This is a reasonably tough walk to Peel Tower (aka Peel Monument) and over Holcombe Moor. It starts and finishes in Ramsbottom and takes in the villages of Holcombe and Stubbins. The route involves walking on, uneven paths, tricky terrain, and climbing over stiles. It’s not a Himalayan trek though and anybody with reasonably good mobility should be able to complete it (my 9 year old daughter managed it).
If you just want an easy walk to Peel Tower, drive to the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Holcombe village (postcode BL8 4LZ) and park on one of the nearby roads (Cross Lane, Lumb Carr Road, or Chapel Lane). Peel Tower is signposted from here and there will usually be plenty of others walking there.
We started our more extensive walk at Ramsbottom Train Station, one of the stations on the East Lancashire Railway. Exiting the station we turned left onto Railway Street, passing the station car park on the left and Aldi on the right.
At the end of Railway Street, we took the path to the left signposted for Nuttall Park. When the path ended we took the footpath on the right. This bought us out onto Bolton Street. Here we turned left, walked for 50 yards, and then crossed the road and walked up Dundee Lane. From here we had a good view of Emmanuel Church up on the hill.
Just after Dundee Lane turned to the right, we made a left onto a steep path through woodland. After a few hundred yards, we climbed some steps into the graveyard of Emmanuel Church. Walking through the church grounds took us onto Chapel Lane in Holcombe village.
The Shoulder of Mutton pub is here. We gave it a miss this time, and walked up Cross Lane and then onto Moorbottom Road. From here we followed the signs for Peel Tower. The path to the monument and Holcombe Hill was fairly steep but we were rewarded with great views of the Lancashire countryside and Manchester.
We spent ten minutes at the tower, taking a well-deserved rest and admiring the views of the Irwell Valley and Scout Moor Wind Farm. We then headed north across Holcombe Moor. After about two miles we climbed over a stile and into Buckden Wood, part of the Stubbins Estate given to the National Trust by Colonel Austin Townsend Porritt. After a third of a mile we had to slip through a gap in a wall, cross Helmshore Road, and climb over another stile to enter the woods again.
Leaving the woods, we came out onto Strongstry Road. We passed under the railway bridge, and took a footpath at the side of a private house. Running alongside the River Irwell, the path eventually led us into Stubbins village.
On Bolton Road, a steel footbridge at the side of Stubbins Bridge took us over the River Irwell. We crossed the road and walked past some industrial buildings until we reached some farm buildings. Here we took the public footpath south.
After half a mile we came to a large industrial estate. The path leading around the back of the estate brought us onto Kenyon Street. At the end we turned right onto Bridge Street.
We stopped for a while at Bridge Street Gardens. The River, one of the sculptures on the Irwell Valley Sculpture Trail is here. The 88 metre stainless steel path meanders through the riverside park and is inscribed with poems. It ends with 34 wooden posts made from railway sleepers.
Crossing the road, took us back to Railway Street and Ramsbottom Train Station.