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.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Loughrigg Terrace, Loughrigg Tarn, High Close and Loughrigg Fell

Another out of county trip but worth the drive from Preston. Allow about 5 hours for this one. Very rough and steep in parts. Lots of shorter and easier options available though.

We enjoyed a day off today and caught what could be the first of the spring sunshine in the Lake District. I almost feel like I've caught the sun!

We parked at the National Trust car park at Rydal (£4.80 per car per day but all the money goes to support much of the Landscape you'll walk on and view) and made our way towards Rydal Water on the woodland track that leads from the car park. Crossing the wooden bridge, we followed the Loughrigg Terrace path to Rydal Caves. The views from here were wonderful. We didn't go into the caves themselves as signs warned of a recent rockfall (don't they always) and the cave floor was largely under water.

After a quick stop for a coffee we headed up over the tops and down to Loughrigg Tarn. Another wonderful spot. There were some dogs of the lead here but signs did warn owners to keep their dogs on the lead, and we obeyed. After a quick lunch we followed the track to the road leading up to High Close YHA and had a short detour through the woods next to the Youth Hostel where some off lead opportunuities arose.

There followed a really really steep climb to the trig point at the summit of Loughrigg Fell, where once again we enjoyed some great views (still in the sunshine) before descending down the steep fellside back to Rydal Water and Grasmere.

Grasmere proved to be great for paddling which cleaned off any mud accumulated along the way. A few open fields along the path leading back to the car park allowed for a final run around before we got back to the car. The dog was (and still is) dog tired. Bless!

Not the best google map today but, for what it's worth, click here

Doggy rating 7/10 (because of the limited off lead opportunities for a wayward 9 month old). 8/10 for Dogs Dad!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Croston and the Dull Lanes!

Todays walk sounds a bit dull but it's ok if you want a walk with easy access. We passed several families with pushchairs who had no trouble coping with the paved lanes. There is some traffic to the farms so make sure your dog is under control.

We started our walk from the centre of Croston near Town Road and walked down a little footpath along Chapel Lane. The footpath crosses a small bridge and brings you to Dinkhouse Road. We followed a circuit round Turflands, Carr Lane, Sumners Lane and Moss Lane. We did actually have a bit of a detour off the lanes, crossing the railway tracks for a walk along a ditch (interesting not!) and back again to add some variety.

Dog kept clean which was the main thing!

Crostron itself is nice, worth a wander round. Click here for a map.

Doggy rating 5/10

Roddlesworth Woods and Jubilee (Darwen) Tower

Another visit to Roddlesworth, a great place to visit with your dog. See earlier posts for the woods and water walks. The route up to the tower is very very steep and rough in parts. No stiles but lots of sheep.

Yesterdays walk began at Slipper Lowe car park. There was some kind of dog club meet in the car park - a "jumping" fence was set up and a few people were practicing stays and recalls. Strange place to practice - not quite like Gregson Lane dog club! If anyone knows which club meets in the car parks of Roddlesworth feel free to comment!

We had an hour to two wandering through the various woodland trails, including the ruins of Hollinswood Hall. Great fun! Once the cloud had lifted we headed for the visitor centre car park (where the cafe is) and up the signposted bridleway to the Jubilee Tower or Darwen Tower as I've always know it. The route up is clearly marked but very steep in parts. Signs warn you to keep your dog on a lead as the sheep are heavily pregnant.

The top gives fantastic views - we could see Blackburn close by, Preston in the distance (Deepdale always stands out), and in the far Distance, Blackpool Tower.
it was though a bit too windy to stay for long so we retraced our steps, turning left along an access land footpath once we came out of the tree lined path. This led through a farmyard and back to the road where a short walk along the woodland edge took us back to the car park.

Roddlesworth is a great place to vist. Check out previous posts for map and links.

Doggy rating 8/10

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal : Wheelton to the M65

A bit late posting this one. Sundays walk took us along a nice flat(ish) stretch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Wheelton, near Chorley.

