Walk No. 5

WALK NO.5. FIRWOOD LANE – BENNETT’S BANK – GREEN LANE – SHORROCK FOLD.

This route is about two and a quarter miles long, but it can be shortened to around one and a half miles by using Dark Lane. However, should you prefer to lengthen it, the distance is approximately doubled when linked up with walk No. 2. and the Roach Bridge – Cardwell’s Farm stretch of Green Lane is used. A car can be parked at the western extremity of Firwood Lane, (which was spelt ffarwood, in the past).

LEAVE FIRWOOD LANE BY THE RIGHT-HAND FORK AND TURN TOWARDS ROACH BRIDGE.

Fleetwood Hall Wood is on the right and the farm itself on the left. The high wall was built with some of the lovely pink sandstone from Quaker Brook quarry.

OPPOSITE THE WALL, TURN RIGHT INTO BENNETT’S BANK, GOING OVER THE BROOK AND CATTLE GRID, ROUND THE HAIRPIN BEND AND THROUGH THE IRON GATE WHICH LEADS INTO THE YARD.

HERE, ANOTHER RIGHT TURN TAKES YOU ALONGSIDE THE OLD BARN AND THROUGH A NARROW GATE. WALK ALONG THE WOODSIDE ACROSS TWO FIELDS.

Through the trees is a small reservoir which, on maps, is marked Paradise Lake. It was constructed to supplement the water supply at Roach Bridge Mill, when the level of the River Darwen dropped too low for paper manufacturing purposes. It is known locally as Roach Lodge and is fed by a brook which originates in Hoghton and then passes through Samlesbury to the Darwen.

WHEN YOU COME TO A LINE OF TREES ACROSS THE THIRD FIELD, MOVE ONTO A LEFT DIAGONAL MAKING FOR THE STILE BESIDE A CART SHED. TURN RIGHT ONTO THE METALLED SECTION OF GREEN LANE AND WALK PAST CARDWELL’S FARM.

A muslin manufacturer called John Cardwell was living here in 1795 and the record infers that he employed and perhaps taught others on the premises.

The house is older than it first appears and still had an earth floor in the 1920’s.

On the right is Dark Lane, which can be used as a shorter way back to the starting point. Two small cottages used to stand at the left-hand side of the brook in the bottom. One of these was inhabited by a violent man and his family. He beat his wife and children so much that, one wet night the little boys ran outside to hide. Tragically, they both caught pneumonia and died. For a long time afterwards the cottages remained empty, until eventually they were demolished and the stone utilised when a shippon was built at nearby Simpson’s Farm.

CONTINUE ALONG GREEN LANE FOR JUST OVER HALF A MILE.

Nearby landmarks across the Darwen valley are very obvious and include the brewery, purification plant and a barn, which is all that remains of Darwen Side Farm.

The river used to be forded at Darwen Side and also a little higher upstream, below Sharples’ Wood. Their separate roads joined on Gate Cote land, then connected with Green Lane near Bank Housc. Stepping stones were also recorded in the area in 1695.

USE THE RIGTH-HAND STILE WHICH IS SITUATED JUST IHBYOND THE LEFT-HAND LANE DESCENDING TO GATE COTE FARM. THIS LEADS TO SHORROCK FOLD.

GO ALONG THE FENCE SIDE THROUGH TWO FIELDS AND ENTER THE YARD. TURN LEFT BETWEEN THE BUILDNGS, THEN RIGHT AT THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE. THE FARM ROAD WILL TAKE YOU ONTO GOOSEFOOT LANE.

Fihuimck Fold is 18th century and has an unusual date stone:- 17X (1710) is chiselled into a door jamb in the yard!

TURN RIGHT ONTO GOOSEFOOT LANE, THEN AT THE BOTTOM OF JESSE BROW, RIGHT AGAIN INTO FIRWOOD LANE. FROM HERE IT IS ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF A MILE BACK TO THE STARTING POINT.

Some distance along the lane is Firwood Farm, where the gable end on the house suggests the possibility of a lower, thatched roof sometime in the past.

A few yards beyond Firwood Farm, a left-hand gate leads onto a path going through Silcocks Farm to Roach Road.

During the war, a searchlight battery was stationed at Turner Farm on the right.

A modern bungalow has replaced the house, but the barn is still there. Its lichen-covered walls proved too much of a temptation for a certain budding artist – and his portraits, (etched into the lichen), decorated the building for many years after the war ended!