Fairhaven to Freckleton

 

 

Last January when I was in Boots ordering photos I found myself drawn to the screen next to me. The chap there was processing his photographs which were of vintage coaches and buses. “That looks interesting,” I said. Quite quickly we were in conversation and soon found out that Bob was a member of the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust a group of enthusiasts who are dedicated in rescuing and restoring public transport vehicles – but particularly those used by Ribble Motor Services which was once had one of the largest fleets in the country. He told me that their workshop was close to Freckleton and that their main day was Tuesday – PING! The Dotcom walking day. I wondered whether I could arrange a visit. Bob didn’t think it would be a problem and told me how to get in touch with the Trust’s chairman, Ray. 

 

A few weeks later a horde of Dotcoms arrived at the workshops on a bright sunny morning in March. I was a little uncertain how the Dotcoms would respond to looking around the place especially since I hadn’t prepared them. The routine work of restoration may be absorbing for those involved but it isn’t exactly cinematic. The visit turned out to be very successful – especially since just about every Dotcom walker is of an age to remember the vehicles when they were in service. The Old Bill actually worked as a bus conductor and driver on the buses in late 1940s!

Recently we have had an equally successful return trip the highlight of which was a bus ride to Fairhaven Lake from where we walked back to the depot at Freckleton using the Coastal Path.

Start. Fairhaven Lake FY8 1BD
 

Finish: Freckleton Village Centre PR4 1PB

The 68 bus provides a half hourly service between the two centres.
 

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 3 - 4 hours
 

Grade: Easy

Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool and Preston

 

 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions. The service bus will drop you off on Clifton Drive South by Marine Drive, a short distance from the front. As you reach it cross the promenade. Fairhaven Lake is to the right. Turn left.

 

Out to your right is the Ribble Estuary one of the most important bird watching sites in the UK especially for waders. On our walk back to Freckleton we were delighted to spot a Little Egret. At the end of the road join the path leading right. Soon this brings you to Lytham Green. This is a very popular amenity almost any time of year but particularly in summer. Pass Ribble Cruising Club on the right and immediately after the Lifeboat Station. Dominating the green on the left is of course the windmill.

 

At the end of the green join Preston Road to the left. Keep on it for 600 yards then after Dock Road turn right onto an embankment alongside a tidal creek.

 

The path leads round past Lytham Dock and boatyard

 

to return you to Preston Road on the edge of built-up Lytham. Turn right and in a short distance right again over a stile by a wooden gate to join another embankment.

 

This provides easy walking and a slightly elevated view of the estuary and river.

 

Keep on it for a mile as it sweeps round back to

 

…Preston Road! Again repeat above turn right and immediately right as the way takes you through a property and then after a kissing gate

 

continues to the settlement of Warton Bank.

 

Passing properties to the left join a grassy path

 

which leads past Bae Warton

 

now obvious with its high chain link fence.

The path here has been improved to counter its tendency to mudify after spells of wet weather. Railway sleepers have been laid to assist passage along this section. When (at last) you reach a corner almost ¾ mile after joining the fence keep ahead to cross a wooden bridge.

 

The way continues below a hedge of hawthorn and along a rather litter strewn shoreline.

 

Not the most attractive part of our coast. 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.

The way 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 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.

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