Down the Ages
Memorable Events and Insights down the Years
From information gleaned from Dear Rambler, the preface written in the Syllabus.
1896 23rd May 10 ramblers set out on the first walk of the Class. The route starts at Spring Vale Methodist Church Darwen and heads out over Sough and the Grimhills towards Entwistle, returning back to Spring Vale. A walking distance of 10.5 miles.
1897 Mr J.T.Fielding conducts the Ramblers on Historical, Botanical, Scenical and Geological Rambles, a task he undertakes until 1930.
1900 A photographic picture book entitled "A Picture Album of Sights and Scenes of the Valley of the Ribble Valley" is published. The book is limited to 3,000 copies and sold to subscribers for 5/- each (25p).
1901 Ladies are first allowed to attend on certain rambles, but only by invitation.
1905 A monthly magazine entitled “The Rambler” first published in May from a suggestion by a lady rambler. The magazine cost 6d (2.5p) and ran for six issues.
1906 The magazines are well received and publication continues to a second year.
1907 The magazines are combined into two bound volumes entitled “The Rambler- A Record of Rambles, Historical Facts, Legends and Nature Notes” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 for the years 1905-06.
1916 The Class celebrates its coming of age with 21 years of walking.
1917 Ladies admitted on all rambles without the need for an invitation from the gentlemen members.
1918 First Great War ends and ramblers start to return home. Many old friends do not return.
1920 Rationing still operating. Ramblers instructed to take their own provisions when calling at the tea stops. Ramble destinations are still restricted by the Railway Company.
1921 Railway Fares as printed in the Syllabus
Springvale Station to Whalley 1/9d (8.75p)
Springvale Station to Wilpshire 1/2d (6p)
Springvale Station to Gt Harwood 1/4d (6.5p)
Springvale Station to Blackburn 7½ d (3p)
Springvale Station to Langho 1/5 ½d (7.3p)
Springvale Station to Chatburn 2/6d (12.5p)
The Car Fare (Trams)
Darwen to Blackburn 5½d (2.3p)
Blackburn to Wilphire 3d (1.25p)
Blackburn Station to Park Gates 1½d (0.6p)
Blackburn Station to Billinge 2½d (1p)
Billinge to Station 1½d (0.6p)
1922 Provisions are now optional, but ramblers are reminded that now vacuum flasks are so plentiful and cheap, of the saving of time there would be, if these were generally used.
1923 Train fares are reduced in price by the Rail Company and the new times allow excursions to areas not visited for many a year.
1927 72 members are out on the first ramble 2nd April from Gt. Harwood to Whalley a distance of 7 miles. 96 members are out on third ramble 16th April Gisburn to Chatburn with a walking distance of 14 miles. The lowest turnout during the year was 10 on 10th August on a walk to Turton Tower. The walking distance was 7 miles (It rained hard, things don’t change). Average number out on a walk during this year was 50.
1928 Saw the introduction of several evening rambles.
Highest attendance in year was 58, the lowest 8; Average attendance throughout the whole year was 30.
1930 21st December Mr J T Fielding died and was interred in Gt. Harwood Cemetery on 24th December.
1939 In recognition of the able service rendered by the Leader of the Class, in making the Rambles so successful, Mr and Mrs Kershaw were presented with a dining table, walking stick and a set of books on “Nature Study”. The presentation was made from funds subscribed to by members and friends.
1940 Socials held during the winter enabled the Class to send subscriptions of 2 guineas (£2.10) to the Darwen Spitfire Fund and to the W.V.S. Comforts Fund.
1941 Spring Vale Rambling Class is selected to be included in the organisations identified to help in the work of the Youth Movement and were pleased to have young people as members of the Class.
1956 26th March celebration of the Diamond Jubilee (sixty years), with a Social in Bolton Road Conservative Club.
1957 The Class members attended many public inquires made by Lancashire County Council regarding footpaths under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. (This was the first time for claims to be made to establish definitive footpaths, with the absolute right of a free unhindered passage along the route.)
1960 Mr Brian Lawrence joins the committee.
1970 Miss Glenda Brindle was appointed Secretary of the Class, the position she still holds today.
1975 The Classes printing plates go missing as the Darwen Advertiser moves offices. Syllabuses are produced in-house by the Secretary and are published this way for 10 years.
1976 The high cost of petrol makes travelling to the Ribble Valley expensive. Two mini-buses are arranged to take members on the walks. Gisburn on the 8th May, Ribchester on the 19th June and Dunsop Bridge on the 11th September.
1985 90th Anniversary year, a Birthday party is held in the Oldé England Café Sunnyhurst Wood. An exhibition is also held in the Information Centre during June with short walks led from the Centre on each Saturday in June.
1991 Leaders are appointed on the winter walks programme; instead of this being arranged on the day.
1993 A Centenary Group is set up to make arrangements for the 100th season in 1995.
1995 Celebration events organised to commemorate the 100th year. Birthday party, Bar–B-Q, a weekend away in the Yorkshire Dales and a Hoe Down are all arranged.
1996 Mr Brian Lawrence President for 20 years passes away. Michael Counter is elected President. Two commemorative benches are erected in his memory at the Information Centre Roddlesworth Tockholes in 2001.
2000 A publication called Ramblers Gems is produced to celebrate the coming of the new millennium. The book is written and published by members of the Class and is a reflection of walking experiences.
2001 Wednesday mid week walking is introduced as a trial for members.
2001 Walking is severely restricted by a Foot and Mouth epidemic that closes all field and moor land footpaths. The Class responds, as requested by D.E.F.R.A, by restricting walks to coastal and canal footpaths.
2002 Web site introduced for the first time, giving details of the walk times and meeting place. www.communigate.co.uk/lancs/springvaleramblingclassdarwen
2005 Rambles this season are devised to walk onto the newly created Open Access Lands in the Forest of Bowland and Bouldsworth Hill areas. This was made possible by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act opening up vast areas of new walking ground.
2005 Exhibitions are arranged to celebrate the 110th year.
2006 Vice President Helen Lightbown dies aged 100.
2010 The Class reach a milestone of 115 years of walking.
2012 A photographic exhibition is put on display within The Information Centre Sunnyhurst Wood Darwen.
2013 A coronation ramble arranged around Hurst Green to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee year.
2015 A year to celebrate, for the Class has been organising walks for 120 years.
2018 This year was the 100th annniversary of the ending of the Great War of 1914-18 and the fallen members of the Class were remembered. The long time member and Vice President Mr Tom Johnstone passed away during this year.
2020 This year was the 125th year since the formation of the Class and unfortunately all walking activities were suspended due to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was possible to celebrate the year on our first walk with members wearing attire to reflect the ramblers of early the 1900s. Some restrictions were lifted for a period allowing the AGM to be undertaken (under a tree in Whithall Park). A weekly magazine Ramblers Gems was published.