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, April 29, 2007

A simple walk from Croston

This is a pleasant walk from Croston on mainly good footpaths and lanes including the recently landscaped Ulnes Walton Landfill site (don't be put off). There is about a quarter of a mile of fairly unpleasant road walking to finish and the route crosses quite a few stiles and a railway crossing. Allow an hour and a half.

We started our walk from the centre of Croston at the free car park on Out Lane. Follow the lane out of Croston past the school and along a pleasant footpath to Moor Road. Cross Moor Road carefully and turn right to Ridley Lane. Follow the lane past the farms (where we met another lovely looking ESS called Meg) until you reach the entrance to the recently re-landscaped landfill site. Don't be put off by this, it looks quite pleasant and cattle graze happily. There are though a lot of strange looking pipes protruding from the ground.

At the entrace to the old landfill site you'll see a stile and footpath to the left. Take this and immediately cross another stile on to the rubble road bordered by young trees. This is a good spot to let your dog run free. Follow the track to its end and take the gate on the LEFT (don't head for the railway crossing to your right - it's not a footpath and there's a locked gate on the other side of the tracks) and walk alongside a ditch to another stile and a railway crossing. Carefully cross the tracks and head along another footpath to a bridge over the river. (There were loads of young steers in this field who took a real shine to the dog - it wasn't a mutual feeling!) Turn left and follow the river back to Bretherton Road leading back in to Croston.

If you want a plesant extension follow the river Lostock upstream from Ridley lane for a while and try feeding the occasional large chub with your doggy treats!

Click here for Google map and image

Doggy rating 6/10

Saturday, April 28, 2007

River Lostock and Farington Woods

Today we took a short stroll along generally well made paths and through open fields close to Leyland Lane / Centurian Way in Farington. Our route took about an hour including time for a spot of fetch. This area is currently the subject of some contoversey, being close to where the proposed Waste Plant is to be built for for now it remains pleasant enough. I lived very close to a waste incineration plant in my youth in Exeter (which was also near to prime dog walking territory) and I have to say it didn't bother me at the time.

Our walk started on Leyland Lane where it crosses the river Lostock just north of Golden Hill Lane. A signposted footpath led us alongside the river past a fairly new estate and on to Mill Lane. A small footpath leads over the river and you can continue along Mill Lane to its juntion close to Centurian way. Although it's marked as a "lane" it must have been some while since it saw any traffic - it's more of a woodland path which probably sees the odd motorbike.

At the junction we followed the obvious wide "track" to the right which led to the edge of Farington Woods. Quite a pleasant walk past the woods took us to some open fields which provided the dog with plenty of opportunity for a mad run around.

Finally, we made our way back to the bridge and watched the owners of a large escaped pet parrot try to coax it down from a tree (yes they did manage it!)before returning back to Leyland Lane.

Click here for google map / image

Goggy rating 5/10

Monday, April 09, 2007

The best dog walks around Preston (to date!)

The blog's been going for nearly 6 months now and given it's bank holiday weekend I thought I'd reflect on the best places we've visited over the past 6 months. Every walk we've done has been graded on a 1 to 10 scale (10 being unbeatable)taking into account the enjoyment for me and, importantly, the dog!

No walks so far have scored higher than 8. This shouldn't suggest that there aren't some lovely walks to be had, it's a reflection of my quest for the absolutely perfect walk. Some of the walks scored 8 are probably near perfect dependant on the time you have available.

So, in no particular order, the top dog walks we've done to date are:

- Hurst Grange Park (Penwortham). A large local park with woodland, grassy fields and ponds. An excellent local amenity.

- Cuerden Valley Park. A large country park with great access from the motorway. Woodlands, fields and streams all combine to make this a great place to visit.

- Roddlesworth Woods. On the edge of the West Pennine moors but only 15 minutes drive from Preston. Woods, reservoirs, open moorland and a lovely cafe make this is a great place to visit with well marked walks for most abilities.

- White Coppice and Great Hill. A potentially challenging moorland walk which has limited opportunities for off lead walking if sheep are grazing but is still well worth a trip for the amazing views across Lancashire.

- St Annes Beach. A great place for a good run around in winter. Note that dogs are banned from some areas during summer.

Our first blogged walk, around Malham Cove and Tarn, also scored an 8/10 but it's a fair treck from Preston so not in my top 5 to date.

