Astley Hall, Rivington, Chorley cakes, Chorley Market ... some of the reasons why one man loves to call Chorley home

As part of our Chorley 150 series, we asked keen Chorley Guardian letter writer Graham Archer, who first came here in the 50s, why he chose to make the town his home.

By Jon Townend
Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:57 pm
Graham Archer on Chorley: I find it so easy to get chatting to folk here, no edge or posh accents to be found
Graham Archer on Chorley: I find it so easy to get chatting to folk here, no edge or posh accents to be found

As the Chorley Guardian reflects on the 150 years since it first published, we're telling the stories of people and places which touch our community in our Chorley 150 series. Graham Archer shares what he loves about the town.

I have to be honest and say that the reason we first chose Chorley was location.

My first introduction to Lancashire was when doing my National Service, as a member of what was then known as the 'Brylcreem boys', and after completing my basic square bashing at Padgate, near Warrington.

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Chorley market continues to be one of the very best to visit, says Graham Archer

I was posted to RAF Warton, never giving a thought that, after working back in the Midlands for a few years, I would later be returning 'up north' as we knew it.

My reason for choosing Chorley at that time was that I had landed a job as a sales representative working from an office based in Preston.

My area of work was loosely described as East Lancashire, starting at Blackburn and radiating out to Nelson, Haslingden, Bacup and that general area.

Chorley seemed to be the ideal location as I could get into the office relatively easy, (not so much traffic in those days), or, if working my area directly, I was not too far away from my territory.

Butter pie .... "another reason has to be the rich variety of food to be found here" says Graham Archer

This was, of course, before the construction of the M61 and the M6 was still being extended northwards.

As time has progressed, the location of Chorley, sitting in the triangle formed by the M6, and M61 and now crossed by the M65, has proved to be in an excellent position to enable all to access such a wide area beyond, opening up links to the Lake District and Scotland when going north, but also south.

So why, in addition to it's location, do I still stay in Chorley?

The next reason has to be the people.

Graham Archer first chose to live in Chorley because of its location

I find it so easy to get chatting to folk here, no edge or posh accents to be found.

Simply walking around town or stood at a bus stop, or in the doctors, everyone is easy to strike up a conversation with.

Another reason has to be the rich variety of food to be found here.

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Rivington is a favourite place to visit

So much excellent local produce, as we are surrounded by rich farming areas, such as Rufford, where the best new potatoes can be found, as they first come into season.

Cheese is another firm favourite with a broad range of Lancashire cheeses, all produced within a few miles.

Our local delicacy, the humble Chorley cake, is often topped with Lancashire cheese, although I prefer it with a generous topping of best butter.

I was quite surprised to find that another delicacy, the Butter Pie, is not available in other parts of the country, including the Midlands, where I come from.

Whenever we are down there these days, I would not be forgiven if I didn't take a supply of Butter Pies to be shared out and enjoyed with great delight.

The simple things in life are still often the best.

On our doorstep is the magnificent Astley Park and Hall.

Chorley market continues to be one of the very best to visit, both the covered market, which the local council continues to invest in, and, of course the street market, held mainly every Tuesday.

It used to be know as the 'Flat Iron or Cattle Market' before the addition of a somewhat controversial building on the original market site.

I was very much against moving the market at first, but, as it has expanded around the streets in the town centre, visitors are more likely to find and explore more of our unique shops and eating places.

One shop I always enjoy exploring when on my travels, is the local ironmongers.

It's one of those shops which invariably manages stock most of the more unusual items which are often rarely needed in the average home.

It may be a particular bolt, picture hanger, screwdriver, a universal sink plug or even a coffee percolator.

We have Malcolm's music shop, where once again it's fascinating to see folk browsing through the vast range of records, tapes, videos, etc. which often cannot be found in the average outlet.

Search around the town and you will find many more such shops, just that little bit different to those found in much larger towns.

I said location was a primary reason for moving here.

On our doorstep is the magnificent Astley Park and Hall.

Ownership of the hall and its contents was transferred in 1922 to Chorley Corporation by Reginald Tatton, as a memorial to the local men killed in World War I and has since been maintained as a museum.

Just a little further afield we have Yarrow Valley Country Park, fascinating strolls around lakes and woodland with waterfalls and a fish ladder.

Just out of town and within minutes we can be on the West Pennine moors, exploring around Anglezarke, Belmont and Winter Hill.

Always worth a visit are Rivington Barn and the Lower, or small Barn, both dating back to the 16th century and believed to be amongst the best in the country.

White Coppice is another little gem, with its old cricket pitch and pavilion.

Move uphill a little and the stream was always a favourite place for our youngsters to paddle and climb the waterfalls and even swim.

In winter times, masses of icicles can form on the grassy sides of the gorge and often it was a competition to see who could get the biggest one and keep it until we arrived back home.

We don't seem to get such hard winters these days, but when we did get more extensive snow, even if we didn't see much in Chorley itself, it was always worth a visit through Brinscall towards here to find much deeper coverings and drifts.

I am pleased to say that my grandchildren have lasting memories of me, ever the big kid, taking them to create 'snow angels' in this snow.

Happy days indeed.

Chorley, yes, this is the place I love to call 'home'.

Chorley 150 countdown

This story is part of our Chorley 150 series to mark the 150th anniversary of the Chorley Guardian.

If you'd like to nominate someone, a business, charity or landmark, for the Chorley 150 series then email

The Chorley Guardian is featuring 150 stories about Chorley: Inspirational people, places that we love, or special moments in the life of the borough.