Viaducts of Lancashire (continued). This page concludes the review of Lancashire viaducts started in Photo Gallery 77. The features this time are at Padiham and Martholme on the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's former line from Blackburn to Rose Grove via Great Harwood. Some usefuil parts of this route have been opened in recent years as railway paths, namely Rose Grove to Padiham (grid reference SD 806321 to SD 791336), the south end of Martholme Viaduct to Mill Lane, Great Harwood (SD 751338 to 749328), and from the south end of Cross Street, Great Harwood, to Norden (SD 738320 to SD 726310). At Norden, the rail trail connects with the cycle trail that runs along the towpath of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal: this gives traffic-free access to Blackburn in the west and Accrington in the east. At Accrington, it is worth crossing to the south east of the town, where NCN6 (see Photo Gallery 78) provides a largely traclkbed-based route south to Stubbins, just north of Ramsbottom.

Above: This is the newly-restored bridge at grid reference SD 791336 on Park Road, Padiham, on the west edge of the town's old station site. The line remained open to serve Padiham Power Station, but became disused when that closed in 1993. As a result, the trackbed had 'enjoyed' 18 years of dereliction before Sustrans and Lancashire County Council teamed up to create the exemplary multi use trail – the Padiham Greenway – which now re-uses it. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)

Left: Just west of Park Road bridge, before the Padiham Greenway reaches Padiham Memorial Park, this three-arch viaduct carried the old railway line over the River Calder. As can be seen, the L&YR incorporated into its viaduct a pedestrian footbridge, which was also restored as part of the Padiham Greenway project. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: The crowning glory of the Padiham Greenway is not its engineering features, but this section between Cardwell Street on the left and Russell Terrace on the right. The railway here once travelled along the top of an embankment, which robbed the houses of light and deprived them of any kind of view. As can be seen, the embankment has now been demolished and a gently curving multi use trail installed in its place. In 2011, the European Greenways Association awarded the Padiham Greenway a prize for being an 'Exemplary Initiative' in the association’s annual awards; it is hardly surprising. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: In a quiet moment on the Padiham Greenway, a lone cyclist rides west towards the end of the trail at Padiham Memorial Park. However, to judge from recent aerial photographs, the Memorial Park may no longer be the end of the trail: it looks as if the greenway has been extended another three-quarters of a mile west to the A6068 at SD 780335. This is not shown yet on Google Earth, but does appear to be the case from the aerial photographs available on Ordnance Survey's Get-a-Map service. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: Martholme Viaduct straddles the River Calder at grid reference SD 751338. A permissive route extends from its south end to Mill Lane, on the eastern edge of Great Harwood, but there is no acces from the north side of the viaduct back towards Padiham, which is why this outstanding structure remarks closed to the public. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: Despite the lack of public access over it, Martholme is a lucky viaduct. It was extremely well built and has its feet on some very sound geology, which means that it has not required the substantial maintenance budgets of similar disused structures around Lancashire. The minibus seen in this picture (and several others in this series) was used to transport the directors and bridge engineers of Railway Paths Ltd on a tour of the company's structures in the area. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: A view along the east parapet of Martholme Viaduct, which was constructed between 1870 and 1877 by the engineer Sturges Meek. It comprises ten spans of 40 ft. each and, at its highest point, is 65 ft. above the River Calder. English Heritage designated the viaduct a Grade II listed building in 1984. The walkers are members of staff of Railway Paths Ltd. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)
Above: The view over the west parapet of Martholme Viaduct looking towards Cock Wood, which can be seen in the distance. It may surprise readers to learn that this viaduct was intended originally to be of timber construction, but possibly this was to make for a lighter structure which would not subside into the planned coal mines in the area. In the end, the railway decided to build the structure from stone, but, in order to ensure its long term stability, had to pay local landowner James Lomax £1,800 as compensation for not mining coal from beneath it. 24th June 2013. (Jeff Vinter)