Start/finish: Crooke, near Wigan WN6 8LR
Time: 3½ - 4½ hours
Map: OS Explorer 285 Southport and Ormskirk
1. With the Leeds-Liverpool Canal on the left join a footpath that starts at the end of a terrace of houses.
As this reaches open fields follow a broad track
as it bends to the right and then reaches the edge of Ridges Wood. Keep on the track for a further 250yds until it comes to the modern housing development of Oakwood Meadows.
Joining Vicarage Lane keep ahead at Gathurst Lane crossing to a public footpath
between houses. When this reaches another road (Naylorfarm Avenue) cross to a path
that leads to a footbridge over the M6 motorway.
continues crossing Gathurst golf course on a waymarked route taking you to a kissing gate at a field corner.
Through this follow the fence to the right to a gate.
Beyond the gate turn left on a broad surfaced track
and then right onto an enclosed path
accessed by a wooden gate. This leads to the edge of a housing estate at Shevington Vale.
Turn right on Broadriding Road
and then after Knightscliffe Crescent on the left turn left onto a footpath between houses
leading to open ground alongside the railway.
Keep on the path to a junction.
Turn right. The path leads onto a road
and soon after reaches Mill Lane.
3. Turn left and after 150yds turn right onto a path
following a stream through woodland. 250yds in turn left climbing up a rise
where a strong metal fence denies any temptation to dive into the icy waters of East Quarry. When the track reaches a modern housing development
follow the road to the left climbing an incline then turn left onto a track
on the north side of the quarry. Keep on this to reach Appley Lane North.
Turn right. Just before a road junction turn left onto a footpath by the corner of house number 104.
The footpath leads across fields with a fine view of the Douglas Valley opening up to the left. At a drive
turn right and then left resuming a westward direction.
At the next lane continue straight across
to a path
leading into the Fairy Glen a well-known West Lancashire beauty spot famed for its bluebells especially at this time of year. The path leads down through trees, bear left
and down to a footbridge and turn left to exit the woods
at an awkward ladder stile. Resume the westwards direction across an open field . After another stile
cross a large field with boundary on the left, to a stile leading into a green lane
which can be extremely muddy after wet weather. This leads onto a broad farm track.
After passing through a property
turn left at the next junction
on a track that crosses the railway and
leads to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
put away these directions and walk back to Crooke. You will get there… eventually. After a mile pass through the southern end of Appley Bridge. In a further 1 ½ miles arrive at the dramatic configuration of river, canal, railway and motorway.
POI The Leeds-Liverpool Canal. The people of Wigan had to campaign vociferously to have the main route of the canal to pass through the town. With the opening up of the coalfields and the demand created by steam powered mills in Blackburn and Burnley, a diversion from the original route suddenly made sense. It wasn't because they had a pier which needed water.