It’s a pretty busy time of year for any student and i’m no exception to the rule. 2 assignments, my work placement i needed to do before i could even write one of them and revision for my first exam since my A Levels (4 years ago) is upon me. However, I’ve still managed to find a bit of time to play outside!
For two weeks over the school easter Holidays, I had my uni volunteering placement over in Rochdale, volunteering for a programme called Sunsport that runs sport and activity workshops for young people both with and without disabilities. Rochdale is a good 45 mins to an hour away from Chorley, depending on traffic. So I found myself resorting to Google maps for traffic beating routes away from the M60, as I don’t sit in traffic, i dodge it. On one of my scenic diversions I found myself passing a sign for a cafe that had a good feeling to it (I have a nose for good cafes situated in outdoorsy areas) and a sign for a car park and information centre named “Clough Head.” I noted it in the back of my brain for a possible trike access investigation adventure, and it turned out that the Sunday after was a fresh spring day, perfect for a wander around in search of a new place for a push in the trike.
My Mum and I are originally from Cheshire, so we literally find out about the history and geography of the area through getting out and exploring with no tales or knowledge absorbed from our past. From what i’ve found, Clough Head is situated about 4 miles to the West of Haslingden in the Borough of Rossendale, Lancashire. It’s situated smack bang in the middle of the Forest of Rossendale and the West Pennine Moors. I always find this area of the world ruggedly beautiful yet steeped in industrial history whilst at the same time moving forward with its numerous amount of reservoirs keeping the north west watered.
We arrived at Clough Head cafe and saw many walkers appearing and disappearing up steep hills and steps. Not feeling too confident we had a trike friendly route on our hands, we got out of the car and went to the cafe/information centre. (which turns out to be a lovely little cafe with leaflets, a notice board and a knowledgable lady working there.) After a few minutes of staring blankly at a notice board and talking quietly between ourselves, a man sat reading his paper and lady behind the counter asked us if we needed a hand finding somewhere to go. I told them about my trike and they recommended Calf Hey reservoir as a good circuit as it’s style free and not overly steep. I know that’s the best way of finding out about local areas, but sometimes i feel daft and worry people will be thinking why on earth a young woman in a green wheelchair is asking questions like that, as you don’t see many of us roaming about on rugged terrain. So, with confidence back on our side, we jumped back in the car, turned left at the junction and took the first right and followed an old single track road to a car park that had one disabled space and luckily, it was free!
At first glance, the kissing gate you can see to the right looks locked, but it’s not. We then followed a pretty steep hill that involved some skilled braking and came to a path crossing. Straight down was another gate that a trike would easily get through and to the right was a steady hill that we assumed went around the reservoir as we had been told it was a circuit walk. We decided to go up the hill and the take in the view, leaving the family enjoying a BBQ behind us. As we walked/triked up the hill the view got pretty impressive and through the
trees you could see Ogden Reservoir and the nearby town of Haslingden in the distance. It was satisfying to feel we’d climbed really high rather quickly and we spent a few moments enjoying the view.