We parked up near the Malthouse Farm pub (lots of parking) off Moss Lane, Wheelton. A short walk down the lane led us to the canal towpath and we walked expectantly towards the locks of Johnsons Hillock, a placed that I've meant to visit for some time.

Unfortunately, as we appoached the bottom locks I noticed the builders fencing, blocking the towpath and our route forward. For now at least, our planned route forward up the towpath was on hold! Not to be deterred, we found a way on a path over the canal and on to Dark Lane. A footpathless walk led us up the hill and left back to rejoin the canal further up the flight of locks.

A very pleasant walk passed the top locks, the inviting Top Lock pub (must pay a trip sometime) and the many moored canal boats of Wheelton Boat Club. The towpath continues with views over the River Lostock and onwards past Withnell Fold nature reserve. The Reserve was close due to unstable trees after the recent storms but we made a mental note to return here.

On reaching the M65 we did an about turn and retraced our steps, through numerous hail storms, to the car. Despite the weather there were plenty of people about, including quite a few roving pike fisherman (we saw them catch one). The towpath past the boat club provides plenty of off-lead opportunities.

Click here for a Google map / image

Click here for some pictures of the area from the excellent geograph website

All in all, a nice walk and one we'll come back to many times I'm sure.

Doggy rating 7/10

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A walk around Preston Docks

Easy flat walking on good paths. Some off-lead walking on the riverside path next to the River Ribble. About an hour.

For the many people who seem to google the distance around Preston docks it's 1.46 miles using the footpath which leads round the main basin, crossing on the main road/rail bridge! This walk is a little further.

Todays walk was nice and gentle. We parked at the Bullnose (car park at Preston Docks and followed the signposted riverside footpath along the banks of the Ribble. Unlike our experience of the stretch downstream from the Bullnose this was a nice walk. Perhaps todays sunshine had some positive impact but the steep banks (you can see the old ship moorings in parts) prevent a build up of tidal rubbish and I expect that this had a major part to play. Strangely for a walk so close to the City and the busy Dock area, we passed only a handful of other people along this peaceful riverside stretch.

After a mile or so a signed path leads across the railway tracks to the docks. We completed our trip with a walk past the cinema, up the opposite side past Morrisons and past the Preston Marina and its coffee shop. On a sunny day it gets busy here, but it was pleasant enough and gave us a chance to practice walking at "heel".

A nice clean walk for a change.

Click here for Google map

Click here for more information about Preston Docks

Doggy rating 5/10

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A walk up Rivington Pike and Winter Hill

A tough one! About 3 to 4 hours allowing for sniffing time en-route. Lots of steep climbs and VERY boggy ground when wet. Poor paths in part. Do not do this walk in bad weather unless you know what you're doing and always go prepared for the weather to turn. Some stiles over which you will HAVE to lift your dog. Lots of sheep so not too many off-lead opportunities. Signs on entering the estate say that 5 sheep have already dies this year because of uncontrolled dogs. Keep your dog on a lead for the whole route at this time of year.

Todays walk started at Rivington Barn, near Horwich. Open fields next to the long driveway provide a good chance for an off lead run and play before the walk starts. In summer, hundreds of bikers meet up round hear so be prepared for it to be busy and park on the driveway, not at the barn car park itself! We walked up the terraced path to Rivington pike but there are lots of routes to choose from. The path up is steep but the views from the top are great. Watch out for mountain bikers tearing down the hillside!

From the pike's tower, we retraced our steps to the road/track that crosses below and (after seeking out the letterbox hidden in the area) headed North towards the road that crosses the moor between Belmont and Rivington. A mile or along this path a moorland track over a wooden footbridge (to cross the mud!) and stile led us up to the masts of Winter Hill. From the top, we took the obvious path North (very steep and boggy) to the road at Horden Stoops. Crossing the road, a footpath beside the river yarrow led us to some ruined farm houses and then back to the road. A short path over Moses Cockers (lots of stiles!) led us back to the Barn.

This was a good walk but we wished the wind had eased a little. As usual, the dog was filthy when we got back to the car but still had the energy for another game of fetch.

