Hike, Walk

Walking in Darwen – A Town Close to my Heart

If you are a keen walker, runner or admirer of views (weather permitting) and find yourself in Darwen, Lancashire you MUST take a trip up to Jubilee Tower. SO many people I speak to have yet to get up to the tower even though they live so close.  A fab walk for all the family, young and old. It’s brilliant if you are wanting to get out and about to clear the cobwebs for a good dose of positive mental attitude or to exercise those muscles!  If you are mountain biking – great – just make sure your brakes aren’t trapped against your wheel like mine were when I was on my bike struggling…oops!

Darwen is a town that is extremely close to my heart for many reasons.  I know that Darwen Hill, may not be a collectable ‘Wainwright,’ but it is beautiful and inviting and I never tire of it, no matter how many times I have been there!  It is also surrounded by some nice reservoirs and fantastic woodland and countryside, so as a seasoned tree-hugger, it is right up my street!  If you love the Lakes – you may know that the famous Alfred Wainwright was born in the Borough of Blackburn with Darwen.

We parked on the road opposite the Hare and Hounds at Abbey Village and walked along Rake Brook Reservoir heading towards Roddlesworth.  The morning was gorgeous with clear blue skies.  Once we got to Roddlesworth Reservoir, we had to stop and take some photographs as the views were truly spectacular over the water.

We carried on up through Tockholes plantations which are breathtaking, especially in Autumn.  Following the Witton Weaver’s Way we spotted a young deer which made my day, then ventured up on to Darwen Moor.  Going across the Moor is quite a trudge but we broke it up with a brew stop.  We walked along the edge of the plateau before doubling back to the tower itself.

Jubilee Tower, or Darwen Tower as it is commonly known commemorated Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and interestingly the victory of the locals right to access the moor!  It is 85ft tall and you can access the inside of the tower to climb the DARK, windy, spiral staircase that leads to the viewing platforms at the top.  Watch your step!

The views from the top are absolutely splendid.  You can see (on a clear day) Snowdonia, the Lake District, the Pennines and all the gorgeous scenery including the old mill town of Darwen.  It is perfect on those lovely, crisp, cold winter days when the sun is shining.

On November 11 2010, the actual tower dome came off in strong winds and the replacement dome was lifted and placed by helicopter during January in 2012!

Heading down off the hill, we went to visit Vaughn and the staff in the Country Café in Tockholes for egg, chips and a pot of tea (a must!) before heading back down into the woods and along the other side of the reservoirs and back to Abbey Village.

Darwen Hill is 1220 feet (372m) above sea level – so there is not much ascent.  There are some steep bits, but nothing too strenuous.  A massive bonus for me, was seeing all the friendly Darreners out for a walk and having a chat.  How lucky to have such a wonderful place right in their back yard!

‘All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.’ Friedrich Nietzsche

Also nearby – Pendle Hill, Rivington Pike, Peel Tower

Visiting Darwen Town – Make sure you pop into Erin’s Gift Shop – Bridge Street – Darwen

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