Where is it: Turton, Near Bolton and Darwen in Lancashire
How High is it: 1,079 feet or 329 metres
In which area or park: The West Pennines
Few people not in possession of an interest in Megalithic or Neolithic sites or an obsession with the collecting of summits will have ever heard of or visited this tiny mound of a hill. This is their loss, for one a sunny day, the views from this vantage point are both captivating and timeless.
It is true that Cheetham Close gives up its secrets with a unique ease, it’s notorious in the “Geo” world for the stone circle atop the hill which was rampaged in the nineteenth century by a local farmer. The site is now a “Scheduled ancient monument” which cannot be altered without prior authorisation. In this writer’s opinion, much ado about seemingly nothing! The stone circle photographs widely available on the internet do not bear any resemblance to what can really be seen today upon this high an unnamed moor, but a few hundred metres from the stunning Turton and Entwistle reservoir and a little to the north-west of the grade one listed Turton Tower.
Moving on from its neighbouring dignitary and the validity of its megalithic credentials, this hill shares its environment with the dullest of all neighbours – Turton Heights, about which this author can find no merit or praise save for a tick off a list. Turton Heights may be the higher of the duo but it offers no cairn and virtually no distinction in terms of appearance. In this respect Cheetham Close completely obliterates its slightly loftier neighbour. The views from the summit are of a local vicinity only. Granted on most days Longridge Fell to the due north can be seen, but generally the summits visible are the ones of Ramsbottom and the West Pennines, Winter Hill to the west, dominates.
The summit is blessed with an ordnance survey column which, through the absence of several inches of mud at its base, highlights the blanket bog erosion which is being observed more obviously at the Forest of Bowland. There are but a few days per year when this miniature patch of land is not a quagmire, fortunately, owing to the odd stranded piece of sandstone or millstone grit, a hop across to the trig point can be made successfully without too much mud being picked up.
Of course there are four compass points and thus at least four routes up to the top of the hill. Only two have a recognised path which is featured on ordnance survey maps and these are:
- From the North: The Witton Weavers Way traverses the hill with access points available from multiple places along the curiously named Greens Arms Road. The path is way-marked and easy to follow in all but the thickest of mists, though this is a slender route.
- From the South: Unsurprisingly, the same Witton Weavers Way track is picked up from near Turton Tower then a crossing of the castellated railway bridge followed by a pleasant walk along a tarmac track before going through a sheep-filled paddock and then hitting the open moor in the shadow of a deserted dairy / barn. Although the way ahead looks obvious a right hand turn must be taken in order to progress the next two hundred yards to the ordnance survey column.
- As of yet I have not made a trip to the summit from the West, a path does appear to take a due north approach from Whittle Hill Farm, Egerton ( 53.630840, -2.434409 ) an eighty-five degree easterly turning followed by a hundred and fifty yards walk should have the walker within sight of the trig point.
- From the East, technically, the northern approach starts from an easterly direction then heads in a more southern line. As there are no officially denoted paths on the ordnance survey maps then this liberates the walker to his or her own devices with regards to which way to get to the summit from this direction.
Where to go from here:
The classic destination from the summit of Cheetham Close is to encompass all of the neighbouring reservoirs: Turton and Entwistle, Wayoh and the Jumbles in a nine miles charming and undulating walk, ideal for summer. By way of contrast a linear walk to the high ground at Winter Hill via the marsh that is Longworth Moor, having first headed towards the neighbouring summit of Turton Heights