Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

A long walk around the Gas Works!

Two to three hours. Rough walking in parts. Some walking alongside busy roads.

Despite the name I've chosen for this walk, it takes in woodland walking around Preston Junction, the Boulevard alongside the Ribble, more woodlands and streams in Dog Kennel Wood and a large open field near the gas works in Lostock Hall. There are lots of off-lead opportunities but some walking alongside busy roads where I couldn't manage to join up the footpaths!

Our walk started near Bee Lane on Leyland Road. Walking down to Skew Bridge we took the footpath leading off on the right beside the railway. Follow the footpath through farmland to the Vernon Carras sports pitches. Take the road leading path the sports facilities and go through over a low stile just before the old railway embankment. Follow this path to its end, joining the high embankment path which leads down to the Ribble.

When you reach the River Ribble turn right until you reach the old Tram Road bridge. Cross this and, if you wish, spend a while mixing with other four legged friends in Avenham park.

When playtime is over, carry on along the footpath on the Frenchwood side of the river, joining to Boulevard. Follow this to its end at the London Road Bridge. Turn right towards the Capital Centre and cross Victoria Road at the crossing next to the Yew Tree pub. Walk alongside the Ribble and along Victoria Road until you reach the mini roundabout. Turn right up Chorley Road, crossing over the River Calder, and then right down Hennel Lane.

About a third of a mile down Hennel Lane, look out for the small gate leading into Dog Kennel Wood on the right hand side of the road. Go through this and follow the woodland stream, crossing to the opposite (left) bank over the bridge when you reach it. Keep close to the stream and follow it until the footpath ends. At this point go up the slope to your left and out into an open field next to Hunters Lodge. This is a little bit tricky so click here to see the Google map/photo of this spot.

When you come out of Hunters Lodge turn right on to Chorley Road and then right again on to Duddle Lane. Go down the hill and (taking care) cross the road to the entrance of Cockshott Wood. Follow the stream once more, right to the end of the footpath where it joins Longbrooke Avenue. Follow the road out to Station Road in Bamber Bridge.

The previous woodland sections are very muddy and slippery in parts. Take care! The woods are managed by the Woodland Trust and have clearly had a lot of maintenance recently. There are numerous well made paths and bridges. There is inevitably some litter in such an urban location but other than the traffic noise from London Way you feel at times like you're in the middle of the countryside.

There is now a bit of necessary road walking along Station Road and then right along Brownedge Lane and Brownedge Road. Pass under the dual carriageway of London Way and join the Old Tram Road. (You'll be glad you're on the home straight now!)

Follow the Old Tram Road past a pond (time for a paddle to wash off the mud from the woods) and cross over Todd Lane South. Either follow the Tram Road to the junction with Watering Pool Lane or cut through the open field on the left to join Watering Pool Lane by the Gas Works. We did the latter, allowing a bit of time to play with the tennis ball in a final attempt to tire the dog out!

Walk up Watering Pool Lane, turning right into St Cuthberts Road and then Marina Drive. Rejoin Leyland Road, give the dog a Gravy Bone and enjoy a well earned brew!

Click here for a Google Map of the area

Click here for more information about Dog Kennel Wood and the Woodland Trust

In summary, quite a long walk but taking in some nice riverside and woodland walking, without having to jump in the car!

Doggy rating 6/10

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Walk Round Anglezarke Reservoir

About 2 hours walking (5 miles). Some rough and muddy stretches but nice views and the satisfaction of doing a full circuit make it worthwhile. A couple of stiles which medium sized dogs should have no trouble getting under.

Today we were going to head up Rivington Pike but low cloud made us have a re-think, and end up at Anglezarke, near Chorley.

We parked at the main car park at the South East end of the reservoir. A very good paved path leads from the car park, past the quarry, and through some quite scenic woods. This was signposted "Woodland Trail" from the car park.

Keep following the signs marked "Woodland Trail" until eventually you reach the road near the Northern Dam. Cross the Dam and go through the stile on the far side. Take a very muddy footpath next to the shoreline and keep following this all the way round to the Dam on the Western shore. Don't stray from this shoreline path or you'll end up in farm land and difficult to negotiate fences.

Keep high up on the Eastern Dam and then drop down at the far end to join the footpath which continues your round of the reservoir. Finish by crossing the final Dam and walk along the road for a short distance back to the car park.

This walk was unexpectedly rough in places but offered loads of off-lead opportunities. Watch for anglers and don't let your dog ruin their peace!

