Freckleton

 

 

This walk starts in what must be the saddest corner in Lancashire. In August 1944 two USAAF Liberators took off on a morning test flight from Warton Aerodrome. Flight control realised that the weather conditions had suddenly changed and a violent storm was approaching so recalled the aircraft. As one of the planes “Classy Chassis” attempted to battle with the wind its wing clipped the top of trees and it crashed into the centre of Freckleton Village causing extensive damage and loss of life. Tragically the infants’ wing of Holy Trinity CofE primary school was engulfed in flames when fuel from the ruptured tanks caught fire. 38 children and 6 adults died in the school out of a death toll of 61. It is difficult to conceive of anything worse – in a blink a generation had been erased. Village, school and aerodrome are still there and the tragic events of 70 years ago have left no visible mark apart from the memorial in the churchyard. This walk starts in the village centre and takes you past the end of the runway of the aerodrome used to test modern combat aircraft built at nearby Bae. Finally it joins the Lancashire Coastal Way before returning to the village. 

 

Start: Freckleton Village car park PR4 1PB close to the library.

Fact file

Distance: 4 miles 6k

Time: 2 hours 

Grade: Easy.

Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool & Preston

 

Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


Directions:  The memorial is to the rear of Holy Trinity Church on Lytham Road.

 

The cruciform plot with a tall pillar cross covers the site of the mass grave of 38 children, two teachers and seven civilians who were buried there.

 

It is a place to ponder on the meaning of life and other matters. 

Leaving the churchyard at the side gate

 

leading into Trinity Close turn right onto Preston Old Road

 

pass the Coach and Horses pub and keep ahead to a mini roundabout.

 

Here turn right onto Naze Lane East. There now follows a road walk that takes you alongside Warton's main runway

 

and then as Stoney Lane turns south.

 

Now on Bush Lane  pass the end of Cherry Lane and follow the bend to the right signalling the start of Pool Lane. As this approaches the aerodrome buildings

 

turn left at the next junction. The lane now downgraded to a track

 

comes to an end at a stile

 

leading onto the Lancashire Coastal Path.

 

Before you are the banks of the River Ribble.  Cross the stile and turn left onto a path which can be muddy

 

after prolonged spells of rain and follow it close to an embankment for a little over half a mile. After a stile a sign post points inland.

 

Climb up the embankment to reach a large field. To the right there is a trig point

 

perched above the confluence of the Ribble and Freckleton Pool. This is Naze Point and it provides a fine view despite the fact it is just a few feet above the river level. Across the river is another confluence where the River Douglas enters the Ribble. To the right of the Douglas lies Hesketh Out Marsh the RSPB's newly created reserve; to the left of the Douglas lies Longton Marsh.

The way back to Freckleton is easy.  With your back to the river aim for the far left corner of the field.

 

Cross a stile into an enclosed path.

 

After Naze Cottage on the right turn right and then left to follow

 

the hedgerow on the right.  After a tall metal railings on the left

 

bear right onto a drive that passes between buildings

 

to take you through the boatyard.

 

300yds after the boatyard turn left

 

to join Preston Old Road and the village centre.

POI Freckleton Half Marathon: This is the oldest half marathon in the UK and this year celebrates its Golden Jubilee on 21st June. Inspired by Ron Hill's marathon performance in the 1964 Olympics the village Sports Committee decided it would stage a race on the 19th June 1965. Ron Hill was invited to enter which he did winning the race. Having set the course record he broke it in 1969 with a time of 64m44s which has not be bested since. 
 

The Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust. This charity which aims to preserve the heritage of Ribble Motor Services which was at one time one of Britain's largest bus companies has a depot on the Naze Lane East Industrial Estate. See www.rvpt.co.uk for further information.

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