Happily of course they were not needed, but still provide some added canalside interest once you start looking out for them.
Our route began at Burscough Bridge Interchange, where there is loads of parking adjacent to Tesco. We followed the canal towpath for a few miles until we reached the bridge and road towards Smithy Lane Ends. The towpath walking was good underfoot although there were plenty of fishermen out, with each havibg to move their poles out of the way to allow us to pass.
After a short walk on the road we forked right by a farm shop and headed past nursery yards before picking up a well signposted path across arable farmland towards the railway line and Martin Mere. The flat landscape was rather dull for me, and crops on either side meant the dog was on the lead throughout. However, the walk soon became a little more interesting as we followed a concessionary footpath behind Martin Mere. There were several hides giving views over the wetlands. At this time of year there wasn't too much to see though other than a few uncomfortable looking geese.
We continued to follow signs back to Burscough, across fields and quiet lanes.
Not the most interesting walk we have ever done but maybe one to keep in reserve for a crisp winters day when perhaps there would be more to see in the reserve. The highlights were definitely looking for the odd relic of the the Stop Line. A read of the Lancashire at War website is a must before you visit.