Rivington Pike

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Rivington Pike
Rivington Pike Winter 1.jpg
Highest point
Elevation1,191 ft (363 m)
Prominencec. 50 ft
Coordinates53°37′11″N 2°32′28″W / 53.6196°N 2.5411°W / 53.6196; -2.5411Coordinates: 53°37′11″N 2°32′28″W / 53.6196°N 2.5411°W / 53.6196; -2.5411
Rivington Pike is located in Lancashire
Rivington Pike
Rivington Pike
Shown within Lancashire
Rivington Pike is located in the Borough of Chorley
Rivington Pike
Rivington Pike
Shown within Chorley Borough
LocationLancashire, England
Parent rangeWest Pennine Moors
OS gridSD643138
Topo mapOS Landranger 109

Rivington Pike is a hill on Winter Hill, part of the West Pennine Moors, overlooking the village of Rivington in Lancashire, England. The nearest towns are Adlington and Horwich; the Pike Tower is a prominent local landmark and is located at the summit, the area is popular with hill walkers and for mountain biking.

Geography and geology[edit]

The pike at 1,191 feet (363 metres) high is the most westerly high point of Winter Hill in the West Pennine Moors; the high moorland is underlain with Carboniferous rocks, the Millstone Grit, sandstones and shales of the Lower Coal Measures which rise high above the Lancashire Plain to the west and Greater Manchester conurbation to the south.

From the summit it is possible to see Blackpool Tower, the Lake District mountains, the Welsh mountains and as far as the Isle of Man.[1]


A long-range view of the Pike from the west

The hill had the ancient name in Old English of hreof plus ing meaning the rough or rugged hill and pic, a pointed eminence, the earliest recorded name is Winterhold Pike in 1250 in a grant from Roger Rivington and by 1280 it was known as Roundpic within a grant by Cecily Roynton.[2]The hill was recorded as Rovyng in 1325 and Rivenpike in about 1540. Saxton records the name as Rivenpike Hill on his 1577 map.[3]

There are prehistoric sites at Noon Hill tumulus on Winter Hill, at Coblowe hillock by the Lower Rivington Reservoir and it is possible that a standing stone occupied the summit in the prehistoric period.[4]

In 1904 author, Fergusson Irvine described the Pike as "the curious hog-backed mound which crowns the summit of the hill and on which stands the Beacon, shows signs of having been at least shaped by artificial means. No doubt it is mainly a natural feature, but there are distinct traces of its having been trimmed and the approach steepened at several points".[4]

In the years 1906 to 1912 a car and motorcycle race and hill climb was held by the North-East Lancs Automobile Club and the Lancashire Motor-Cycle Club.[5]


The prominent summit of Rivington Pike was the site of one of a series of beacons spanning England as an early warning system; the beacon system was put in place by Ranulph de Blundeville, 4th Earl of Chester around 1139, following a Scottish raid in 1138, when a small Lancashire army was defeated near Clitheroe by a much larger Scottish force. The beacon here was one of the famous examples used in Elizabethan England to warn of the approaching Spanish Armada, lit on 19 July 1588. Beacons were lit near to the tower for the coronation of King George V in 1910, to celebrate peace after the Great War in 1919 and in 1977 and 2012 to celebrate the Silver and Diamond Jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II and in 2016 for the Queens 90th Birthday.[2][6]


Rivington Pike Tower

The Pike Tower is a Grade II* listed building on the summit. Built by John Andrews of Rivington Hall in 1733 on the site of an ancient beacon using its stone for the foundations, it was built as a hunting lodge. Square in plan with sides 16 feet (4.9 m) in length and 20 feet (6.1 m) high, it was built with a wooden roof, three windows and a door all of which are now blocked up. The roof was hidden by a parapet with pointed corner and intermediate steps. Originally built with a cellar, fireplace and chimney and stone floor.[7][2]

Liverpool City Council, the former owner neglected the tower and planned to demolish it in 1967, after a public outcry and legal action the land and building was transferred to Chorley Rural District Council in 1971 who restored the building in 1974[2] and completed further work in the 1990s.[8]

On the definitive map Public footpath number 108 leads to the Pike Tower at the summit, there are a network of many other paths in the area that are concessionary.[9]In the 1990s steps were built on the hillside to prevent deterioration.


Steps to the Pike Tower.

Rivington Pike Easter Fair was held annually on Whit Saturday, until the arrival of the Manchester and Bolton Railway's extension to Preston and the opening of Blackrod railway station in 1841 which brought more visitors, after which the Fair was moved to Good Friday in 1900, by then a bank holiday weekend and has remained popular, with large numbers attending.[10]

The Rivington Pike Fell Race is held on the Saturday before Easter Sunday since 1892; the course is 3¼ miles and has a 700-feet ascent.[11][12] Many walkers continue the Good Friday tradition of walking to the pike summit.[10]

The area is popular with walkers and footpaths and bridleways provide access to the hillside and surrounding moorland;[13] the Pike is not part of Lever Park and not protected through the Liverpool Corporation Act 1902.[8] The Pike hill and moorland area is protected as open access land by Bolton Council and has a right to roam.[14]

Nearby hill summits[edit]

Name Locality Elevation OS grid reference
Winter Hill Rivington 1,496 feet (456 m) SD659149
Counting Hill Smithills/Belmont 1,421 feet (433 m) SD671141
Two Lads Hill Horwich 1,276 feet (389 m) SD655133
Noon Hill Rivington 1,247 feet (380 m) SD647150
Crooked Edge Hill Horwich 1,230 feet (375 m) SD654134
Rivington Pike Rivington 1,191 feet (363 m) SD643138
Adam Hill Horwich 1,181 feet (360 m) SD660126
White Brow Horwich 1,175 feet (358 m) SD661124
Whimberry Hill Belmont 1,115 feet (340 m) SD686139
Egg Hillock Belmont 1,076 feet (328 m) SD684142
Brown Hill Rivington 1,066 feet (325 m) SD644135
Brown Lowe Smithills 1,066 feet (325 m) SD669130
Burnt Edge Horwich 1,066 feet (325 m) SD667125
Denotes walker's cairn or similar.[15]



  1. ^ Rivington Pike, Manchester's Countryside, archived from the original on 24 March 2012, retrieved 13 May 2011
  2. ^ a b c d "Rivington". Angelfire. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  3. ^ Mills 1976, p. 126
  4. ^ a b Fergusson Irvine 1904, p. 8
  5. ^ "Races to the top of Rivington Pike". Bolton News. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Rivington Pike beacon to light up the sky for Queen's 90th birthday". Chorley. Chorley Council. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  7. ^ Historic England, "Rivington Pike Tower at SD 642 137 (1072505)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 9 June 2016
  8. ^ a b "LAN21334, Land at Rivington Pike, Chorley". GOV UK. HM Land Registry. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Public Rights of Way". Definitive Map at Mario Maps. Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b Thousands step up for Good Friday Pike trek, The Bolton News, retrieved 13 May 2011
  11. ^ Running Diary, Running Diary, retrieved 2010-06-02
  12. ^ Cornthwaite grabs success at Rivington Pike Fell Race, Lancashire Telegraph, retrieved 2 June 2010
  13. ^ Moorland Fringe, Lancashire County Council, archived from the original on 30 October 2010, retrieved 3 May 2011
  14. ^ "Public Access Land to the North of Bolton". Bolton Council. Bolton Council Highways Dept. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  15. ^ Fields, p. 17


External links[edit]