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   to Nob End and the Irwell    

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Typical views of Crompton's Lodges looking towards Moss Hall. This was the site of Crompton’s paper works (no relation to Samuel Crompton) on Hall Lane below Moses Gate which took all its water from the Croal (containing the Tonge).

Looking upstream from Hall Lane back towards Hacken Lane Raikes and Burnden. The gypsy caravan site is on the left. Off the picture to the right is the footpath through the woods to Hacken Lane.

Looking upstream from Hall Lane back towards Hacken Lane Raikes and Burnden. The gypsy caravan site is on the left. Off the picture to the right is the footpath through the woods to Hacken Lane.

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Close to Moss Hall is a weir which would have kept the river at a suitable depth for use by the paper mills. It now has a metering station to keep a record of the flow. These pictures in January 2014 were taken after a substantial amount of rain over some weeks.

Our route continues along the river and over thebridge         The river is behind us, this path going off to the left leads up to the                      

                                                                                               Bolton Bury canal.

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We continue downstream, a pleasant riverside walk.

The little waterfall on our left comes from an overflow of the canal about 20feet above us.

The path climbs up away from the river while the river passes over another weir and drops away quite quickly.


We suddenly reach an open area, looking towards Prestolee with Nob End to the left.


At Nob End a considerable amount of work has been done to clean up the devastation after the demolition of various industries. Careful work had to be done to make safe a chemical dump and the soil in that area apparently still has certain characteristics which has made it a suitable home for varieties of orchid not otherwise found locally. Is this the area contaminated with chemical waste allowing exotic plants to grow? No orchids to be seen in the third week of January.

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The end of our safari. The Irwell flows from bottom left to top left. The Croal joins it at the corner flowing from bottom right.

Nob End is the end of the Croal’s journey, for here it meets the Irwell flowing south from the industrial east of Lancashire and the combined waters take on the name Irwell - Irk Wella, angry river.

The Irwell flows through Salford then at one time across the south Lancashire plain to meet the Mersey somewhere in the area of Carrington.


However beginning in 1724, long before the Manchester Ship Canal, the Irwell was deepened and straightened to become the Mersey and Irwell Navigation System which provided a means of bringing moderately sized ships all the way across land from the Mersey near Widnes almost to the centre of Manchester. This waterway fell into disuse partly because of the construction of the Liverpool Manchester railway in 1830. However port fees at Liverpool and carriage charges on the railway increased to such an extent that merchants found it cheaper to import goods via Hull and in a bid to improve trading conditions in Manchester the Manchester Ship Canal was built. It used parts of the original Irwell Navigation System at both ends but follows a more southerly route for much of its length.


In the present day the Irwell disappears ignominiously into Salford docks and its waters feed the Ship Canal. Even the Mersey becomes one with the Ship Canal near Irlam though it escapes again just east of Warrington and makes its own way down to the sea at Liverpool.


So water from Winter Hill and Rivington Pike collects in Red Moss and flows out from there past the Reebock Stadium, as the Middlebrook goes through Lostock and accompanies the railway through Heaton and Deane almost to the centre of Bolton. Its waters once provided power by wheel and steam as it makes its cobbled way through the town centre and curves round the Parish Church. At Church Wharf it supplied water for the canal which ran parallel with it through Burnden and Raikes to Nob End. As the Irwell, it continues through Clifton and Agecroft into Salford where it becomes part of the Manchester Ship Canal eventually emptying into the Mersey estuary and Liverpool Bay where this water finds its freedom at last to reach the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

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