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Rivington Pike

[Rivington Pike with its square Tower]

71k JPEG. View of the Pike and tower 1995.

Rivington Pike and its tower can be seen from miles around. It is 361m (1200 feet) above sea level, and is reached through the Terraced Gardens. In clear conditions from the tower you can see the Cumbrian Fells in the Lake District 80km (50 miles) distant, Blackpool Tower 40km (25 miles), the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea 150km (93 miles), Ashurst's Beacon 15km (9 miles), and the Welsh Mountains 110km (68 miles).

Rivington Pike was the site of a beacon, a bonfire built and lit at night used to send warning messages in times of danger. Another such beacon is Ashurst's Beacon, south west of Rivington. This chain of signals was put in place by the Earl of Chester Ranulph de Blundeville around 1139. A recorded lighting of the beacon is on the 19th of July 1588 when the Spanish Armada was first engaged in the English Channel. More recently, the beacon has been used in times of national celebration, the Coronation of King George V in 1910, the end of the First World War in 1918. Recently, Winter Hill itself has been used, and has been lit on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee on 7th June 1977, and the eve of the Royal Wedding in 1981.

The beacon has now been 'moved' to the Last Drop Village and is being lit on New Years Eve 1999 as part of the end of year celebrations.

Rivington Pike Fair is held on Good Friday each year, since 1900, prior to then it was held on Whit Sunday. This annual event attracts many to walk up the pike. On Easter Saturday since 1892 a Pike Race has been held, originally starting from the railworks at Horwich, but since 1930 from the entrance of Lever Park Avenue, and attracts around 300 runners today.

Since around 1988, the Pike Hike has been organised by the Horwich New Heart Club on a Sunday in May, in 1999 it's on the 16th May.

[square Pike Tower]

116k JPEG. TV and Radio masts of Winter Hill to the right.

On the pike is a tower, built for John Andrews in 1733 when he became sole owner of the Rivington estate in 1729. Stone used was taken from the original fire platform and from the bed of the River Douglas. It's a square tower, its sides 5m (17 feet) and 6m (20 feet) high. It did have a wooden roof and windows in all four sides, the single internal room was 4m (13 feet) square with a stone flagged floor, a fireplace, and a cellar. It used to be used for shelter when grouse shooting parties visited the moors, but this stopped in 1900 when W.H.Lever bought the Estate. The tower is now bricked up and is a Grade 2 listed building.

[View from the Pike]

134k JPEG. View south west from the tower May 1996.

The main Rivington reservoir can be seen mid top left, the darker trees are in the Terraced Gardens, with Pigeon Tower on the far right of these trees.

[tower on the horizon]

78k JPEG May 1996

Centre of this picture is Blackpool Tower. Blackpool is 25 miles miles away, and this tower is 581 feet high.

[radio dish on the horizon]

106k JPEG May 1996

This picture, taken on a clear day shows the radio telescope dish of the Jodrell Bank observatory pointing skywards, top centre of this picture.

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