St Michael's on Wyre
The River Wyre is the longest river to run entirely in Lancashire. It is 45 k or 28 miles long from its source on the fells above Abbeystead to Morecambe Bay at Fleetwood. The Wyre Way the long distance path that follows it is somewhat longer - 72k 45 miles. This walk picks up the Wyre Way near St Michael’s as part of a pleasant circuit exploring this eastern part of the Fylde Plain.
Start/finish: St. Michael's Village Hall car park.
From Junction 32 M6 take the A6 north towards Garstang. In a little under four miles turn left onto St Michael's Road close to Guy's Court. After passing Myerscough College bear right onto Hall Lane. This leads to the village. When you reach the main road (A586) turn left for the village hall which is on the left.
Fact file: Distance: 9k 5 ½ miles
Time: 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours
Summary: Flat. Very easy walking though depending on the season some of the field edges may be overgrown.
Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool & Preston and 296 Lancaster, Morecambe and Fleetwood.
Map by kind permission of the Blackpool Gazette
Directions. From the car park turn right onto Garstang Road and then right
again onto a drive leading between houses
to the imposing and mysteriously empty Ashley Hall.
Keep ahead past the mansion to reach a stile.
Over this and follow the fence on the left to the field corner. Here turn left over a wooden stile.
Keeping the fence on your right cross the field to enter a patch of woodland at a stile.
When you can turn to the right to cross a wooden footbridge
and then soon after exit the wood into a large field.
Now keep ahead with a drainage ditch on your right for over 800 metres until you reach St Michael's Road. [DO NOT TURN LEFT TO GO THROUGH NEW HOUSE FARM - there is no right of way.]
After passing the junction of Hall Lane
continue for a further 600 metres and then immediately after crossing drainage channels turn left onto a footpath that dog legs right to join the River Brock close to Roe Bridge.
Cross the bridge and then bear left onto an embankment following what was at the time of checking a very overgrown path. After bearing to the right cross a stile on the left and enter a strip of woodland.
This leads to The Gate House. Close to this property bear left
to a wooden gate somewhat enclosed by foliage. Through this keep ahead on a farm drive.
After 200 metres bear right over a stile
and follow the path (hard to pick out) first right and then turn left over an embankment to cross a footbridge.
In the next field turn right to follow the field boundary
as it curves towards the large complex that is Catterall Hall. When you reach a lane
turn left and keep ahead
passing the hall to reach a suspension bridge.
This is in fact the Bridge over the River Wyre! It you are in a large party remember to break your step as you cross it. On the far side join the Wyre Way and turn left towards St Michael's. The Way follows a narrow corridor between the River Wyre
and the A586. It soon passes a water treatment plant
and then edges alongside a number of fields until united briefly to the road.
Once on the road walk into the village and then pick up the Way again by turning left into Allotment Lane.
This leads down
to return to the river.
The path brings you around once more to the A586. There is a pedestrian bridge across the river that avoids walking on the road. Keep ahead for the car park.
The church at St Michael's
has a memorial that for older readers will remind them of the tragedy that befell the village in May 1984. This was the Abbeystead Disaster where 16 people were killed by gas explosion in a waterworks valve house near Abbeystead. Many of the dead were in a party of visitors from St Michaels attending a public presentation about a new scheme developed to ensure future water supply. Methane gas trapped a 1000 metres below ground had escaped into a nearby pipe. As water pumps were switched on this was forced into the valve house where it exploded with catastrophic results. Eight people were killed outright while another eight died of their injuries later.
The memorial is on the left wall of the church.