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 7/10

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Around the Gas Works!

About an hour. Generally easy footpath walking, mostly away from busy roads.

Don't be put off by the name. This is a nice walk for anyone living just south of the Ribble (Lower Penwortham, Middleforth, Kingsfold, Walton Park or Lostock Hall) wanting to get away from busy roads without getting in the car. Some road walking but generally quiet lanes and paths.

Today's walk started near to Bee Lane off Leyland Road. Walk up Leyland Road to Marina Drive. Cut through to the green space off St Cuthberts Road (Poo bin here!) and walk along to Watering Pool lane. This lane leads past the gas works and underneath the old railway bridge. Don't join the old railway path here but go straight ahead and join the clearly marked cycleway/footpath ahead of you.

At the junction with the Old Tramway turn left and follow this all the way to woods next to Factory Lane. Most of this route is traffic free but be aware this is a cycle track so keep your dog on a lead.

When you reach Factory Lane go past the old factory and take the footpath on the left which leads past the farm and back to Leyland Road by Skew Bridge.

There are few decent off lead opportunities on this walk but it is a nice way to spend an hour or so.

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 5/10 (6/10 if your dog hates getting in the car!)

A Walk on the Beach at St Annes

Miles of open sandy beach and sand dunes. Walk as far as you want. Generally firm underfoot.

For Boxing Day's fresh air we parked at the far end of the North Promenade at St Annes. Normally, you can park more easily and safely in a car park opposite Norwood Drive but this was closed over the Christmas period.

From the car, head over the dunes on to the beach. For a walk of about an hour, walk down to the shoreline and along to St Annes pier and back. If you're feeling sociable walk alongside the dunes. It tends to get busy with dog walkers here. If you prefer to have space to yourself, and your dog, the shoreline provides a generally quieter option.

This is a great space for puppies and young dogs who are being let off the lead for the first time. You can see for miles and it's a nice safe environment away from traffic and, if you choose, other people and dogs.

Our dog and friend took the sociable approach today, firmly refusing to respond to recall commands and eventually falling for another young springer bitch! I won't take the latter into account in the doggy rating!

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 8/10

Lytham Green and Witch Wood Walk

A good after dinner walk for Christmas day! Flat walking on good paths along the Lytham promendade and returning through pleasant woodland. A little road walking.

Park on Fairlawn Road at the St Annes end of Lytham Green. Walk along the promendade path until it joins Ansdell Road South at Granny's Bay. Turn right and inland, past the White Church which is now mainly without the secaffolding which has masked the tower for the past few years.

Cross over Clifton Drive, past the Ambulance Station and cross over the footbridge over the Railway line. Turn right along Oxford Road to its end and then cross over Blackpool Road and enter Witch Wood through the gap in the wall.

Follow the footpath through Witch Wood until you reach Lytham Station. This part of the walk provides some off-lead opportunities but be aware of the railway line which runs next to the wood. The fencing is not particularly robust in places.

When you reach the exit to the wood by the Station, turn right along Ballam Road. Carry straight on down and over Lytham Square to Lytham Green. Walk back to the start either along the promenade or go down the steps for better off-lead opportunities and along the stone track beside the muddy beach.

The dog was joined by two of his friends today. All three enjoyed it!

Click here for Google map

Doggy rating 6/10

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rowsley Woods and Water Walk (Derbyshire)

About 1 hour. Muddy footpaths through woods and, for a short time, beside the river Derwent. Makes a good alternative to the crowds of Chatsworth Park. Obviously not near Preston!

You can start and end this walk from the Peak Village car park in Rowsley. Walk back up to the main Chatsworth Road and, taking care, cross this busy road. Turn right along Chatsworth Road for a short way and go up a footpath between the Stone Masons and East Lodge. Keep going up this path along the side of fields until you reach the Chesterfield Road. Cross over and to your left you'll see a good track leading through the woods, clearly marked "Haddon Estate". Walk along the track for half a mile or so and then follow the signed footpath to the left. The path then makes its way through wonderful woodland scenary, up beside a woodland stream until you reach a wooden bridge with views of a small waterfall.

Once over the bridge, keep left and follow the path down the hill through the woods until you reach a walled path alongside fields. There are sheep around here, even in the woods, so keep dog on the lead! After a short while you'll see a metal gate (a garden type gate) on the left. Go through this and follow the path through fields and then through woods back to Chatsworth Road.