Not a great map here. You should have an os map for this walk and a compass if the cloud descends.

(Update April 2010) You can download a book with everything you could ever wish to know about Winter Hill from Dave Lane's website here. All profits from the full download or paper versions go to Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.

Doggy rating 6/10 - would have been more but I think he'd have like to have been off the lead at times and having nearly been yanked off stiles a few times I certainly wish he had been!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cuerden Valley Park and the Green Man

A great place for dogs and walkers. Lots of off lead opportunities but watch out for livestock in the fields and cyclists on the cycle track that runs through the park.

Yesterday saw another visit to one of our favourite sites to walk more or less the full length of the park and to take in the "Green Man" overlooking Buckshaw Village. Allow about 2 hours, or more if you want to play en-route.

We started at the Barn visitors centre, next to Cuerden Hall, and walked through the Pinetum and across a new footbridge across the river. Following the footpath / cycle track as far as it goes, crossing the main road that cuts the park in two, took us to the car park at the very south end of the park. We took a little detour here to a path that leads west of Whittle but soon returned to the car park.

Retracing back through the park a short way we took a path forking off to the left next to the pond. This led up through fields to the quarry/landfill site. We followed the quarry road (may be busy during week days) and over a stile. Taking the path up the hill directly opposite (over Dawson Lane) leads you to a man made hill overlooking the Buckshaw Village site. This used to be the site of the Ordnance Factory and is still shown as such on the Google satellite photo at the time of writing this. It's now developing into a huge new housing/commercial estate. There are great views from here over the Lancashire coast, over Preston and beyond. Follow the crest of the hill to the Green Man sculpture. Well worth the diversion.

Having taken in the view we walked back to the quarry and followed a very muddy footpath between the quarry and the golf course. The path exits onto a housing estate where you follow the road for a very short way back on to SheepHill lane. We walked back down the hill and along another muddy path on the West side of the river (quieter than the main footpath and cycle track). This path eventually gave out by the river and some stepping stones. The river was too deep to cross so we improvised and followed the West bank until we reached a log which just about got us over safely.

A short trip back over the bridge took us back to our starting point.

Very close to the M6 and ideal for a stop-off if you're travelling.

Map and website
Click here for a Google map / photo

Doggie rating 8/10

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Preston Docks to Savick Brook Riverside Walk

Muddy in places. Hazards include some walking next to unfenced motorbike / quadbike scramble tracks. Lots of rubbish and some fly tipping.

You know when your curiosity gets the better of you and you try a walk that you expect will be pretty miserable? Well, yesterday I did just that but was actually surprised at just how horrible it was.

We parked on Preston Docks and walked up to the Bullnose, fine so far, before crossing over the lock gates and following the footpath marked "Riverside Walk to Engine House". This paved path led us beside the River Ribble and tar waggons on the railway sidings before turning into a muddy riverside footpath beside the Trax motorsport centre.

I had not realised just how vast this Trax site was. If you're in to motorsport you'll love it - tarmacked tracks, dirt tracks, it seems to have them all. Unfortunately for the dog walker there are parts of the site where all that separates you and your dog from the track is a bit of rope. There were only a few little kids, supervised by parents, on the track yesterday. I would not like to be here when it's busy! Having said that, it looks like a great facility for enthusiasts and I'd much rather they raced trials/quad bikes here than on public footpaths.

Unfortunately, the route was also heavily lettered with rubbish from the river (why do people think rubbish thrown into the river will just vanish) as well as a spot of fly tipping. The graffiti near to Preston Docks was also pretty unsightly.

We walked as far as Savick Brook before retracing our steps. The only plus point about this walk was the fact that we found a perfect World Cup 2002 football washed up near Savick Brook which kept us both distracted until we got back to the car.

I'd not bother with this walk in winter but maybe it takes on a different feel in Spring / Summer when the undergrowth thickens and covers the unsightly mess.

Click here for a Google map / image

Doggy rating 3/10 (because of the football find)