I used to live in the village of Brinscall, a small slightly industrial village on the edge of Chorley. It’s notable primarily for its swimming pool, an unusual facility for a rural village with a small population, but you’d be surprised at how many people I meet who claim to have learnt how to swim there.
Brinscall is one of several small villages in the conutryside to the east of Chorley, and with the adjoining village of Withnell, it is on the very edge of the bleak West Pennine Moors that open up all the way to Winter Hill and beyond.
These moors used to be home to many small farms, but when the land as bought by the water authorities in the middle years of the 20th century, the farms gradually fell out of use, and Ratten Clough was one of the last to be abandoned in (I think) the 1950’s. Today, it is probably the most intact of the buildings on the moors, most are now mere rubble.
These were taken on Kodak Portra 400, not the best film for landscapes as it is pretty neutral in its colours, and the scans were very flat. But of course film has fabulous latitude and some tweaks in Lightroom have recovered a lot of sky detail and I’ve upped the colours, maybe a little too much, to give a Velvia-like effect. In actual fact, the colours aren’t too far removed from the day, as the grass was a bit wet, and the sun was setting, so I’ve not taken too much of a liberty I guess.
Portra is pretty fine-grained for a 400 film, and combined with the use of prime lenses, the pictures look pretty damn sharp.
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I also used to live in Brinscall. I am currently reading a book about the abandoned farms of Brinscall Moors – although there is no such place as Brinscall Moor. And strangely enough few of the people living in the farms actually farmed the land from the late 19th century. Mostly they worked in local mills or quarries.
The moors were bought by Liverpool Corporation in the very early 20th century for collecting water to supply Liverpool and ships sailing from Liverpool, and farms were abandoned when the tenancies were given up over the next 40 years or so. The farms were demolished when vacated to prevent people – lads really – injuring themselves messing about in buildings left to gradually rot.
It’s a pity Liverpool were so concerned about pollution from people and animals on the moors. Other water authorities were more relaxed and allowed buildings to remain eg around Bolton also on the West Pennine Moors and also nearby the Calder Valley farms were allowed to remain as dwellings. There would have been some very nice and expensive dwellings on the moors if the farms had not been demolished!
I have taken many pictures of Ratten Clough over the years and I find the best ones are when there is snow on the ground.
PS I have in mind to do a photo essay of the abandoned farms and/or their sites as a project over the next year or so. Possibly it would work best in monochrome or even with monochrome film.
I presume you are reading David Claytons book, The Lost Farms of Brinscall Moors. If so, I also have a copy, although it’s currently packed away as I’m about to move house, so I couldn’t get it out to refer to. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the moor is actually called Withnell (or Wheelton) Moor, but I’m not entirely sure.
I did quite a bit of photography up on the moors when I lived in Brinscall, including black and white and in the snow. There’s bits of other stuff in the plantation as well, I’ll try and nip up and photograph them again at some point this year.
Yes that’s the book. I have also been to a talk he gave about the subject.
Looking at the map of the area it includes Heapy Moor, Wheelton Moor and mostly Withnell Moor. I presume the names followed the pre 1900 parish boundaries where they were located.
Quite a few of the “farms” are in the plantation area and the book says they can be difficult to find in summer when foliage covers them.
Excellent pictures of the abandon farm on the moors. Particularly the last picture is beautifully captured and processed. I love all the details and the divergent tree in front of the sun.