Thursday, May 30, 2019

A view from Downham

By Hon R.C. Assheton, chair of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership

After the years of planning, discussion, form filling (and occasional disappointments), it is fantastic that the PHLP has got off to such a flying start in its first year. I will not attempt to go through all the projects that have gone on, as Cathy and her team have produced regular reports for the HLF and you can access them at here if you want more detail. I will just touch on a few things that have enthused me.

Pendle Hill itself was always going to be a prime focus for works, with the benefits and projects rippling out from there. Therefore the improvements to the “Cart Track” route to the summit, the ancillary works to the paths leading up to the Trig point and the peat restoration have been an impressive start and an emphatic demonstration that something is happening at last.

Having, for years, been one of those who looks at Pendle every day, but hardly ever climbs it, I seem to have been up at least once each month for the last year. Not being a great fan of steps, I think that the repaired Cart Track is a great improvement. 

You can stride (or tiptoe) as you please, with plenty of room to walk as a pair and pass others easily

The new stone shelter in the wall near the summit is a blessing to the unfit such as me!
The drainage bars work well (I have been up in storms to check), so there is no longer a river on the path to contend with on rainy days. The restored peat is already looking natural once more and will only improve with another year’s growth.

Drainage bar on the cart track

Being a tree enthusiast, I am very happy that the WINNS project has been able to plant so many trees in new woods around the flanks of the hill. Although it is a sometimes depressing time to be a tree grower as diseases seem to try to kill every species, it is a joy to see so many varied native trees being planted for future generations to enjoy.

The 'Big Tree Plant' 2018, at Swardean Clough

I was fascinated to visit the “Malkin Tower” archaeological dig last summer. The fact that it was possible to find traces of habitation from four hundred years ago seems incredible, as was the fact that students from the USA wanted to come to sunny Lancashire to spend their vacation.

The PHLP Board members visit Malkin Tower, Summer 2018

A chance conversation I had two years ago with the CEO of The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT) has led to the appointment of Alison Cross as an ECT funded Education Officer for the PHLP. Though this was not in the original plans presented to the HLF, the fact that the ECT wanted to join the partnership has been a wonderful boost and has added a huge amount to the value of a number of the projects in the Scheme.

All in all the first year has been a great success. Well done team!