Wilpshire Road, Rishton.

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Wilpshire Road in 1937
Wilpshire Road looking to Close Brow Quarry, or Star Delph in 1937.
(MOVE YOUR MOUSE POINTER OVER THE IMAGE TO MAKE IT CHANGE)
Looking from Star Delph Quarry to Rishton and Lee Lane

Post Codes:

  • Close Nook Cottage BB1 4AH.
  • Lords House Farm BB1 4AH.
  • New Inns Barn BB1 4AH.
  • Shepard's rest BB1 4AD.
  • Windy Bank Farm BB1 4AD.

Wilpshire Road turns off Lee Lane as it leaves Rishton towards Great Harwood.

The road leads to the New Inns and was once part of the main route to Blackburn and Whalley.

Known locally as Close Brow, the road once lead to the quarry at Close Brow, known as Harper Clough.

The doles or strips of land, belonging to the de Rishtons of Dunkenhalgh are given in a document of 1348 as lying together, this tells us that perhaps strips of land were being exchanged so that their strips all lied at the side of each other, this would have formed a small field or enclosure. This was called "making a close" and was unusual in this period of time. It became more common in the 16th Century, mainly because of its many advantages.

Wilpshire Road
A very rough Wilpshire Road, looking back towards Rishton. (Picture supplied by Ron Grenier, North Carolina).
Wilpshire Road 11th March 2010
Wilpshire Road to Rishton as seen here on the 11th March 2010.

The word Close suggests some advantages from this kind of land arrangement. In the "close" crops were sheltered from the cold North winds, straying cattle, and the seeds of thistles and dandelions which are carried in the wind.

Our Close Nook, Close Brow, and Close Nook Farm derive from this, although it is improbable a farm was here so early. The farm may have been built around the 16th Century when the demand for wool started growing.

Star Delph is used as a geological example of rock cutting by the local schools. The rock face of the Delph contains the shape of a star.

From Close Brow
Image 1 - Looking down from Close Brow Quarry
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Image 2 - And back up the hill from Lee Lane.

Over the crest of the hill is the former Shepherds Rest. This was a popular resting place for travellers as this was once the main road from Rishton to Whalley and Preston.

From September 1999;

THE 1999 Hill Climb Championship of the North Lancashire Road Club was held on Close Brow, near Rishton, as it has been for more than 40 years.

Winner of the championship with a time of 2 minutes 04.5 seconds for the one-in-six ascent, was Fraser Snape of Read who beat Darwen's Neil Cooper's time of 2 minutes 14.7 seconds into second place. Best young rider in the event was 14-year-old Daniel Ratcliffe of Helmshore who covered the course in a very creditable 2 minutes 41.8 seconds, and Sharon Smith of Wiswell rode an excellent race in the ladies section with 3 minutes 08.1 seconds.

2004
Wilpshire Road from the New Inns in July 2004.
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Bottom of close brow, outside the cottages, about 1950.

Although the race was principally for North Lancashire Road Club members, the fastest climb of the hill on the evening was by Blackburn and District C. T. C. rider Paul Smith of Langho, who beat all of the road club riders by clocking 1 minute 54.6 seconds as part of his training for the forthcoming hill climb season.

The road has fantastic views of Rishton and beyond, and is host to an annual cycling competition for hill climbing.

The Council Surveyor read a letter received from the County Surveyor on the 6th August 1936, regarding a suggestion that a "Major Road Ahead" sign should be erected at close brow. This was accepted by the council.

Looking to Rishton
Looking South from the top of the hill with the Mills and factories in the background.
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Harper Clough Quarry on the right and Top O th Heights to the left, without any bushes or shrubs to block out the track.

On the 5th July 1938, The council surveyor reported that after consultation, and with arrangement with Great Harwood U. D. C., had carried out a minor alteration at the bend in the road leading from New Inns to Great Harwood at a point on the Rishton - Great Harwood boundary, the cost of which would be apportioned to both councils.

The Council Clerk arranged, after consultation with the Police, for the re-erection of the direction sign at New Inns on the 4th March 1943.

Wilpshire Road
Wilpshire Road, 15th April 2010, looking to Lee Lane from Close Nook Cottages.

References

Council Minutes.

Rishton Parish Church Jubilee 1927 by Carlton Noble.