Rivington and Winter Hill walks are worthwhile at any time of year, with the changing seasons bringing a different atmosphere to this popular destination on the outskirts of Bolton.
There’s something truly magical about Winter Hill but also something slightly sinister too.
It feels to me like the spiritual antenna for the whole North West – a beautiful earthen mass topped by the broadcast transmitter that stands at the heart of “Granadaland”.
But feelings of euphoria at its stunning vantage point are tempered by the icy blast of isolation on the plateaued top. There’s a feeling that people have -and could – die up here, and nobody might ever know.
Rivington and Winter Hill walks gallery
If there is a soundtrack to this beautiful, bold and at times forbidding place, then Manchester band Doves’ Winter Hill is an apt celebration. I can’t even be certain that they mean this Winter Hill but the words fit perfectly nevertheless.
Rivington and Winter Hill walks: where to begin
Rivington Barn is a popular starting place for a Rivington and Winter Hill walk but it can be difficult to park. The walk to the top takes you through the Japanese Gardens and isn’t too difficult under foot, with a mix of dirt paths and stone stairs.
Rivington Hall Barn itself has always been a popular destination, particularly among motorcyclists, who congregate outside on a Sunday drinking tea and showing off their machines.
The barn is really pretty inside these days and serves hot snacks and drinks – just what you need after a walk!
Things to look out for
From the top, you can look out across the North West.
stand by the little house (main picture) and you can look across to the coast and Blackpool. On a clear day you should see the tower.
From the highest point, alongside the castle-like folly, you can see across to Bolton Wanderers’ ground and further to Manchester city centre.
Getting there: Rivington Hall Barn, Rivington, Bolton, BL6 7SB
Those feeling a little more adventurous can tackle the ascent from the Belmont side.