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Rivington Pike is a hill summit and part of the West Pennine Moorsmarker, named in connection with the nearby village of Rivingtonmarker whose boundary stretches toward Winter Hillmarker in Lancashiremarker, Englandmarker. Part of the Borough of Chorleymarker. The nearest major towns are Chorleymarker and Horwichmarker. The 'Pike' as it is locally known is the main landmark to the town of Horwichmarker.

The etymology is said to be from a combination of 'Roving' (a name for Rivington Pike) with '-ton' (a homestead or village).

The tower

Rivington Pike Tower
On the Pike is a tower, which was built in 1733 by John Andrews after he inherited one half and bought the other half of the Rivington Hall estate in 1729 .. Some writers have suggested the building was in celebration of gaining the full manor, this was never fact. The Shaw family had always retained a 1/8 share(DP 458/1/2) The stone used was taken from the original fire platform and from the bed of the River Douglas. It is a square tower, with sides of , and is high

At one time it had a wooden roof and windows in all four sides. The single internal room was square with a stone flagged floor, a fireplace and a cellar. It was used for shelter when grouse shooting parties visited the moors, but this stopped in 1900 when W. H. Lever bought the Estate. The tower was restored in the 1990's and is now bricked up. The tower is a Grade II* listed building IoE Number 184424

The beacon

Prior to the current tower the summit was the site of one of a series of Beacons spanning England as an early warning system. The Beacon system was first put in place by Ranulph de Blundeville, 4th Earl of Chester around 1139 (Whiskers), following the great Scottish raid of 1138, when a small Lancashire army was cut to pieces near Clitheroe by a much larger Scottish force, who later met the same fate at the Battle of the Standardmarker, fought near Northallertonmarker. The beacon was lit on 19th of July 1588 to signal that the Spanish Armada was heading towards English shores.,

More recent lightings near to the current tower have been the Coronation of [King George V] in 1910 and the end of the [Great War] in 1918. There was also a beacon lighting in 1977 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

Routes to the Tower

The routes to the Tower from the different car parks follow the lines of carefully engineered carriage drives. However they are now fairly rough and best approached using walking boots. The tracks are wide but eroded, now being rather more like river beds than footpaths, littered with stones and slabs alternating with cobbled sections. There is evidence of former drainage arrangements but they are substantially decayed.

Events

Easter Pike Fair

Rivington Pike Fair was originally held every year on Whit Saturday, and in 1900 was moved to Good Friday. Many Horwichmarker and Chorley locals and tourists choose this day to hike to the top of the Pike to engage in the festivities.

During the 1830s there was an increase in drunken and riotous behaviour following the fair, which brought prompt and stern measures from the local authorities. Two Boltonmarker men were charged with "Neglect of Divine Service", by selling on Rivington Pike on a Sunday.

The arrival of Blackrod Railwaymarker in 1840 brought more folks, and this was sustained until the introduction of the Seaside Discount Train tickets, at around 1860, which caused a decline in attendance.

The Rivington Pike Music Festivals /North Country Fairs were held in the walled gardens on the top of the Pike in the summers of 1976 and 1977.Notable bands playing included Body, John Peel favourites Tractor and Here and Now. The 1976 Rivington Pike Music Festival inspired a collection of Rochdale people who attended to launch the Deeply Vale Festivals in mid September 1976.

Pike race

On Easter Saturday since 1892 a Pike Race has been held. Originally starting from the Horwich railway works, but since 1930 from the entrance of Lever Park Avenue. It now attracts around 400 runners.

Motor racing up the pike

In the early 20th century, car and motorcycle races were held up Rivington Pike. From 1906 to 1912, Bolton motorists had the opportunity to witness the performance of a variety of cars and motor-cycles in the hands of some notable drivers of the day, on the private roads of the Rivington estate.

Under the auspices of the North-East Lancs Automobile Club and the Lancashire Motor-Cycle Club, the first of these hill-climb races took place on 25 July 1906. Competitors were limited to members of the former club, and the race was divided into 10 classes according to the list price of the car. More information can be found on this external link.

References

  1. [History of Rivington, Thomas Hampson, 1893],
  2. Local Historian.
  3. National Archives DP 458/1/2.
  4. Local Historian.
  5. English Heritage.
  6. [A Short History of Rivington, Thomas Hampson, 1893].
  7. Local Historian.
  8. Local Historian.


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