Enjoy the walks if you try them.

Longton Brickcroft

A lovely place for a stroll. It takes about half an hour to walk round the whole site but could easily be combined with some of the footpaths in the area or a wander in to Longton. Easy access, flat with good paths. Suitable for pushchair and wheelchair access in most parts.

The Brickcroft is an award winning nature reserve on the site of a former brick works. Don't let its past put you off, the site is now a haven for wetland and woodland wildlife. There are two main lakes on the site. A very good path circles the south lake and takes in part of the north lake. Routes are clearly signed/marked so you'll not get lost!

On the down side, because this is a nature reserve you must keep your dog on the lead. If you follow the path past the North lake and turn left when you exit this footpath on to the road you'll walk past a small park which provides an opportunity for a game of fetch! You can follow the road from here back to the entrance to the Brickcroft.

Longton Brickcroft is very well signposted from the A59 near Longton and well worth a visit.

The Longton Online website has some interesting background to the site.

Doggy rating 7/10 when combined with a run in the park (for a gentle stroll)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Middleforth Park, Lower Penwortham

A good spot for a quick stroll and a game of fetch!

Middleforth Park is the open space that lies beside Leyland Road and Marshalls Brow. Although the park isn't huge it does provide plenty of space for a run around and a stroll through the large grassy fields and trees.

Plenty of dog walkers use the park as part of their daily routine so you may need to watch your dog if, like ours, he/she is one of those that loves to play regardless of whether other dogs show any interest. The park is bordered by busy roads on 2 sides so make sure you don't get close, and keep your dog on a lead if you have any worries at all.

Not really a place to make a special trip to but recommended for a quick walk if you're in the area or passing through after a trip in to Preston.

Doggy rating 5/10

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Wilderswood and Winter Hill

Another route up Winter Hill, this time from Wilderswood, Horwich. Lots of very rough open moorland with sheep around. Not a walk for bad weather. Boots with good ankle support essential!

We parked at the small car park next to Wilderswood. You're already quite high up here so the climb itself isn't very tough. The woods themselves were close when we visited yesterday for forestry work but I'd imagine they'd make a lovely start to the walk. We wandered up the rough road to a clearly marked footpath leading off up on the right towards Winter Hill. Be aware the rough road does take some traffic so keep your dog on the lead!

We took a fairly direct route to the main mast site at the top of Winter Hill but you could walk up to the "road" leading to the top and follow this. There is a footpath of sorts but it isn't particularly clear in places. Provided the weather is good just head for the top. If there's any hint of the weather turning make sure you've taken a bearing!

The views from the top are great and given it's such a landmark it's well worth a trip up.

Allow a couple of hours.

Click here for Google Map.

Doggy rating 6/10 because the woods were shut and there were lots of sheep around. Not as nice as the walk up from Rivington but very much easier!

Hoghton Tower, Hoghton Bottoms, Darwen Gorge and Riley Green

We did part of this walk in the autumn but I've been meaning to revisit and make a nice round trip taking in views of Hoghton Tower and the river Darwen. This is a really pleasant walk and not too tough. It can get muddy though and there are a few stiles over which you have to lift your dog. Allow a couple of hours.

We parked outside the Boars Head pub in Hoghton and walked up the Hill to the impressive main drive leading up to the Tower. The first section of the drive is a public footpath so you can safely wander up here to one of the lodge where the drive is clearly marked private. Turn left along a small lane and on to fields next to the boundary wall. This path has pleasant views and leads to a stile and some plesant woodlands. The path leads down through the woods and then crosses the railway line where the old Hoghton Railway Station used to be. You can make out where it would have been sited but little remains. Turn right after crossing the tracks and follow the path to Houghton Bottoms. The path leads on past the houses and under the very impressive viaduct over the river Darwen gorge (keep dog on lead here as there's a very very steep drop)

A pleasant path leads by the river leading to a further stile and a field full of sheep. Be warned! From this field take the main track up right through the trees and follow it all the way back to the road near Riley Green. Walk along the main road for a short while to the Royal Oak (refreshments if needed!) and take the road up past the pub car park and back over fields to the Drive of Houghton Tower.

All in all a lovely walk. Recommended. Not too many off lead opportunities but very nice all the same.

Click here for Google maps of the area

Doggy rating 7/10