAND HEDGESIDE THROUGH TWO FIELDS.
On the left is Higher Barn Farm, with Duxon Hill beyond; whilst along the right-hand” ridge lies Cuerdale Lane, with the River Darwen below. Fleetwood Hall is in the foreground and a path leads to it from the next gate, across the adjacent field.
CONTINUE ALONG THE HEDGESIDE IN THE THIRD FIELD AND WALK PART WAY ROUND A COPSE, BEFORE STRIKING ACROSS TO THE OPPOSITE WOODLAND.
MAKE FOR A LARGE SIGN ON A TREE, NEGOTIATE THE GULLY AND THEN REPEAT THE EXERCISE – CUTTING ACROSS A FURTHER PIECE OF LAND TO ANOTHER TONGUE OF BEESTON WOOD.
In this area, the brook forms both the ecclesiastical and civil boundaries of Samlesbury. Once on the other side, you are in Higher Walton.
CROSS THE FOOTBRIDGE, GO UP THE FACING BANK AND FOLLOW THE RIGHT-HAND HEDGE TO A STILE LEADING INTO FOX LANE.
(* Route No. 2B branches to the left, here.)
WALK FORWARD TO COUPE GREEN, PASSING A ROW OF STONE-BUILT COTTAGES. TURN RIGHT AT THE JUNCTION, PASS THE PRIMARY SCHOOL AND DESCEND CARVER BROW.
Porridge Broo, as it used to be known locally, passes through a leafy tunnel, then levels out to cross the Darwen and connect to Potter Lane, Cuerdale.
From there, footpaths lead to Higher Walton, Sallom House and Cuerdale Lane.
GO OVER CARVER BRIDGE, TURN AT THE RIGHT-HAND STILE AND WALK ALONG THE RIVERSIDE TO RED ROCKS.
There used to be gates here, instead of a style and a goyte ran alongside the river; this was filled in when the dye mill no longer needed it.
The remnants of Bannister Hall gardens can still be seen away to the left, but the Hall has been demolished.
Although the Darren is only small, it can be quite spectacular after heavy rain and often flows through very attractive countryside. Red Rocks used to be a very popular picnic site on Good Fridays.
However, it is advisable to keep young people away from the edge – two boys were once drowned here.
LEAVE RED ROCKS AND GO OVER TWO STILES WHICH ARE QUITE CLOSE TOGETHER; THEN CUT STRAIGHT ACROSS THE FIELD TO A GATE/STILE LEADING ONTO THE OLD OCCUPATIONAL ROAD TO DARWEN SIDE FARM.
The oldest part of the house is dated 1619 and there used to be stepping stones to dwellings across the river, where a tanning industry was carried on.
GO THROUGH THE YARD, RETURN TO THE RIVERSIDE AND WALK TO ROACH BRIDGE COTTAGES, WHERE THERE IS A STILE IN THE FENCE.
Another path branches left at this point, going uphill to Cuerdale Lane and emerging near Yew Tree Farm.
PASS BEHIND THE COTTAGES, GO TO THE BRIDGE AND TURN RIGHT TOWARDS TI-IE PAPER MILL.
A bridge existed here in 1699 and opposite the mill there used to be six small dwellings called Smiths Cottages.
There is still a flight of steps down to the river, but they are probably unsafe and the entrance is blocked up.
Thirty-two children were on the mill school registers in 1844/45, but the average attendance was only twenty-five.
In the late 18th century, Roach Bridge was a water-powered cotton mill, surrounded by about thirty one cottages, but problems arose in the mid 19th century when a series of fires occurred – two of them causing damage estimated at £24,000 and £20,000 respectively. All the properties were sold for £5,000 in 1867 and by 1873, the mill, shop and seventeen of the cottages were empty.
Most of the homes have now disappeared, but seventy three workers are employed in the mill on a shift system. The owners claim that it is the only. wrapping paper mill in Great Britain which is fitted with two M.G. lick-up machines for the production of paper as light as 17 – 25 grammes per square metre. Although modified, one of the machines is still original and their paper is used for a wide variety of purposes, including those in the aircraft, dressmaking, food, aluminium, electrical, firework and footwear industries.
RETURN TO THE STARTING POINT BY GOING PAST THE MILL AND THEN WALKING ALONG ROACH ROAD FOR ABOUT HALF A MILE.
On the way you will pass an old iron gate just beyond the mill gates this leads into Green Lane and can be used to link up with the fifth route. Also on the left, (round the bend), is Samlesbury’s first vicarage, a homely stone cottage, built in 1778.