Footpath works provides a new lease of life for Rossendale stone
29 September 2016
Huge blocks of stone used to support the pillars of old Lancashire mill are being put to use for the first time during the final phase of the Brown Knoll footpath works.
The total path length completed so far stands at 2.4km and has taken around 760 tonnes of reclaimed Rossendale Stone flagstones to create.
Work on the path will continue for the next few weeks so expect to see helicopters and people working on the path.
The flagstones used to date have been reclaimed from the Cotton Mills of the Lancashire towns of Colne, Burnley and Blackburn and are now making our footpaths across the Pennines.
Many of Lancashire’s mills are now demolished and have given way for modern developments so flag stones are in short supply.
The final 300 metres of pathway will make use of larger blocks of the same stone, reclaimed from the mills, that has been cut down to more manageable sizes.
During the late 18th Century when the mills were built in Lancashire stone was quarried from the Pennine moorland fringe around Rochdale and Bury.
With the introduction of steam power to power the engines in the mills during the early 19th century the building design had to change in order to fasten the huge engines to the floors of the mills.
Huge square blocks of Rosendale stone were bought into the mills and placed into the floor. These pieces of rock were used to not only support the cast iron pillars supporting the building but also to anchor the steam engines to the ground.
Until now these engine blocks were crushed after the mills had been demolished as there was no further use for them.
After seeing large engine blocks stacked up with no home and with flagstones in short supply the Moors for the Future team decided to reclaim these historical square blocks.
The blocks have been cut into the perfect assortment of sizes for Brown Knoll path and have also had a non-slip surface patterned machined onto them.
Whilst out on the Brown Knoll path you will see some of the cut up engine blocks, they may look a slightly lighter sandier colour to the other flagstones.
This is because the surfaces of the stone are freshly cut, however they will soon weather and blend in with the rest of the flag stones.
If you are out walking, take some time to think about the history of the flag stones and how many men, women and children have walked upon them over the past 250 years and the stories they could tell.