Tag Archives: rawtenstall

Searching for Panopticons in East Lancashire.

Despite being a Lancashire lass born and bred, the East Lancashire Panopticons have totally passed me by. Until very recently that is, when Richard’s post  ‘ Its Grim Up North’ ( honestly it’s not that bad ! šŸ˜‰ ) , brought Burnley’s iconic Singing Ringing Tree to my attention. Ever since I have been very keen to visit this amazing structure and its fellow Panopticons. Panopticons. Panopticons. I love that word! šŸ™‚

On the Mid Pennine Arts  Website  I found this description of a  Panopticon.

Panopticon  ( noun) Structure, Space or Device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.

East Lancashire is home to 4 such sculptures and on Saturday Wil, Hugo and I managed to hunt down two of them. Thankfully it wasn’t a bad day weather wise ( unlike Richard’s experience) and my home county was bathed in sunshine. šŸ™‚

First we drove to the town of  Rawtenstall in Rossendale and parked at The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery  on Haslingden rd. The museum is set in a pretty park and car parking is free. There is a cafe and a bar in The Whitaker and a children’s playground in the park. Therefore  it is  a great place to start and finish a walk up to The Halo Panopticon on Top O Slate , in the hills above Haslingden.

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We followed a footpath from Haslingden Old Road up Cribden Hill.
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And found ourselves on ‘The Shoe Trail’ that celebrates Rossendales Shoe Industry.
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Saw some friendly sheep.

 

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And these guys had been rolling in the mud. šŸ™‚
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The Halo !

It didn’t take to long to find  The Halo an 18 metre diameter  steel structure , supported on a tripod. It definitely resembles a Flying Saucer don’t you think ??

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Hugo and  The Halo.
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Yes Hugo it’s a Panopticon..

In daylight this Panopticon is the perfect vantage point for admiring the panoramic views over  Rossendale.  But it is when darkness falls that The Halo really stands out. The structure lights up at night and it’s blue glow gives the impression that it’s hovering over the valley. Maybe it does get mistaken for a UFO. šŸ™‚  Check out haslingdenhalo.co.uk  for more images.

After our spaceship discovery we walked into Rawtenstall , had a nosy around the shops and enjoyed some refreshments at  Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar &  Emporium.  Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar on Bank Street has been serving Lancashire folks alcohol free tipples since 1890.  In fact it is England’s only remaining original temperance bar !  Having recently been refurbished, Fitzpatricks now sells delicious cakes, icecreams, floats, coffee & tea , as well as  its famed vintage  cordials.

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Fitzpatricks.

We sat outside with a couple of hot cordials. Wil had a Blood Tonic and Orange and I had a Lemon & Ginger cordial. Of course we had to sample some cakes as well. šŸ™‚

These  lovely  Temperance Bar goodies set us up for our next Panopticon.  The Singing Ringing Tree  is situated about 15 minutes drive from Rawtenstall at Crown Point above the town of Burnley. Taking the form of a tree bending in the wind, this unusual musical sculpture is made from  galvanised metal tubes.  The wind whistleing through them creates a humming sound, as though the tree is singing. šŸ™‚

The Singing Ringing Tree.
Play those pipes. šŸ™‚

We were treated to a harmonious wailing up there in the Pennine landcape,which I find hard to describe. Think a cross between angels singing in old black & white movies…and a pack of howling dogs. Hugo was most intrigued..

Hugo being serenaded.

With far reaching views over the urban sprawl of Burnley and to the hills beyond ,this Panopticon  gives the town dwellers and visitors a new appreciation of the surrounding countryside……as well as its own personal backing track. šŸ™‚

So thats two East Lancashire  Panopticons bagged and two more to go, the others being  Colourfields in Blackburn  and  The Atom in Wycollar Country Park. My Panopticon Quest continues….. šŸ™‚

Have you visited any ? 

Which is your favourite Panopticon? 

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All Aboard for a Rail Ale Trail Tour.

