Earlier in November, SI Rossendale members enjoyed a club walk through the recently restored railway tunnels from Waterfoot to Stacksteads.
The SI Rossendale club walk was an opportunity for club members to see the restored tunnels which form part of the ‘Valley of Stone’. It’s one of four routes which make up the East Lancashire Strategic Cycleway project. Observing all government guidelines regarding social distancing, we walked from Waterfoot to Stacksteads and back on what was a beautiful autumn day. The tunnels are just a stones throw away from the main A681 road and are very accessible and easy underfoot.
Alison Driver kindly provided some information about the history of the railway and tunnels. The first tunnel dates back to 1852 and the second was completed in 1881. At the time, the contruction of the tunnels was a major engineering project and the coupled entrances to both tunnels are now listed buildings. By 1932 there were thirty services travelling northbound to Bacup through Waterfoot every weekday and the line continued to be busy for some years. Unfortunately, the line was a victim of ‘Dr Beeching’s Axe’ and the final passenger train left Waterfoot on 3rd Dec 1966.
Imagine being able to catch a train from Waterfoot through to Victoria Station in Manchester in 2020? Perhaps Rossendale’s fortunes would have been very different if the railway had been retained?
It’s well known that social contact and spending time outdoors is important to our health and wellbeing especially now during lockdown. Our pleasant (and socially distanced) walk was appreciated by all who took part. The chance of a good walk and catch up should never be passed up so hopefully there will be more club walks in the future.
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