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