Here is an area that even in Lancashire tends to be overlooked yet offers the walker much by way of attractive landscape, historical interest and superb views.

Fact file

Start. Denham Hill Quarry Car park PR6 8NF


Distance 5 ½ miles 9k

Time: 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours

Grade: Moderate. (Mud alert: after prolonged spells of rainfall some fields will be soggy)

Maps: Unfortunately the route is on the cusp of three maps OS Explorer 285 Southport and Chorley, OS OL286 Blackpool & Preston and OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. Once you have your maps sorted out go through the metal gate at the rear of the car park


for a close up view of the crags created by the old quarry workings.


Go left to follow the path to a junction where by going right you can reach the top of Hough Hill and its trig point.


My regular readers will be familiar with the sentence that follows this one. This is one of the finest viewpoints in Lancashire! Once you have had your fill of the great sweeping panorama retrace your steps to the bottom of the hill and turn right on a track that brings you to Denham Lane.


Turn left. Pass through the descriptively named hamlet of Top o' the Lane and just beyond a telephone box


now housing a defibrillator and book swap cross a stile ahead on the bend. Here is another modest height giving an air of elevation over the surrounding countryside. Across the fields Brindle will come into sight - where this part of the route will take you. Keep straight ahead at first with the field boundary to the left and


then after a stile near a metal gate with a fence line on the right. The path dips to a corner.


Here cross a stile and plank bridge and then aim to the rear of buildings on the left - Brindle's CofE primary school. The path runs alongside the school to bring you to Water Street. Turn left for the village centre.

2. At the junction with Sandy Lane with the Cavendish Arms to the left and the imposing church tower to the right turn right.


After 150 yds. turn right


through a residential drive (Opposite Cross Keys Barn) to access a footpath


that crosses a vast field converging with a hedge on the left. In the next field keep the hedge on the left and aim for Marsh Lane Farm. When you reach Marsh Lane by way of a stile turn left. Keep on Marsh Lane for a little over 200 yards and then cross a stile on the right. With the fence line to the right


edge along another large field to reach a stile followed by plank bridge.


Following the direction of the waymark sign cross diagonally left to the far corner below the low embankment of the Leeds Liverpool Canal.


To access the canal cross the stile here and continue to the next one on the right


where you reach the tow path close to bridge 90. Now put these directions away until you reach bridge 85 just under 1 ½ miles away. This happens to be a particularly attractive stretch of the waterway as in wends its way past the industrial settlement of Withnell Fold with its tall chimney stack


and through woodland.

3. Bridge 85 is distinctly different from all the bridges encountered thus far in that the span is metal rather than stone.


Just before it turn right over a stile and descend to a footbridge over Whave's Brook.


As you cross the stream


just reflect that it carved out the impressive valley it runs through to join Slack Brook and become the River Lostock. On the far side bear left to cross a smaller bridge


over a feeder watercourse and then climb a stile at the top of a steep slope. Now in vast rolling landscape


keep ahead aiming for Denham Hall the cluster of buildings to the west. After crossing an intervening field corner by two stiles

aim for a metal gate by a barn.


Through this pass the complex and hall to a wooden stile next to a metal gate


close to the garden wall of the hall. Follow the path slightly left along the hedge. A track develops and becomes more pronounced


as you descend the hill and enter the next field. When this swings right follow it to Birchin Lane. Turn right. After ¼ mile reach the junction with Denham Lane and the motorway bridge to the left.


Go straight across to pick up a footpath


that climbs over a spur of Denham Hill and then drops to scattered woodland on the far side. Here cross a stile


to turn right to once more climb Denham Hill. Keep on it at first with a fence to the right. After a second stile aim for a metal gate


leading onto Holt lane. Turn left for the car park.