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Lostock to Ladybridge

c15 d Lostock Mill Leslie Gent c15 f Lostock Mill, iaabp

Lostock Station and Rumworth Mills. The Middlebrook runs alongside the railway in front of the mill. The station, thought to have opened in 1852, was closed on 7 November 1966 but reopened again on 16 May 1988 (as Lostock Parkway reflecting its use as a commuter station with a reasonably large car park, extended and improved in 2009 - though it quickly reverted to Lostock) though only with platforms on the Preston line.

c14 P3020113 downstream from Mill Bridge

The Middlebrook continues its progress from the mill bridge with the railway to the left and the mill site, now a housing estate over the concrete fence to the right.


Over the next couple of miles its flow is supplemented by a number of small water courses draining from the higher land of Lostock and Heaton on the left.


c12 P3020110 Rumworth Mill Bridge c13 P3020112

The previous picture was taken from Rumworth Mill Bridge. Now we look back to it. This bridge would have been used by hundreds of workers walking to work along the river "tow path" or arriving by train.


Incidentally the name on the bridge confirms that the mills are actually called Rumworth Mill even though they are often known as Lostock Mills. This should not be confused with another Rumworth Mill in fron of the Sunnyside Mills on St Helens Road.

d6 P3020109 looking upstream to Lostock d7 P3020108 just east of Lostock, looking downstre d9 P3020107 weir, upstream towards Lostock

We walk 100 yards or so downstream then look back upstream with the housing estate which covers the mill site on the left. The station is just over the blue fence on the right. The white building is the Lostock Arms, now closed down (Summer 2013), sited next to the station and the road bridge.


We look downstream from the same place. This “tow path” will now take us all the way to Spa Road, though as we approach Bolton it will become clear that it is more associated with the railway than the Middlebrook.


A number of small weirs would have been intended to keep the water level near the mill sufficiently high for water to be drawn from the river.



Continuing downstream (eastward) we reach the very substantial structure of Heaton Bridge (Beaumont Road) built in 1924 to carry a new road over the railway and the Middlebrook.


Beaumont Road is part of the Bolton ring road which isn’t and perhaps was never intended to be a complete ring. For many years it was cobbled with a strip of tarmac along the centre. It was not well used and was traditionally the place where learner drivers came for their first lessons. Not so now.

d11 P3020105 Heaton Bridge looking downstream d12 P3020115  Heaton Bridge d12a P4080136 Beaumont Road, Heaton Bridge d12b P4080139 Heaton Bridge plaque

Beaumont Road, an uncharacteristically quiet moment caused by a                                             The name plaque on the bridge.

coincidence of red lights just behind the photographer and just out of

sight in the distance.

d12e P4080138 Heaton Bridge Th' underd foot d13 P3020116 Heaton Br, downstream d16 P3020102 Ladybridge looking downstream d17 P3020100 Des Res just east of Ladybridge

Immediately to the north of the bridge and the railway line was a quarry locally known as th’ underd foot, rather an exaggeration as its rocky walls were no more than twenty or so feet high. There was quite deep water in it and the local lads swam here and jumped into the water from the cliffs into the 1960s. It is now drained and filled in with just a hint of the cliff faces remaining. I am told (by Gene Watts) that there were pipes from here to the water supply troughs between the railway lines. Other people have talked of fishing here and often seeing a large pike.

The canalised Middlebrook continues its course east from Heaton Bridge. The footbridge on this picture leads to a path and steps taking you up on to Beaumont Road. The area on the right bank, including much of the land between Beaumont Road and Deane Clough is occupied by the Deane Golf Club to the south and Ladybridge Estate to the north. Ladybridge Lane crosses the golf course and comes out on the road which circumnavigates the housing estate.  

 Approaching Ladybridge  (C)WDC                                               Des Res just north of the Middlebrook at Ladybridge (C)WDC

d15 Q P6081214 - Copy d16 P3020102 Ladybridge z smaller

Ladybridge 8th June 2016 (C)WDC

after the bridge had been raised to allow electrification of the Bolton to Wigan and Preston line.

1940s view of Ladybridge from the bottom end of Deane Golf Club.

d16 Q P6081216 - Copy d21 P3020091on the Ladybridge d22 P3020091b on the Ladybridge

Ladybridge from the bottom end of Deane Golf Club 8th June 2016


A boundary stone at the centre of the bridge indicates that the Middlebrook at this point divides Heaton (north and to the left) from Rumworth (south and to the right). Rumworth was a local government township which included Deane and Daubhill but never had any real existence of its own.

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