Cross Chatsworth Road and turn left until you reach another footpath leading down to the river Derwent. Follow this past allotments back to Peak Village. Be warned that this path can flood (2 boot fulls today!). Be prepared to walk round the flood and climb a 5 bar gate back to get back into Peak Village car park.

This walk was lovely today, with the trees heavy with frost. In clearer weather there are probably some nice views of the valley below.

Some off lead opportunities. I'd recommend it if you'd rather take the dog for a walk than follow your partner round the shopping outlets!

Click here for map

Doggy rating 6/10 (the dog says it's worth a 10/10 in comparison with Peak Village)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Roddlesworth Woods and Water Walk

Muddy walk in parts but good paths throughout. Lots of off-lead potential. A great place to visit and only 20 minutes from the centre of Preston.

Well, I said I'd be back to have a second look at Roddlesworth so today we headed to the Roddlesworth visitor centre at Tockholes, on the West Pennine Moors. We followed the "Woods and Water" trail which is marked on the maps at the visitor centre. The walk takes you through the woods, past two of the reservoirs, across a dam and back up the side of the river to your start point. The walk gives glimpses of Darwen Tower and towards the moors around Winter Hill but is essentially dominated by woodland views and views across the reservoirs (which looked as if they were teeming with trout - must try them one day). One point to note is that one you've circled the two reservoirs, keep the river to your left and walk upstream (past some great river features) to a stone bridge where your route back to the visitor centre is signposted.

The visitor centre has a cafe and toilets - the mince pies and coffees are good!

Doggy rating 9/10

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Roddlesworth Woods from Slipper Lowe Car Park

1.5 hours. Rough ground, muddy, very steep in parts. One stile which has a big gap underneath which Springer sized dogs (and a bit bigger) will have no trouble getting through.

Park up at Slipper Lowe picnic site, near Tockholes village. From here, walk through the gap in the fence beside the car park and follow a very muddy path through the woods, fairly close to the road, until you reach the visitor centre car park. The track thus far can be entirely off lead. Loads of fun and mud for your dog!

Go over the stile and turn left down the hill on a good path. At the junction, turn left again, following the footpath sign marked "Nature Trail". At this point, my dog decided to do a "u turn" and chase after a couple of four legged friends. All the roast beef tit bits in the world would not bring him back so we played a while on the footpath.

Assuming you too don't get caught up in endless playing keep on this path for a mile or so until you reach a gate and a stone bridge. Don't cross the bridge, our walk continues up the side of the river.

After a hundred yards you'll see a consessionary footpath fork right back down beside the river. Take this muddy path and follow it all the way to a small single stone bridge. At this point, if you follow the path it ends up back on the road and you will have some fairly unpleasant walking back to the car park. To avoid this, don't cross the bridge but climb the very steep hill to your left to its highest point. There is not much of a path but trust me, keep going to the highest point and you'll rise out of the woods to a bit of open moorland with wonderful views back to Preston.

At the top of the hill there is an obvious track leading down the other side. Follow this and on reaching the stone bridleway turn right and then left at a gate to bring you back to your starting point.

This is a wonderful walk which, provided you trust your dog to come back to you rather than play with others and not to jump at random passers by, can be done entirely off lead. Woods, water, open moorland, views. This has it all.

We'll be back to explore the other offerings in the area over Christmas!

Click here for Google Map:

Click here for some photos of the area taken by a Southport photographer, Lisa Edwards

Doggy rating 8/10

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bee Lane and Playing Fields off Kingsfold Drive

About an hour or maybe more if you take your time on the park. Flat lane walking with some off lead opportunities on the park at Kingsfold Drive. Some traffic so lead advised.

This is a variation of our usual local walk around Bee Lane, but providing a chance for the dog to have a run around on open space next to Penwotham Community Centre on Kingsfold Drive.

Start at the roundabout on the junction of Leyland Road, The Causey (leading to the new estates by the gas works) and Bee Lane.

A pleasant stroll up Bee Lane. Train spotters can have their entertainment on the bridge above the railway - great views of trains I'm told! Keep going for half a mile or or so. Poo bin is provided at the crossroads about half a mile down the lane.

On reaching the crossroads turn right down the footpath and in a few hundred yards you will see a muddy path leading off to a large playing field on the left. The field is really muddy at this time of year so be warned - boots essential! Your dog can have a good run on the field but keep away from the road, car park, play area and kids football pitch.

Today, we returned by the same route.

