Astley Park is close to the Centre of Chorley and consists of 43 hectares (that's quite big!) of woodland paths and open fields. The park is easy to find, with a large car park situated next to the well signposted "Astley Hall".
I've driven past Astley Park hundreds of times but never ventured inside. There must be something about miserable wet saturday mornings that inspires me to seek out new places, so with today hailed as one of the wettest of the year to date, I thought we'd have a short drive out to Chorley to take a look.
The main car park was east to find, follow the signs to Astley Hall and you'll find ample parking. I have to say it was a little desolate at 7.00am on a Saturday morning but we soon found a signpost pointing down a little footpath which led into the park and some formal gardens next to bowling greens. We later found that this formal part of the park is a "dogs on leads" zone but happily, as with all our new places, the dog was on the lead anyway until we were sure of our surroundings.
We followed a tarmac path past the bowling greens and over a small stream into the woods. The trees provided some decent shelter from the rain so we followed this park until it reached Southport Road. There was no obvious place to go but to retrace our tracks until we reached a wide freshly laid path leading through the woods on our right. This lovely path took us round the edge of the park, beside fields, pools and a stream, until we came out of the woods near to Park Road. Here, we joined the main tarmac path that rund through the centre of the park and turned left until we reached the main open fields. The Hall was clearly in view on the other side of the fields so we slowly worked our way there, with a little help from our ball, passing by a small lake until reaching the Hall and returning to the car park.
It's clear that Astley Park and Hall have fallen on hard times in the past but signs at the entrance to the park told of Chorley Council's efforts to rejuvinate the park and Hall with the help of a £2m lottery bid. The lovely woodland path we took looked as if it was evidence of this recent investment. It was also clear that a lot of work has been undertaken (and is ongoing) to clear up the stream that runs through the park. There was also a lot of evidence of earthworks near to the Hall. The Hall itslef looks as if it has yet to benefit from a major facelift but it looks as if its time will come.
All in all, Astley Park is a gem. It seems to receive very little publicity but has the potential to be just a nice as the popular Worden park in Leyland. For now though , I suggest that, like us, you enjoy it whilst it's quiet on a wet Saturday morning!
Click here for a Google map / image. The main paths through the park are clear to see. The new woodland path is not visible but skirts through the trees on the South side of the park. The main car park and Hall lie off Hall Gate Lane, in Astley Village.
Doggy rating 7/10