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Saturday dawned, sunny but chilly.Just the ticket for a day of exploration along theĀ East Lancs Railway. šŸ™‚ Ā My Birthday Present for the O H this year was aĀ Rail Ale Trail TourĀ which started at ‘Bury Bolton Street Station’, stopping off at the Lancashire towns of Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall. Happily Wils brother very kindly gave us a lift to Bury, where we immediately made ourselves at home inĀ theĀ station’sĀ The Track sideĀ bar on Platform two.. After a quick coffee we got straight onto the Ale ( or in my case,cider) and Wil bought a hunk of homemade Pork Pie. ‘The Track side’ has up to ten real ales as well as award winning ciders and perries.

By 11-30am our Tour Guide Suzanne had rounded us up and with childlike excitement ( on my part, anyway! ) we boarded the train. There’s something quite thrilling about taking a journey on an old fashioned steam engine. I felt like I was channeling my inner Railway Children. šŸ™‚

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Our Train Arrives. šŸ™‚

Whilst on the train there was time to buy bottled beers and our guide regaled us with a few titbits of information about the countryside we were chugging through. The track is twelve miles Ā of Heritage Railway , it’s upkeep is solely done by hard working volunteers. It spans some of the Ā Irwell Valley’s Ā picturesque Pennine scenery. First stop was the vibrant market town of Ramsbottom. Lunch is provided on the tour and after trackside photo opportunities we piled intoĀ Owens Restaurant & BarĀ  for Fish and Chips. This comfy Ā modern restaurant has two ales on tap. It’s also dog friendly, as is the Rail Ale Trail Tour. šŸ™‚ If we had realised beforehand we might have brought Hugo.Not sure he would have been well behaved enough though!

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Lunch at Owens.

After lunch Suzanne took us to a fab little micropub calledĀ The Ramsbottom TapĀ on Bolton StreetĀ and bought everyone a quick half. The Tap is a bright and cozy space with retro prints adorning the walls and a good selection of ales and ciders.

Ramsbottom seemed to have a varied selection of interesting independent shops, tearooms and pubs so I think it would be somewhere we would return to in the future.The townĀ even has it’s own brewery. Our next stop was indeed theĀ Irwell Works BreweryĀ which is situated back down the hill from the ‘Ramsbottom Tap’, in a former Steam,tin,copper & Iron works. The bottom half of the building houses the brewery which makes several Ā beers including ‘Copper Plate’ bitter,’ Iron Plate’ Lancashire Stout Ā andĀ the brilliantly namedĀ ‘Marshmallow Unicorn’ Milk stout. These are served upstairs in Ā theĀ Brewery TapĀ along with most other tipples you can think of. šŸ™‚

 

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Irwell Works Brewery and Rail Trail regulars below ; Bliss and Misca. šŸ™‚

Mid afternoon , and we were back on the steam train and meandering our way to the town of Rawtenstall. Rawtenstall is actually famously the home of England’s oldest original Ā Temperance BarĀ Fitzpatricks,Ā which I would have loved to visit. I am a big fan of their Rose Hip and Rhubarb Cordial! Ā However we decided to remain in the vicinity of the station and enjoy a couple of drinks there.Ā Buffer StopsĀ offers five ales and one cider as well as locally made pies, outdoor seating and a traditional style waiting room area. There were plenty more photo opportunities of our mode of transport for the day too….

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The great thing about the East Lancs Rail Ale Trail Tour is that your not strictly confined to sticking with it all day.As Rawtenstall is a little nearer home than Bury, we decided to remain here a while instead of joining the others back to Bolton Street Station.Wil’s brother very kindly picked us drunkards up at five and took us back to Clitheroe. We definitely owe him one! Ā If you are interested in doing one of the many types of tours along this beautiful stretch of railway check out the Ā East Lancs Railway WebsiteĀ for more information. Ā The tour we took cost Ā£35.50 each and included lunch, a bit of beer sampling and a professional Blue Badge Tour Guide. It is also possible to ride the train and explore the area yourself without doing an official tour. We will be back!