Crooke

 

 

A section of this walk will be familiar to many readers if they have journeyed north on the M6 between junctions 26 and 27. The motorway spans a wide valley with a wooded section of canal and railway close together in the natural corridor of the Douglas Valley. It is one of the more scenic views to be had south of the Lakes. This route will reverse that view putting you on the canal looking up at the fast moving traffic on the motorway. 

 

Fact file
 

Start/finish: Crooke, near Wigan WN6 8LR

 

Distance: 8 miles 13k
 

Time: 3½ - 4½ hours

Summary. Easy
 

Map: OS Explorer 285 Southport and Ormskirk

 

Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 

Directions:

 

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.

 

2. On the far side the footpath

 

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.

4. Cross the bridge and with the placid waters of the canal on your left

 

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. 

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