Jubilee tower also marks victory for local people
PUBLICITY is vital to establish your version of the truth. Some people know that – as we found out on a recent walk by Stockport Ramblers led by Ross Mackie.
It started from Sunnyhurst car park in Darwen. A large number of walkers set out through Sunnyhurst Wood heading towards Abbey Village in overcast but, thankfully, dry conditions which lasted all day.
We passed the picturesque Roddlesworth Reservoirs with more pretty woods before making our way for lunch to Hollinshead Hall, a ruined manor house dating back to the 13th century.
The manor had many owners from a number of prominent families including at one point King Charles 1st but the present extensive ruins are merely of a replacement structure dating from the 18th century.
The walk then crossed over Darwen Moor with its typical South Lancashire moorland scenery eventually coming in sight of the well-known Jubilee Tower situated on Darwen Hill overlooking the town below.
The tower is widely known to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and was completed in 1898 but it had a second less-acknowledged purpose, namely, to mark a victory for local people for the right of free access to the moors.
The landowner had blocked the right of way over his land and a struggle ensued with his gamekeepers and local people, which ended up in court before the freedom to walk on the moors was established.
You may think you recognise the story – it is virtually identical to that of the Hayfield mass trespass which occurred some 40 years later – but the leader of that escapade is now largely regarded as the person who established the right to freedom of access.
He obviously realised publicity was vital to establish his version of the truth and played it up for all he was worth.
Stockport Ramblers cross Darwen Moor
Stockport Ramblers explore the area around Darwen’ss Jubilee Tower situated on Darwen Hill
A stream running through woods near Roddlesworth Reservoir