The peaceful birthplace of Samuel Crompton
Firwood Fold is a beautiful little hamlet by the side of Bradshaw Brook. Once surrounded by industry in the form of bleachworks, today, it is a picturesque and peaceful retreat with a very famous former resident: the inventor Samuel Crompton.
What can you see at Firwood Fold?
Immediately behind Samuel Crompton’s house is The Bunk, a large reservoir left over from the old bleachworks. It was originally fed by a channel connecting it to the large weir on Longsight Park (immediately by the Kingfisher Trail) and now, left to thrive, the area around The Bunk supports a good diversity of plant species.
Look out for the likes of bittersweet, enchanter's nightshade and wood avens under the trees, and lesser celandine, wood anemone and water avens by the waterside.
The history of Firwood Fold
Firwood Fold is most famous as the birthplace of the inventor, Samuel Crompton, who was born at number 10 in 1753. He actually only lived here until the age of five but these early years living amongst people working with textiles must have seeped into his bones, as twenty years later he invented the famous Spinning Mule.
His next home, Hall i' th' Wood, is just up the road and is now a museum which is well worth a visit to find out more. The road connecting the two homes bears his name, Crompton Way, and is one of Bolton’s busiest roads, although you wouldn’t know it when on the Kingfisher Trail! If you would rather walk than drive to get there you could follow the Tonge Trail set up by Bolton at Home. This eight-mile circular route overlaps with the Kingfisher Trail along this stretch.
Crompton's family left at the age of five, but those years seeped into his bones
Did you know that the name of this area reflects the older history of the site? The word 'fold' refers to a farmstead and 'Firwood' to a wood. Similarly, the name of the river also reflects this with ‘Bradshaw’ coming from the Old English for a ‘Broad-wood’. The age of the Fold itself can be seen in the fact that number 15 was originally built in the 16th century and is the oldest inhabited house in Bolton.
To find out more about the history of Firwood Fold please see Bolton Council’s publication titled ‘Firwood Fold Conservation Area’, which is available from their website. You can also find out more from The Friends of Firwood: an active community group dedicated to the site that has its own Facebook group.
Know before you go
Access: Firwood Lane, Bolton, BL2 3AG.
Accessible: Firwood Fold itself is on a gradual slope but is cobbled. The bunk and lodges are not suitable for those with limited mobility.
How you can help
You can help us maintain sites along the Kingfisher Trail for people and wildlife by becoming a member, volunteering or making a donation.
Choose one of the options below and protect the wild spaces on your doorstep.