Hans Christian Andersen
It’s eerily quiet, the only sound being the occasional bird chatter, leaves rustling in the breeze and twigs crunching under your feet. It’s moments like this when you can get fully lost in your own thoughts and take some much needed ‘me’ time.
When I was at university I used to explore so many different places. I’d always be heading out with my camera to see what I could find. I miss that. I mean, I now have a car and I’ve gone to far less new places than I did when I had to rely on my legs, bike or train! Last month I decided to make the effort to go out for more walks. And that I did!
Rivington Pike (or Winter Hill) is pretty close to me and only a half an hour drive away. In fact I can see the signal mast from my house – especially so when it’s night time and the bright red lights are turned on! This is a pretty popular walk for people of all ages and interests: families, dog walkers; cyclists, runners, hikers, ramblers and more. It’s super pretty and has plenty of things to discover and find on the way up, depending on which route you take!
Japanese Gardens & Old Buildings
The best thing about this area is all the random little bridges, buildings and walls. The gardens were designed by Thomas Mawson between 1905-1922. It included the wooded area with a network of footpaths and terraces with a man-made ravine, various bridges and the Japanese garden and lake. (Which you can see a little of above!)
A lot of the old buildings now are very much decayed and broken, replaced by woodland and overgrown greenery but you can see the history there nevertheless. The lake is beautiful, and has a couple of mini waterfalls too. You can see a bit of it in the photo above. The perfect place for a relaxing rest before/after the climb to the top!
These are my absolute favourite kinds of things to explore. I love finding random paths and bridges and buildings hidden in the trees. It just feels like you’re finding another world because it’s completely different to usual city life.
Reaching The Pike
Once you’ve passed all that wilderness, you’re met with the amazing views. On a good weather day (admittedly few and far in between) you can see for miles as soon as you’ve gotten out into the open space. You can even see the Isle of Man on a really good day at around 93 miles away if you know what you’re looking for. Yeah, I didn’t. Not great with that kind of thing.
Easier things to spot include the Macron Stadium – Reebok for those of us still not used to the ‘new’ name – and the Blackpool Tower in the far distance. Spotting the Blackpool Tower all the way from here feels quite impressive actually.
What I haven’t mentioned so far is that when you do spot the pike you also spot a horrible looking set of stairs, and boy are they tiring on the legs after all the hill walking you’ve already done! When I was there last with my boyfriend, we were just sat at the top enjoying the view whilst two runners had a little competition in the form of hill repeats. Crazy, crazy people. Not gonna lie though, I was pretty chuffed for the girl who kept beating the guy she was with!
Doing things like this just really reminds me how comfortable I feel being outside, and how much I need to be active in my daily life.