Shirley M Addy, Editor and Footpath Inspector
This article is from Signpost 59, Spring 2019
The pleasant parish of Wilpshire is in the south-western part of the Ribble Valley, which comes under Lancashire County Council. Situated a few miles north of Blackburn, it was part of Blackburn Rural Council until 1974 when the Ribble Valley Borough Council was formed. I am the PNFS footpath inspector for the Ribble Valley which has forty-eight parishes.
The A666, an old turnpike road running from near Manchester to Langho, runs through the parish as does a railway line. A few milestones still exist on this road. The original station was closed during the Beeching era, but a new one, Wilpshire with Ramsgreave, was built in a different location in 1995. The railway bridge was nicknamed Stiff Street bridge because when fatalities occurred during the construction of the Wilpshire tunnel, the dead navvies were laid out in a room under the adjacent Wilpshire Hotel. The tram into Blackburn had its terminus at the parish's boundary on the A666.
Wilpshire Golf Club is the oldest golf club in East Lancashire and has several footpaths crossing its course. Wilpshire Methodist Church, built in 1887, had an organ which was powered by water. The Blackburn Orphanage was built in the village by benefactors in the 19th century and still looks after children. Wilpshire once had two grocers, a post office and newsagents, but still has a butcher's shop.
Wilpshire is blessed with wonderful countryside with great views of Pendle Hill and has thirty PROWs amounting to over eleven kilometres. My inspection of this parish revealed about five faults, but thankfully they are nearly all signpost-related faults. There is a trig point 235 metres high on Wilpshire Moor. On a clear day, from our balcony, we can discern Longridge Fell, Parlick, Fairsnape, Beacon Fell, Waddington Fell, all of which are the most southerly fells of England, the turrets of Stonyhurst College and, further afield, Ingleborough.
Wilpshire Parish Council joined the LCC Parish Paths' Partnership to enable the parish council to take a more active role in improving and maintaining the local footpath network. It uses a LCC grant for path maintenance such as laying gravel on boggy paths and cutting back obstructive foliage. I know that at least two of the parish councillors are keen walkers, and the council has devised two walks in Wilpshire. It has even placed several benches for walkers to admire the views of the Ribble Valley.
This article is part of a series of Parish Notes which will be published both on the website and in future editions of the newsletter. Any readers who would like to contribute are encouraged to contact Mel Bale at email@example.com
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