Rivington Pike via Smithills Moor

16th May 2020

With lockdown and travel measures eased the temptation to visit the Lakeland fells was one step closer but like many others I chose to follow Mountain Rescue Teams advice to stay local and remain off the high fells for now. Winter Hill is less than 10 miles from my home, it's an area of Lancashire I've looked fondly on during lockdown mainly because of Winter Hill's presence over my home town, whether I'm walking my dogs or nipping to the shop one way or another I'll always get a glimpse of Winter Hill.

I put a few hours research into the route making sure I didn't pass through any farms or property also taking into account that the car parks would still be closed meaning I may not get to park at all if I couldn't park roadside. As it turned out I managed to park opposite a row of cottages which left me feeling a tad uneasy should one of the owners question me whilst I was kitting up but to my surprise I actually got a 'morning' from a lady who owned the end cottage, it's funny how something so small could have eased my anxieties about being out today but that one gesture did just that.


Ascent: 683 Feet - 208 Metres
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Dry & Sunny, Breazy Where Exposed. Highs of 15°C Lows of 14°C
Parking: Layby, Colliers Row Road, Smithills Dean, Bolton
Area: West Pennine Moors
Miles: 6.4
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 287
Time Taken: 2 Hours 45 Minutes
Route: Colliers Row Road - Coal Pit Road - Smithills Moor - Winter Hill - Rotary Way - Two Lads - Wilders Moor - Burnt Edge - Colliers Row Road

Map and Photo Gallery


The Manchester skyline from Coal Pit Road,Smithills Dean 12.00pm 14°C
I left my car on Colliers Row Road and walked the half mile or so to the bottom of Coal Pit Road and was soon treated to long distant views over Bolton towards Manchester, as you can see it's a tad hazy but still striking where industry meets the countryside.

Coal Pit Road.
I've been keeping on top of my fitness ready for my return to the Lakeland fells by walking, jogging and biking during the lockdown which helps when faced with the smallest of inclines such as this one. Todays walk has a total ascent of just 683 ft most of which was gained as I walked up this road.

More long distant views over the Bolton suburbs towards Manchester.
The shiny square looking object over on the right is the Chill Factor who's exterior is made up of glass panelling which is why it looks like a giant reflector when the sun is out.

Burnt Edge from Coal Pit Road.
That's Burnt Edge seen beyond the plantation which I study carefully as I'll be returning that way later.

Gilliants Farm and Two Lads from Coal Pit Road.
The large cairn on Two Lads soon appears which left me able to link up the paths between Two Lads and Burnt Edge, studying maps is a great way to research a walk but there's now't like getting an eye on the lay of the land from a distance.

Winter Hill Transmitter Mast.
Time to leave Coal Pit Road behind and join the path over Smithills Moor.

I've missed this.
It was turning into a lovely afternoon and before I knew it everything that I missed about fell walking came flooding back from the sensation of being out in wide open spaces, the lapwings chorus and of course the sound of the wind as it blew through the wild grasses.

Winter Hill Transmitter Mast from Smithills Moor.
Winter Hill does actually have a trig point which is found near the smaller transmitters over towards the right.

Big skies over Smithills Moor.


Looking towards Winter Hill summit.
Which is situated just beyond the sixth transmitter if counting from left to right.

Winter Hill Transmitter mast.

Erected on 3rd May 1956 the Winter Hill Transmitter mast if 1,400ft high and 9ft wide.

Passing the Transmitter Station.
In order to reach Winter Hill summit a short walk past the Transmitter Station is required. Being the geek that I am you'd expect a high pitch humming noise or something but it was deadly silent, just me, the wind and the odd cyclist.

Winter Hill Transmitter Mast.
At night the mast is lit up with around half a dozen red marker lights but for the life of me I can't spot them, I'm glad I'm not the one who has to change the bulbs when they blow

Winter Hill Air Disaster Memorial.
On 27th February 1958 35 people lost their lives when a Bristol 170 Freighter flying from the Isle of Man to Manchester airport crashed close to the Transmitting Station, so severe was the weather that morning that all the engineers were completely un-aware at what had un-folded only a few hundred metres away. A Snow Cat vehicle on the nearby A6 had to be diverted to cut a path for the rescuers.

The George Henderson Memorial.

Native of Annan Dumfrieshire
Who Was Barbarously Murdered
On Rivington Moor
At Noonday November 9th
In the 20th Year of His

Winter Hill summit Trig Point.
Crested with the red rose of Lancashire.


The view over Belmont Reservoir towards Turfton Moor.
With the village of Belmont seen far right.

Spitlers Edge from Winter Hill.
With views as good as this despite being the presence of a cool wind I down pack and break for lunch.

A close up of Belmont from my lunch spot.

After lunch I returned to the Trig Point.
Then rejoined the Station access road.

Passing Winter Hill Station once more.
While surrounded by Cotton Grass.

Two Lads summit comes into view.
It had turned a tad nippy during my walk towards Two Lads so much so I almost thought about putting my gloves on to ease my biting fingers. Despite the chill the views were fantastic stretching as far as the Snowdonian foothills, Liverpool Docks, Blackpool Tower, Black Combe and the Coniston Fells.

Rivington Pike from Two Lads.
It's looking mighty busy over on Rivington Pike which was one of the reasons I didn't include it in todays walk which is a pity because it would have made a great little out and back.

Winter Hill from Two Lads.

Two Lads summit.
You can just make out the access road in the centre of the photo.

Adam Hill and Burnt Edge from Two Lads.
That's Burnt Edge seen in the distance and to reach it I'm making my way over to the centre of the tree which are actually shaped like an 'L' I'm aiming right for the elbow where I'll join the path along Burnt Edge.

That didn't take long.
Winter Hill starting to look a bit of a distance away now.

Burnt Edge.

Looking back on ground covered.
With Winter Hill seen right and a large cairn on Two Lads seen left, incidently that's Holdens Farm below.

Back on Colliers Row Road.

I have a mile or so of road walking to do until I reach my car which I do under a hot afternoon sun. The roads aren't too busy and I'm able to walk beside the kerb where I can reflect on the highs of my return to fell walking which most definitely had to be the yomp over Smithills Moor while being accompanied by a cool breeze, the wind blowing through the wild grasses and the sound of lapwings. It's been a sudden jump when on my last fell walk I was recording a -3 windchill and winds in excess of 50mph while today I'm mopping a gooey layer from my lips.

The feeling of missing the transition between Winter and Spring is real and one where the Lakeland fells enjoyed unbroken days of sunshine whilst we stayed in our homes in lockdown enjoying what we could under the circumstances, some of us lost loved ones and some stayed safe. I will be the first to say that lock-down wasn't easy, I too lost friends and family but as today demonstrated, the fells will always be there for us in our hour of need no matter the county.


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