Bolton is a big town, it’s one of these towns that should really be a city and is made up of not just Bolton but other old towns, which are now considered part of Bolton. For today’s blog, lilmisskaty suggested we go out and explore what is five miles away, which was something I would have liked to have done, but it’s not exactly the easiest thing to do when I don’t drive. So I did the next best thing and went on Google maps and looked for everything in a five mile radius. Since today is a five times blog, I will share five things that are five miles from my house.
1. Family – this isn’t a place you can visit (it’s a place I can visit, but you, maybe not) and it’s not really something that belongs on this list, but I really wanted to share this fact anyway. On closer inspection at the list I made, the majority of my family are five miles away. One of the sub-towns I mentioned earlier, Westhoughton, is the home to an aunt, uncle and cousins. Another, Farnworth, is home to my grandad and another set of aunt, uncle and cousin. Then on the other side of town is Horwich, near to Horwich is a Memorial Forest where we planted a tree after my grandma died. My other grandma, she lives almost exactly five miles away, and not far away from her is another set of aunt, uncle and cousins. I have another aunt, uncle and cousin and aunt and uncle who live within the five mile boundary. So there we have it, practically my entire extended family are that close by. When I was talking to TracieWrites about it, she was shocked. (Another tidbit, my sister and my cousin and her new husband are within 15 miles, my uncle and another cousin and his wife are within about 30 miles. It’s only my other sister (who lives in Oxford), another cousin (London) and a final aunt and uncle (Spain) who live further afield. There are even more relatives in the area too, we’re very much a North West family.)
2. A steam railway line – Bury and Ramsbottom are nearby towns (both lovely places to visit), both of which are approximately five miles away. Neither town is connected to the National Rail network, which I find to be very unusual. But they are connected to each other, and a couple of other towns further afield, by steam train. It’s one of those tourist attractions, it’s fantastic. You pay some money and you can have a ride on an old steam train.
3. Moses Gate Country Park – Moses Gate is pretty much in Farnworth (as mentioned earlier), it’s a fantastic country park. It’s filled with a lake, forests and pathways which stretch for a few miles. There’s a park for children to play on and there is a visitors centre that used to offer activities for children. I’ve built dens with Beaver Scouts there on many occasions and it’s just a lovely place to visit.
4. Rivington – like Moses Gate, Rivington is pretty much part of one of the sub-towns, Horwich. It’s a very popular location for walkers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold outside, you can guarantee that Rivington will be very popular. They have a couple of barns which house a cafe and information which really adds to the attraction. It’s probably the busiest walking location in the town, Every weekend you will find countless bikers parked up at the front of the barn. I remember going there when it last snowed, we walked for a couple of miles and it was beautiful. There was a reservoir, there was snow and trees, it was wonderful. You can also take a walk up Rivington Pike which is on top of a big hill, a walk many people choose to do.
5. The Moors – in Bolton we’re very lucky. We have fantastic links with Manchester to the south and other towns to the east and west, but north? Well, north is pretty barren. It’s basically just empty land, excepting the occasional farm and a winding road that travels through the moors. I’ve always cherished the fact that Bolton is so close to countryside. Unfortunately, in the summer months the moors are often ravished by fires. It gets so dry up there, and then the dry grass ends up on fire and the result is a blackened countryside. It’s quite interesting really. I always think about places in Australia and the USA when there are reports of huge fires and it makes me think about our fires. They’re in no way comparable, because Bolton’s fires are very small, but they always take me by surprise. If small fires can turn a landscape black, I dread to think what damage bigger fires do.
So there we have it folks, the random things that are in a five mile radius to me. Lots of opportunities for walking, exploring the countryside and taking in a bit of culture. The only problem is, I’ve lived here for so long that we’ve done everything, we’ve been everywhere and there’s little left to explore. That’s not to say we don’t accidentally discover unexpected, hidden gems occasionally. Like a small patch of land perfect for a walk, or the birth place of someone who did something very important in Bolton a long time ago.