Friday, 10 May 2013

#28 Cowpe Moss and Rooley Moor

#28 Cowpe Moss and Rooley Moor

Distance - 9.07 miles
Ascent - 534 metres

Whilst up north for a few days I decided to take the dog for a wander on the moors above Rochdale.  Heading up the old pack horse trail of Rooley moor Road you soon leave the suburbs behind.  While at the same time you never quite leave behind the modern world with the Scout Moor wind farm in prominence and occasional views all the way across Manchester (I say occasional, as it depends on the rain clouds!).
Scout Moor

Rooley Moor road is a cobbled/packhorse track that was rebuilt in the 1800’s.  Not sure why these trails go straight up and over the moors whilst all other roads take to the valleys.   However they do give quick firm access to the moors (some people abuse this by fly tipping…) and now form part of the Mary Townley loop and Pennine bridleway.  The cobbles will give a quick descent on a bike but I’m guessing the bone shaking cobbles will remain in the memory of many!

Scout Moor and the prominent Knowl Hill are pretty well known to me as I could see them from my old bedroom window.  The wind farm  came much later and as all wind farms was mired in controversy.  I seem to be quite unusual in that I’m quite ambivalent to their construction.  I don’t think they should be built everywhere and anywhere, but at the same time the moors such as Scout moor are already scarred by 100’s of years of industry.  Spoil heaps, quarries, reservoirs, pylons, etc.
Rooley Moor Road
The road gets progressively rougher as you gain height, with views into the Whitworth Valley (Whitworth is ancient celtic for ‘Always pissing it down’) and soon after views into the Rossendale valley and beyond.   Skirting round the ‘Top of leach’ the path traces round the edge of Cowpe Moss entering into the old Cragg Quarry which parts of are now mountain biking courses.  This part of the walk probably feels the most remote as the quarry restricts any views, along with the lack of other walkers.
Foe Edge
The route leaves the bridleway behind heading up Foe Edge between Scout Moor and Cowpe Moss.  The track here is a lot wetter and narrow than the well maintained bridleway and shows a few signs of trail bike damage.   Waugh’s well is a memorial to the Poet Edwin Waugh and stands out in such a remote location.  The path carries on up the valley and is pretty boggy in places.
Waugh's Well
This footpath breaks out onto a windfarm service track and heads across the flatish boggy moors.  This track joins together a number of the huge turbines and their size becomes apparent as you walk beneath the whooshing blades.  A short section of open moor gives away to Ding Quarry, long since used but often talked about for reopening.  Again this is another local controversy in the making.
The track to Ding quarry joins onto Rooley Moor Road and about a mile to mile and a half of downhill brought me back to my start.  I have to confess that the cobbles which allowed easy and quick access up here now began to feel hard and unforgiving!  It was a bit of a pounding but at least it was downhill!

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