It was raining this morning at 10am when we made a start – three of us. The same old road to Horwich was taken, and by way of a change we took the Limbrick road to Chorley. Then Euxton lane, to Euxton, and Warden Hall to Leyland, where our friend had a little store of gravestones in the churchyard to show us. First we entered the old church, where are four chained bibles, the oldest dated 1577. The church itself is very interesting, although much restored, but the churchyard takes the palm. One gravestone is raised to the memory of a hero of Lucknow, another has the sinister letters D.O.M (died of murder) ‘snatched from life’ 1906. A number possess curious verses and rhymes, and just outside is a gravestone to the memory of a dog. After an hour around here, our ‘leader’ took us through Turpin Green, showing us a house where Dick Turpin, the intrepid highwayman used to call. Then a number of watery bylanes led us to Walton-le-Dale and the Unicorn Inn for lunch at 2pm.
Emerging at 3.0, we rode to Preston, then through Moor Park and Fulwood on the Lancaster road. Turning off, we passed through Woodplumpton, where the old church was entered. Although picturesque inside and out, there is nothing beyond a few tablets of great interest. In the churchyard it is different. A huge boulder marks ‘Meg Sheldon’s’ grave – the last of the Lancashire Witches. She was buried according to custom, head upwards – stood upright, but she – ‘scratched her way out’ so they ‘buried her upside down’, so that she would have to scratch for ever, but in case she turned round, a huge stone was placed over her’ – so the story goes.
Taking the road via Moorside, we came to Lewth, where there was evidence of floods. Here, we struck the path I saw the rats from last Sunday, but we found it submerged. We kept on, however, but it went deeper to such an extent that we had to turn back. Not being able to turn round on the narrow road, we had to get off, with the result that we stood in about 9 inches of water, our feet of course being under water. Crossing a marshy field, we reached the road, where it dipped in at the other side. Half a mile further on we got ‘into it’ again, riding in a foot of water, and our feet going in it at the downward stroke of the pedal.
When it got too deep – in one place the railings were out of sight, we walked for half a mile on a dyke, with water on each side of us. It began it get dark, the sky throwing an uncomfortably dark shadow across the water, so we crossed the road in it, and forced our way through the hedges, crossing two slimy fields to a farm, where the occupants kindly put us right. At last we gained the Lancaster road at Barton, and making good headway through Broughton, we came to Preston and Walton-le-Dale again for tea at 6.30pm. Restarted with a strong headwind along to Bamber Bridge, then Wigan road to Euxton Lane. At Chorley we caught the rain, and it stuck to us all the way home. We have indeed had a day of adventures, unlooked for, but welcomed. Arrived home at 10.30pm.
68 miles, 12.5 hours