Lancashire walk - White Coppice, Healey Nab and Anglezarke
PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:26 15 June 2017
Stumped for a great walk? If so, bowl along to the idyllic cricket ground of White Coppice and join John Lenehan on this scenic hike.
The sound of leather on willow is synonymous with an English summer’s day. Lords or Old Trafford might draw the crowds but they cannot offer the sheer beauty of the little cricket pitch at White Coppice.
Watching a game here with a cup of fresh tea and home made cake from the pavilion in warm sunshine with the high moors rising on one side and the pretty white cottages, on the other makes for a lovely afternoon.
However, for those not devoted to the sound of bat on ball, White Coppice offers a base for some absolutely wonderful walks. I designed this one to show a little of what I consider to be an incredibly beautiful part of Lancashire. It has some stunning views and gentle walking, apart from Healey Nab and that is an easy ascent with only one short steep section.
1. Leave the car park and walk back down the lane to the main road then keep straight on following the sign that says Heapey and Wheelton, crossing a stone bridge then to the left there is a wooden footbridge with a sign that says Heapey Chase.
Note: As you walk down the lane there is a small reservoir on the right and this used to provide water to a textile mill that was, along with quarrying, a main employer in the village. Most of the smaller reservoirs in the area were built to supply the needs of mills in Heapey and Chorley.
2. Cross the bridge and follow the path with the stream on the right and cross a second footbridge, then the path skirts a reservoir on the right. After around 25 metres bear diagonally left away from the reservoir towards a line of trees and a wire fence and a stile. Cross the stile and there is a stream on the left. As its bank turns left the path heads diagonally left across the field to a stile that leads into the road. Once through the stile turn right and follow the road.
3. The road bends sharp right and there is a track on the apex of the bend going left. Follow it until it reaches some buildings with a sign pointing right saying Healey Nab. Follow this and the track turns left and goes up to a gate with a stile, cross this and carry straight on. The track then forks with the main track going right, but keep left and reach a metal gate and stile, cross this and follow the track up hill towards the woods. Enter the woods through a stile and the track forks. It feels that the left fork is the obvious route but it isn’t. Take the right fork down hill then take the next fork to the left and follow this uphill. Keep left at the next junction and the path bends sharply left and becomes steep up some steps for a short while. Follow this until on the right a short walk from the path there is a pile of stones that marks Healey Nab summit.
Note: The name Healey Nab is from the old English words Heagh meaning high and Ley meaning woodland. Nab means promontory. In my younger days when on Tuesday evenings in summer Clayton le Moors Harriers met at the Royal in Tockholes, Healey Nab was the target for a circular run from the pub car park, if Great Hill was taken in the run was about 10.5 miles and not easy.
4. The views from Healey Nab are stunning. Looking west there is a panorama that stretches from the Lake District on the right to Liverpool Bay on the left. Blackpool Tower and the Big One roller coaster stand out on the coastline and on a clear day ships can be seen heading towards Liverpool. Looking east offers great views of the moors and Rivington with the masts of Winter Hill dominant on the skyline. To the south the huge tower of the Hilton Hotel in Manchester can be seen.
Return to the path and follow this right as it heads down hill towards the moors,passing through a gate and stile and then follow the main track down until it reaches a junction with a major track.
5. Turn right at the junction and follow the track downhill. Keep on until the track turns right, at this point a path goes straight on. Follow this as it passes between a wire fence on the right and a hedgerow on the left until eventually a stile leads out to a concrete road at Kays Farm. Turn right and follow the concrete road to a tarmac road and turn left following the road as it passes the high banking of the reservoir to the left.
6. A double steel gate with a stile to its left appears on the left. Cross the stile and go straight on to another stile, cross this and the path then runs parallel with a stone wall on the left then turns left and heads towards the reservoir then turns right and with the reservoir on the left follow the path that eventually joins a wall and with this on the left follow this until a stile leads into a main road. Once through the stile turn left and follow the road as it crosses the reservoir dam then turns sharp left. Keep on, passing a road junction on the right and then as the road bends sharp right keep straight on into the entrance of Anglezarke car park.
Note: Anglezarke reservoir was built between 1850 and 1857 to supply water to Liverpool. To ensure the cleanliness of the water supply Liverpool Corporation compulsory purchased the many farms that dotted the moors and closed them. The ruins remain.
7. Just after the barrier the track splits with the right going to the car park and the left going through a stile. Cross the stile and follow the good tarmac track with the reservoir on the left. The track forks but keep left on the tarmac track still following the reservoir and at the next fork keep left until the track forks at a sign that says Woodland Trail to the right and Woodland Trail Short Route straight on. Take the short route and the track leads steeply uphill until it passes a small reservoir on the right. Follow the track and pass through a stile by a gate and follow the track as it bears slightly right downhill.
8. The track reaches a crossroads with a track coming from the right and one going left up some steps with a sign saying Woodland Trail. Ignore both and keep straight on downhill then uphill to a stile leading into open fields. Cross this and follow the path over a footbridge and onto a stile leading into the woods and cross this. The path goes over some anti-erosion bridges before dropping down some steps then over a footbridge to a stile leading onto a main road. Turn left and follow the road a few metres to a metal gate and stile on the right.
Note: Just down the road there is a beautiful mock Tudor house known as Waterman’s Cottage. This was built by Liverpool Corporation to house the reservoir manager.
9. Cross the stile and follow the wide track that follows the line of the hillside to the right. Keep following the track as it passes through a metal gate and stile and eventually crosses a wooden bridge that crosses Dean Black Brook that runs down the big valley on the right. Once over the bridge ignore the first stile on the left and carry on to the next on the left by a gate.
Cross this and go over the stone bridge over the Goit and go through the stile that leads into the cricket pitch and follow the path past the pavilion to the car park.
Note: The steep hillside on the left is known as Stromstery Bank. The bracken and heather hide the fact that it is completely covered in Quarry waste. There are redundant quarries at the top of the hill. High on the moors above Dean Black Brook lead mining took place and evidence of this can easily be found.
Start and Finish: The track leading to or the cricket pitch car park at White Coppice.
Map: OS Explorer 285
Distance: 6.4 miles / 10.3 km
Time: 3 hours.
Terrain: Mostly very easy walking on good paths and tracks with a little steep section on Healey Nab. There are sections that can be very muddy after wet weather so good boots are the better option.
Facilities: There are no public toilets anywhere on route.
The Dresser’s Arms at Wheelton.
Not far from White Coppice, just off the main Chorley to Blackburn road at Wheelton, this has real atmosphere with flag floors and a great range of real ale and fantastic food. I plumped for the steak pudding - best enjoyed after the walk as Healey Nab may seem like Everest after eating this. firstname.lastname@example.org. Also try the café at the White Coppice cricket club pavilion. Usually open weekends and Bank Holidays in summer from 10am but it would be wise to check. 01257 410130.