Rivington: The Terrace Gardens
This year sees the 100th anniversary of (limited) votes for women. A partial victory gained after a long campaign which as it progressed became more and more militant. In July 1913 Edith Rigby of Winckley Square Preston burnt down Lord Lever’s (Later Viscount Leverhulme) bungalow as an act of protest – no half measures there then though before committing this act of arson she ensured there was no one occupying the house.  It could be argued that she was a little unfair with her choice of target as “Soap King” William Lever was broadly sympathetic to the cause of universal suffrage. Lever rebuilt his pad but after his death the estate and its landscaped gardens fell into ruin. There have been various attempts to restore gardens over the years and recently Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £3.4million to Groundwork to revitalise this massively significant community asset. 

The walk described takes you through the terraces gardens to the site of Lord Leverhulme’s bungalow and onto Rivington Pike which is a very popular destination for the townspeople of Bolton at Easter.

Start. Rivington Hall Barn Rivington BL6 7SB



Distance: 3 miles 5k

Time: 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours

Grade: Easy - it must be because Eileen did it but there are strenuous climbs up steps so perhaps not so easy!

Map: OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


Directions. One of the things the first time visitor needs to keep in mind is that there are two barns at Rivington and since they are both built in a similar style and both could justify the appellation "Great" the confusion is compounded. The first barn to be encountered is on Rivington Lane. Almost directly across is the drive for the one you want which leads to Rivington Hall Barn. From the car park take a lane to the left of the barn


- which is a popular wedding venue -and continue past a house on the left to a gate leading into woods. Keep on the track beyond to reach a stretch of open pasture.


Pass through a gate and follow the broad track leading to the steep wooded slopes of the terrace gardens. (An information board on the left just before you enter the woods provides details of proposed restoration work). After a gate the track takes you into the woods. Today these seem to be a natural feature of the terrace gardens but in Lord Leverhulme's time the slopes would be bare of trees. When the path divides take the right fork. Now firmly on a terrace keep ahead for ¼ mile to arrive at a bridge that crosses one of the main features of the gardens - the Great Ravine.


Once again we have the adjective "great". This is not a Grand Canyon but one has to consider that in terms of having this type of feature landscaped into a garden needs a pretty big garden. Just beyond the bridge


climb steeply up steps to the next terrace. Turn left to cross the ravine again with impressive views up to the waterfall. At the next junction turn right to climb up to the bridleway which passes through the estate - the Roynton Road. Cross this to a flight of steps which brings you to the Japanese Gardens with an attractive ornamental lake.


Go right. After crossing the far end of the lake take a path leading upwards into trees. At the first fork bear left taking you onto a level occupied by the ruins of outhouses.


Pass these, turn right and after crossing a broad track climb steeply steps to an archway.


Through this to the left and right are broad areas of ex-lawns with elegant garden houses.


Climbed the steps opposite to reach another broad track. Go left to arrive at the site of the Bungalow. They only thing of interest that can be picked out are the tiled remains of the floor.


It is a chastening thought that in its hay day this site belonged to one of the richest men in the world! Keep ahead to take what was once a drive to reach the Belmont Road - another broad track.


Near here is the most iconic feature of the Gardens - the Pigeon Tower where Lady Lever like to retire to do her sewing. Turn right and follow the Belmont Road with open moors to the left until you reach a gateway on the left for Rivington Pike made obvious by the squat tower that adorns it.

It will be hard to resist as it commands superlative views to the Lancashire Plain and the huge conurbation that is Greater Manchester. Returning to Belmont Road turn left and then right past ex toilets to re-enter the terrace gardens. Turn left on a steps leading down to the Roynton Road. Turn right and soon come to the second most iconic feature of the gardens - the seven arched bridge. (Count them if you like!)


The walkway on the bridge can be accessed by a steep path on its left side. Once on the walkway take any path leading down to return to the car park.