Start: Ramsbottom, ‘The Rake’
Direction: Peel Tower, Buckden Woods, Stubbins
Time: (Including picnic) 3.5 hrs
Distance: Approx 5 miles
Calves burn up the rake, a tree-lined tunnel sheltering
the Lancashire drizzle hovering over the old rectory.
Stitched together cottages rise on the horizon,
chicken eggs, half-a-dozen for five-dozen pence.
Up right on the cobbles, across Helmshore Road,
follow a veteran alongside the old school bells.
A Mancunian vista with a reversed head,
horses and a cattle-grid give passage to Moor.
Straight down, up and over, past suspicious eyes,
horses, foals, people, and udders, stay true to the gate.
Metal shut farmstead, office chair irony,
stay true to the gate once more.
Terriers and an old jack appear on the style,
stream burrows under as we give them a smile.
Behind a dry branch tent, we set up camp,
a vegan treat bulges stomachs, with an avocado grin.
Down over branched ribs, the stream gathers pace,
muled on a narrow ledge with precious cargo.
Meet the road and over again, to a woodland idyll,
stay true on the path, remember the escaped frog.
Down and round with the bubbling current,
tart berries on the tongue, garlic in the air,
leave Trust at the gate, stay left and follow,
the canyon winds down to a cliff-edge streamer.
Defender of farmhouse hot tubs and twisted swings,
bikers retread our steps, marching on through the mill,
the tentering castle nestles beneath lavender hills,
cat or bird remembers locomotives leaving.