Wednesday 6th October 2021
Helmshore, Haslingden, BB4 4AU
Today I met up with my auntie to go for a walk. I left Manchester, and headed up to Lancashire, meeting her in Rawtenstall (where I used to go to school) and she drove us to Helmshore. It’s one of those towns that I knew was nearby growing up, but I’m not very familiar with. We were blessed with good weather for most of the day, which was especially lucky considering the autumn rains have set in. We went on a short, circular walk around Troy quarry with some inclines and declines, which ended up totalling to 4.62km, nearly 3 miles.
It didn’t take us too long to get to the quarry from the car park, but when we did we were met with breath taking views, and a fence. In the middle was a body of water that I believe is a reservoir and behind was a beautiful hilly backdrop. Despite its practical use, the quarry did remind me of a lake settled within alpine mountains.
We rounded the pit and arrived at a large pond, where we took a break and watched a climbing group scramble up and down a cliff face. Then we continued and eventually walked through a charming field that was home to a stream and horses. I presume it belonged to a farmer because it looked very well maintained. Then we headed up the hillside to find the views of Ogden reservoir were worth taking a seat for. On the way back down, we found an animal pen with chickens, goats and what I think was an emu! The nearest farm was J&R Holt, so I imagine it belonged to them.
I recorded our route on OS maps as Troy quarry. It said it took us 1hr 17 mins, we did sit and talk on a few occasions so I’m not sure if that counts for time or not because it felt like we were out there for a while!
Troy quarry was opened in 1844, and during its period the stone was used to build Ogden reservoir. Apparently it fell out of use in the 1950s, but we did see some activity on the day. Maybe United Utilities knows something about that seeing as they own the land now!
I didn’t find out much more about the history of the quarry, but there used to be a settlement in the area called Grane Village, which is now abandoned. Amongst other work such as milling and farming, it’s likely that some residents were employed at the Troy site. The population began to decline with the construction of the Ogden reservoir. Land was bought up for the project so the people dispersed to other areas of Haslingden. This appears to have happened between 1900-1912.
Fifty years earlier, Grane ran its own illegal whisky distilling industry. Even though the village doesn’t exist anymore, it certainly had some very colourful stories!
Links to the history of the area are included at the bottom.