It was a rare sunny day so I decided to walk through the woods to Crooke, which is a small village of 120 inhabitants near where I live. It was probably given its name as it lies in a bend or “crook” in the River Douglas. As there is no through road it is easy for strangers to pass within 100 metres without knowing it is there. The first deed to mention the village was dated 1317. In the early 17th century an elaborate half-timber, “black and white” dwelling named Crooke Hall was constructed by the Catteral family. This building no longer exists but in later times a pub named “Crooke Hall Inn" was built nearby. This is a very popular place to eat a meal and/or have a drink.
The Douglas today is a very pleasant water course, although this was not always the case. There was a large amount of easily accessible coal in the area and it was necessary to find a convenient way to transport it to the large city of Liverpool which lies about 35 miles away. Consequently, in the mid 18th century the river was made navigable and nearby mines built railway lines to carry the coal to the newly constructed “navigation”. Crooke had become industrialised.
Towards the end of the century the Douglas Navigation became obsolete when the Leeds-Liverpool Canal reached Crooke. The canal and the river are situated very close together throughout the Wigan area.
This looks like a working boat which has seen better days. I'll bet that Venus, the goddess of love, strongly disapproves of the state of this vessel which was named after her!
These are privately owned pleasure boats.
The village has preserved a coal truck from nearby John Pit Colliery.
The village is pleasant and feels as though it is deep in the country side, but, because it is near the large town of Wigan, it is surrounded by urbanised areas. It is overlooked by the Martland Mill industrial estate.
This pathway was once one of several colliery railway lines running to Crooke. In the background the chimney of the extensive Heinz factory can be seen. This factory produces between 1,500,00 and 3,000,000 cans of beans per day - yes per day!! Wikipedia does not lie!
I said it was a sunny day, but the tracks and paths around the village were very water logged.