You can't miss the huge Botany Bay shopping complex just off the M61 near Chorley when driving south from Preston. A little further on the left you'll see the wooded slopes of Healey Nab, which was our final destination for today's walk.
We parked up near the old entrance to Botany Bay, on Knowley Brow. Just near the junction of Blackburn Brow and Botany Brow, we took the bridleway signposted down Bagganley Lane (don't be fooled and head on to the British Waterways mooring site). As we didn't know the areas it was on the lead all the way for us here although some other four legged friends we passed were trotting along happily without restraint.
After half a mile or so we headed left at the junction and over a small bridge before forking left again and through a kissing gate on to open farmland. Fields full of sheep greeted us as we climbed steadily along a well marked path, before reaching another gate and woodland.
We wandered fairly aimlessly along the woodland footpaths of Healey Nab, where the dog was able to run free. We took a rest next to Nab Spout, which is apparently one of the best freshwater springs in the area, but even the didn't partake in a drink. Signs indicated that a mountain bike trail is under construction here and, from what we could see if it, it looks impressive. Once complete I expect the area will be less suitable for off lead dog walking though so watch out! Climbing higher, we soon reached open moorland and the large cairn near the summit. The views were stunning, and the contrast between the urban sprawl of Chorley and Buckshaw and even as far as Merseyside and the wild landscape of the West Pennine Moors behind could not have been greater.
Enthused by the moorland views ahead, we wandered some more towards Anglezarke before heading back in a loop round the woodlands of Healey Nab to the path back to Bagganley Lane.
Overall, a walk of contrasts. Close to the motorway and woods the walk has quite an urban feel. Once higher though it could hardly be more tranquil and you'll feel a million miles away from civilisation.
We were out for about three hours on our walk, which included plenty of time for ball throwing, but you could reach the top and back in much less if you're pushed. While there were no stiles, some paths were steep and muddy.
Doggy rating 6/10 (because a good deal of the walk is on lead)
Click here for google map