Hurst Grange Park
 

Christmas is a time for staying close to home so here is a walk close to my home.

Start. Hurst Grange Park, Penwortham PR1 9BD

 

 

Distance: 5miles 9k

Time: 2 - 3 hours
 

Grade: Easy

Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool & Preston

 

Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 

Directions.

1. From the car park turn right onto Hill Road and then at the lodge turn left into Hurst Grange Park. This is a hidden gem in that its entrance from Cop Lane on the far side is even more obscure than this one. Developed from the grounds of a grand house the formal park was extended southwards to incorporate an area of woodland, ponds and meadows - designated a biological heritage site. Keep on the main path passing the Coach House on your right which the excellent voluntary group Friends of Hurst Grange Park is in the process of raising funds to restore as a visitors centre. (See http://www.hurstgrangecoachhouse.btck.co.uk/) At the children's playground

 

turn left and then bear left to follow a path of sorts that edges along the perimeter. Now in trees drop to a footbridge to the left and then keep ahead through a gap

 

leading into the meadows. Cross these to the far right corner where a metal kissing gate

 

places you on Cycle route 62. Turn right.

 

When you reach Cop Lane turn left crossing the slip road for Golden Way

 

and then right using traffic island to assist you over this busy junction. Turn into Cromwell Road and almost immediately turn left onto a footpath taking you into Oak Avenue. At its end turn left onto Broad Oak Lane. Here you re-join cycle route 62 and keep on it until you reach Liverpool Road. As Broad Oak Lane reaches a conclusion or at least a roundabout follow the cycle path

 

to the right before the roundabout with the Brown Hare on the far side. Keep right to join Bank Top Road.

 

At a convenient place cross to the pavement in front an area of green space. Follow Bank Top Road as it swings left and then at the far side of the park turn left onto a cycle path

 

between trees and a wooden fence. Keep on this as it turns right after 100yds. This leads pass All Hallows Catholic High School

 

into Howick Moor Lane. Keep ahead on the lane until you reach Liverpool Road.

2. Using the end of the central reservation of the dual carriageway section cross Liverpool Road into Howick Cross Lane. The eponymous cross can be seen to the right on the corner. This was of ancient origin and then restored in 1919 to commemorate the peace. After a quarter of a mile turn right onto the farm drive of Howick Hall Farm.

 

When this reaches the gateway to the house bear left to follow the track through the farmyard.

 

After the next gate keep ahead as the track leads down onto the flood plain of the River Ribble. This is a place where the pylon is king yet in not an altogether unattractive way. After a gate

 

keep ahead across a large field and continue alongside a hedge. After passing the United Utilities plant on the right

 

(part of Preston's flood management system) cross a stile and climb steps to arrive on the banks on the River Ribble.

 

3. Turn right on the Ribble Way. After passing Penwortham Golf course the path upgrades to a broad track

 

soon tarmacked as it enters Riverside Park.

 

On the far side of the river first Preston Dock entrance

 

and then St Walberge's Church engage interest. The spire is the tallest of any parish church in the UK. After passing below the new road bridge

 

leave the park

 

and arrive on Liverpool Road. Cross the road (at busy times it may be necessary to cross the bridge and use the traffic lights to assist you) and follow a path down to Penwortham Holme playing fields.

 

Keep on the un-made road until you reach Leyland Road. Again this can be very busy at peak periods so cross with care and turn right and then left into Valley Road.

 

A footbridge over Golden Way

 

will take you to the continuation of Valley Road and back to the entrance of Hurst Grange Park.

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I will take this opportunity to wish all my readers a merry Christmas and hope that Santa has packed your stockings with outdoor gear so you can get out to explore the wonderful countryside in the north west of England.