Our route started at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust car park at Mere Sands Wood, tucked away between Rufford and Holmeswood. The car park was jammed but we were lucky to arrive just as someone was leaving, meaning we were quickly on our way.
We followed a path towards Rufford just by the car park entrance, which led through woods and give occasional glimpses of the Mere, glistening in the winter sunshine.
As we reached the edge of Rufford our route took us left and alongside a drain which ultimately led to the canal side.
Turning left again we followed the towpath, past the Marina and Rufford Old Hall before exiting by the bridge to the A581. A short spell of road walking (take care crossing) took us to a bridleway opposite the Rufford Hotel, eventually bringing us back to our start.
Couldn't resist a wander round the nature reserve where dogs on leads are welcome. Unless you visit one of the many hides you'll not see much of the beautiful meres, but it's a great spot.
One to return to.