Airton to Bell Busk Circular

7 September 2008
Leader - Jan Rhodes

Glimmers of brightness, but brollies at the ready, eleven members headed off south from Airton, following roughly the supposed line of a Roman road. The heavy rain of the previous week had put the planned route along the riverside out of the question. Reaching Red Bridge we turned left onto a track and over another bridge where vigorous use of a walking pole among the butter burr uncovered a cross boundary marker. Retracing our steps to the second bridge we turned left towards the site of the Bell Busk Mill, a five-storey, thirteen-bay mill built in 1794 for cotton spinning, converted to silk in c.1862 and subsequently demolished. Having admired the Bell Busk viaduct, built in the 1840s, we walked back along the road, glimpsing the station house (1849), to the two rows of back-to-back houses (and the bell!) apparently built for the railway workers.

Our return route was via an aquatic Kirk Syke Lane, pausing to investigate Well Head Laithe (see the Journal, 2006). We reached Town End for tea (the staff very kindly delaying their closing time for us). In conclusion Kevin Illingworth showed us the almost free-standing ‘weather wall’ at the back of the farm house. And we even saw the sun in this dismal summer!