Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Oswaldtwistle Moor

I tried to photo some of yesterdays Diamonds http://teddytourteas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/no-diamonds-in-mine.html in the sunshine this morning but they came out even worsethan last night.

I had this E-mail last Saturday :-
Hi Danny,
 Only opened your Email just now. I am sorry that you missed out on the day (report below) From now on I shall keep you informed of forthcoming events, again, sorry Danny.
Best regards john

Conditions: Warm 17C, dry conditions underfoot, distant views obscured by heat haze.
START: Oswaldtwistle Mills multiple retail outlet.
Almost hidden away in this multiple retail complex is a superb local heritage centre displaying the history of Oswaldtwistle since prehistoric times. The centre was established by the local people of the town and supported by the complex owner. The section we came to view was the early pre-history illustrated ‘time line’, the sole work of local antiquarian Mr.Alan Ormerod.
Here the early archaeology of Oswaldtwistle is laid out in great detail through the medium of maps, illustrations and artefacts. Among the artefacts are three Langdale stone axes found on the Moor along with samples of birch and oak found below the blanket peat covering of the Moor. Two stone circles are recorded along with numerous possible burial mounds with locations, illustrations and diagrams. Our interest was in Thirteen Stone Hill circle, Dry Hill tumulus and the birch and oak forest below the blanket peat, the latter being slowly exposed due to erosion and slippage.
Next, up to the moor with parking available in a small lay-by on the A677 below Elm Tree Farm (SD762 251).
The farm track soon becomes a holloway/old turbury road leading over a saddle between the Moor and Thirteen Stone Hill to Haslingden Grain. Before gaining the saddle we struck off to the SW following the mediaeval boundary ditch between Oswaldtwistle and Haslingden. A mile ahead the distinct form of Dry Hill comes into view:
Until the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000,  Oswaldtwistle Moor was private land with no public access other than two paths that crossed the moor N/S at either end. Today it is available for access on foot.
Oswaldtwistle Moor stands at c.340M  and is covered by a blanket peat bog some 3-4M in depth. During the 18th & 19th century’s drainage of the moor was undertaken to improve the land for sheep grazing but proved unsuccessful leaving the peat blanket formation virtually intact. Below the blanket peat lies a Neolithic/Bronze Age landscape from a time of the first forest clearances on the uplands of the Pennines that later, as the climate became cooler and wetter, led to a gradual leaching of soil nutrients, sphagnum moss and cotton grass colonized the uplands resulting in the blanket of peat bog which is so widespread today.
At the time of writing this unique landscape is about to rapidly change in a most dramatic way. For political none-economic reasons an industrial scale wind generating plant (the word ‘farm’ is inappropriate, a political whim or fancy, sounds nice and ‘environmental’, ‘green and clean’ like ‘Windowleen’) is under construction on the moor: Huge ‘Transformer’ type excavation machines are removing the peat and sub-soil covering down to the bedrock, platforms are being erected, cable conduits laid and access roads to each generating station being laid out. The result of this industrialization of the landscape will in a few years time leave the moor a denuded ‘moonscape’
So we take a last look at a landscape that over the next few weeks will be gone forever.
Dry Hill (SD 748 243 is a grassy dome rising above the peat blanket to a height above 6M. Close inspection reveals it to be of stone construction built on the sub-soil below the peat. Without a doubt the tumulus is man-made and has been ascribed to the Bronze Age period . If this is indeed a burial mound it must be the largest one ever recorded in Lancashire and must be seen as an important structure for the time. The summit of the mound commands extensive views over Blackburn and Hyndburn – the final resting place of some important person or family. Dry Hill was erected as a landscape statement and commands attention.
Taking a last look at this soon to be lost landscape we turned south and made our way over to the higher watershed reaches of Deep Clough. Rapid erosion of the peat blanket here (SD 750 239), sub-soil section seen to be about 2ft. in depth, and silver birch trees everywhere! Trees that last saw the light of day some 3500 years ago, an amazing sight. Within minutes we came upon the stump and root of a large oak tree as in a good a condition as the day it was felled, again some 3500 years ago! We intend to return this coming week to see if we can discern and record any axe marks from when it was felled.
On we went to summit of Thirteen Stone Hill where on the southern edge (SD 765242) we found thirteen stones. Yes, thirteen large stones, but to our eyes not a thirteen stone circle. GPS location of each stone then mapping is needed to determine the nature of this feature, be it natural or man-made. Nearby we noted the evidence of systematic peat cutting in the distant past – a peat-sled Holloway passes N to S just to the W of the 13 stones. Also noted near to the stones 3 small man-made ‘ponds’, circular with raised banks – purpose unknown.
All in all a great day out for all.
I parked south of the moor off the grain road at Clough Head Quarry (great cafe) and set off uphill 

 soon on the top with the moor to the horizon in each direction

passed a dried out puddle

see photo's 35 and 36 http://teddytourteas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/shedden-clough-hushings.html anyone know what they are ? Soon came to a hollow way with a glimps of diggers

Futher down the scale became apparent

 I had a scrape round looking for Flints and noticed a silver twinkling ufo ? over one of the spoil heap piles
then made my way over to the obvious mound at Dry Hill

butty and a brew later headed back South to find the Deep Clough head water

just about dried up - and some wildlife
followed it downstream

with a view of a constructed Windfarm with not a blade turning ! But with all this sunshine were under a High Pressure so NO WIND but Cold (down to freezing) nights when power is needed, guess the BACK UP GENERATORS KICKED IN !
down the hill and back onto the Rossendale way passing a ruin

and the quarry more flooded than the map shows

back to the car then J5 M65 to Colne for a pint in the Hole in the Wall
just thought I'd share - cheers all Danny


  1. Hi
    Thanks for getting in touch. It *is* depressing to read about more land being destroyed, especially so when there is so much going on beneath the foundations of the turbines.
    It looks a lovely spot of wild space which has now gone forever. Even when they take the turbines down the scars will be left from the access tracks, and the concrete bases will be there for eternity.
    All the best

  2. hi DaD looking at the mud as in its form it looks as if some kind of insect has made that pattern.... good finding on the quartz.. oh that shiney ufo ...i wonder what product they use to keep it so shiney... big hugs xxxxxxxxjustine

  3. Hi Danny, a really intresting article. Let me know when you are next out. I would love to come. I think you have my email. Tracy Reed