Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Wigan Album

New Springs


Wutchie 4
Photo: dk
Views: 3,390
Item #: 5164
Among my favourites and dated between 1957 and 1959. The photographer is standing on the cinder track all that remained of the Springs Branch line after it had crossed the Old Arm of the canal and then Withington Lane. The line's commencing curve to the left can be seen falling away into the distance and the splendour and sheer bulk of the Wutchie, naked of trees, dominates the horizon.

The slight embankment to the right entraps the beautiful Woodshaw Lodge governed by Warrington Anglers yet today and a good job they have made of it. The inner shelf of the embankment, the water side, is faced with cobbles to resist wave erosion. It was always quite a shallow water and when the pig farm, away to the right, was active the resultant drain off created perfect conditions for a bloodworm farm. This was not that big of a secret. There are no trees around the banks yet there were in later years and they are still there now although the water level has been raised about a foot and a half and some of the trees now appear to sprout from beneath the surface. There was an overflow pipe arrangement which drained off into a huge cast iron, hook shaped pipe sticking up in the rushes in the Old Arm.

The man with the horse is not known, I think that he just happened to be there then and made a good picture. It may be that he lived in the houses at the side of the low canal bridge that forms the entrance to the Old Arm away to the left. There was and is a strange little field with struggling grass and small hillocks all around, just to the left of shot, with plenty rabbits as well as a few ponies. I walked past it twice a day going to St John's School and back and I think I have a memory of this chap.

The Wutchie did have some fir trees in about 1963. I know because the branch off one of them was stuck up in our house one Christmas - they were hard times.

In later years 1968/1972 the Wutchie was our great adventure in the Summer Holidays and big treks were made there. We would set off early from Belle Green Lane to get there, following the old line up to the Old Arm and collecting bullrushes if there was any. I remember especially the open spaces with yellow gorse all around, sharp, prickly. The cinder and clinker paths, rain eroded but dry and dusty and very unkind to a fall. Farmer's fields and cows and quiet but for the songs of skitties high up and unseen.
On the Wutchie itself the sounds of blackbirds abounded. Blackbirds and battle cries. There were many battles and much taking of prisoners and tying to trees and running home with sore, shoulders from the sun and starving hungry.

Comment by: David on 11th October 2008 at 22:18

Why is it known as The Wutchie

Comment by: oldtoplocker on 4th October 2009 at 12:44

Think the gentleman is old Harry Wood. lived in withington lane had horse in the stables facing the top lock pub

Comment by: Nev on 17th January 2010 at 21:35

David, 'Wutchie Rook' is a corruption of Woodshaw Nook

Comment by: Eddie Fishwick on 27th March 2010 at 14:19

the gentalman's name was Harry Woods he had a stable opposite top lock inn, he allways wore a waistcoat with a pocket watch, he would give us kids boat rope's to make swings with. does anyone know the name of his horse

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