Doggy rating 5/10 (the addition of the playing fields raises the rating from 4/10)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Penwotham Holme Riverside Stroll

This walk from Penwortham Holme and downstream along the banks of the Ribble is a really easy walk, which is suitable for old, infirm, pushchairs and wheelchairs. There is usually easy parking and, provided your dog is happy to mix with plenty of others and you keep an eye out of any occasional traffic along this pedestrianised road, there are off lead opportunities.

Park up by the allotments at Penwortham Holme, next to the road bridge over the Ribble at the bottom of Fishergate Hill. The route is obvious, along a tree lined road, with wide grassy verges and occasional benches if you want to stop and rest a while. The road leads for a mile or so, to a large electricity distribution station. Traffic is very light and the road is closed to public traffic.

I always think this is quite an unusual walk, it's like a grand but out of place victorian promenade. The keen and able can continue on a riverside path beside Penwortham Golf Club, all the way to Longton Marshes if you wish.

Doggy rating 5/10

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hurst Grange Park, Penwortham

Hurst Grange Park is Penwortham's main park. The park has an interesting mix of woodland, open grass areas and wildlife ponds. There are loads of great off-lead opportunities. Make sure you have plenty of treats so you can recover your dog from the many opportunities he/she will find to play with other four legged friends!

Hurst Grange Park has never failed to provide a fun trip out. Our normal route starts out from the car park on Hill Road. Cross the road and go through a gap in the fence through the woods and on to open grassy space. Here your dog can run around to their hearts content. In autumn, the leaves from the trees provide excellent entertainment value!

When you've had enough, head straight on and down to a boggy area (may be a stream in wet weather). Bear left and go over a bridge and through the trees to an open field. In summer, this is left to become a wonderful grassy meadow, but is quite muddy and open at this time of year. After a couple of circuits of the field explore some of the paths leading through the trees and you'll come across some of the park's wildlife ponds.

Wander at your leisure, eventually making your way back to the car park.

Further information and directions

Doggy rating 8/10 for a fun few hours.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hoghton Bottoms and River Darwen Gorge

Very muddy in parts. Steep drops by the gorge so keep you dog and kids under control. There are 2 4ft stiles on this walk. May be some off lead opportunities in the woods but keep to the footpaths as shooting takes place on the estate.

Park up by the chapel on Chapel Lane (easier parking than at the bottom) and walk down the lane to Viaduct Road. Turn down Viaduct Road and follow it for half a mile or so until you see a footpath fork off to the right. These lanes are quiet but there is some light traffic so keep your dog on a lead.

Walk along the footpath past numerous clean up after your dog signs (clearly there has been a problem here at some time) and under the impressive railway viaduct. The views up the gorge here are quite impressive but unfortunately there is a fair amount of rubbish that has accumulated during times of spate. The river Darwen is though much cleaner than in the past when it used to change colour dependant on the dye being used in the mills!

Follow the path up the river until you reach a stile (small dogs may just get underneath). Go over the stile and through the field (watch for sheep) until you reach another stile leading into the woods. If you look over the river you'll see where the Hoghton Tower estate breeds their pheasants. The ducks on the river are further targets for the shoot. Please make sure your dog doesn't become a target - keep it on the lead near livestock!

Go up through the woods (very steep and muddy in parts) and, in autumn, have a play in the fallen leaves.

When we reached the next stile we retraced our steps, stopping for a paddle to wash off the stinking mud!

I liked this walk. So did the dog!

Map and details of a circular walk which takes in part of what we did today (which we'll try one day)

Doggy rating 6/10

Chatsworth Park (Derbyshire)

Lots of options for a gentle stroll or a longer hike. Open fields, rivers, woods, hills - Chatsworth Park has them all. On the down side, it's about 1 hr 45 minutes from Preston and there's a dogs on leads policy throughout the estate.

Our visit yesterday started out at Carlton Lees car park (it was free when we visited but there is now a charge for this car park on some days). From the car park, cross the road and head down to the river. In summer, this must be one of the busiest spots in Derbyshire, with kids paddling and adults basking in the sun. In winter, it's relatively quiet on week days but please observe the dogs on leads policy (our dog was not very impressed by the rule). Follow the river up to the bridge and then bear left and across the main road. Head up to the woods and back to Carlton Lees car park. This circular walk involves no stiles and takes about an hour and a half at a gentle pace. If you want refreshments take a trip over the bridge to the house or visit the cafe at Carlton Lees garden centre.

Lots of information is available on the Chatsworth web site

Doggy rating 5/10 (because of the dogs on leads policy)