Lancashire walk - Brindle
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 March 2020
Many people pass straight through Brindle, but stop and explore and you’ll find a pleasant village and some great walks.
When driving along the B5256 between Preston Old Road and Clayton Green, travellers pass through Brindle in seconds. The few road-side houses, St James Church and The Cavendish Arms catch the eye, but unless wanting to pray or eat there seems little reason to stop.
It is actually a little bit bigger than a hamlet with some very nice houses further back from the road and better still, the surrounding countryside makes for some really nice walks. This was one of my favourite running areas when I lived in Tockholes so I worked out a nice circular walk by linking some bits of my running routes together.
1. Leave the car park and turn right and walk up Water Street to its junction with the B5256 at the church then turn right then almost immediately turn left and cross the road to a footpath sign and follow the footpath as it goes between two wooden fences and reaches a road in a housing estate.
Note: St James Church dates back to the 12th century with the present tower being built around 1500 and the nave in 1817. There are six bells in the tower and two of these date back to around 1530. It often amazes me on my walks that many small villages and hamlets have such magnificent churches. The villages may have been small but were surrounded by many farms many owned by rich landowners who would support the church and with the main employment being agricultural, these landowners provided employment for whole families.
The congregations would have been huge and the church would have been the social meeting place for miles around. Education both religious and academic would have been through the church as well as christenings, marriages, and funerals and tithes raised from the congregation and benefactors would pay for the building and upkeep of the church.
2. Go straight across the road and take another footpath marked by a yellow arrow on a telegraph pole. The footpath passes to the right of a garage with a black door and is very narrow between two fences. Follow the path to a stile and cross this into a field then cross this with some house to your right to a metal gate with a stile next to it.
Cross the stile into a tarmac lane and turn right and keep on until a footpath sign and a track on the left. Take the track to a wooden gate and a stile, cross the stile and with a hedgerow on the right carry straight on. Pass an opening in the hedgerow then keep on until a stile on the right. Cross the stile and head diagonally left towards a bridge over the M65. Cross the stile onto the bridge and cross this but immediately over it there is a stile on the right. Cross this and keep the fence and M65 to the right and keep on to the field corner and turn left and a yellow arrow guides the way to a stile leading into some farm buildings.
Cross the stile and go through the yard and follow the farm track until it reaches a main road then turn right. Walk up the road until it joins the B5256 (Sandy Lane) and almost straight across is a gap in the fence with a Bridleway sign. Go through the gap and turn right then follow the track as it passes over the M65 bridge.
3. Immediately over the bridge there is a bridleway sign pointing left. Follow the bridleway although there is no obvious track and go through a gate and keep on going downhill with the M65 on the left and go through another gate and, keeping the wooden fence on the left, carry on until a bridleway sign points diagonally right across the field to a distant wooden gate. Go through the gate into a narrow tarmac road and turn right and keep on until a footpath sign and a stile up some steps on the left.
Cross the stile and with the hedgerow on the right carry on downhill to reach a footbridge, cross this then bear diagonally left towards the wire fence and a stile in the field corner by the hedgerow on the canal bank. Cross the stile and then the canal bridge and a stile on the opposite side. Take the path that goes up hill then cross a concrete footbridge and up to a stile by a gate.
4. Cross the stile onto a track and turn right. To the left of the stile there is a sign on a gate saying 'No Footpath' and after about 100 metres along the track there is another sign saying 'No Footpath' but, just before that there is a bit of a track going right down to a stile to the left of a metal gate with a footpath sign next to it. Cross the stile and go downhill to a stile between two metal gates, cross the stile and carry straight on with a wire fence on the right. Reach a double stile and cross this into a field and go straight on across the open field to a hedgerow on the right, then follow the path as it goes steeply down to two stiles on each side of a stream with a pretty impressive stone wall on right.
Climb up out of the stream valley to reach a footpath sign then turn diagonally left across the field, heading towards a wood surrounding a huge house. Reach a stile between two metal gates and cross this into a track and turn right. Follow the track to a metal gate and go through that and keep on the track to a stile by a metal gate. Cross the stile and pass through a group of houses on a track to reach the main road.
5. Turn right and follow the cobbled road into the village of Withnell Fold and keep on the cobbled road as it goes downhill to reach an old paper mill at the canal and cross over the canal bridge then turn right.
There is a gate with a sign saying 'Private' but there is a stile to the left of it, cross this and go along the canal bank with the canal on the right.
Note: Withnell Fold has got to be one of the most beautiful villages in Lancashire. It is totally different to anywhere in the surrounding area and feels in some way like stepping back in time as you walk through it, with its cobbled road and pretty terraced houses. It was built for a purpose and not just an architectural dream.
It was built as a Model Village by Thomas Blinkhorn Parke who was from a successful family of local cotton mill owners. He decided to build a paper mill by the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in 1843 and built the terraced houses for his workforce. He was also responsible for building a school and chapel. He must have had great regard for his workforce as the terraced houses he built were and are today of a very high standard and each had its own outside toilet - a rare thing at the time.
The paper mill began production in 1844 with one machine but became so successful two more machines were added. It ceased production in 1967.
It is now an industrial complex for small businesses but the original buildings are still, in the main, intact.
6. Almost immediately there is a footpath sign and path on the left. Follow the path, taking care on the slippy cobbles, cross a small footbridge then turn left and go up the steep climb again with some slippy cobbles to reach a stile. Cross this and, keeping a wire fence on the left, keep straight on to a stile and cross this and keep following the fence.
Do not be tempted to cross the stile in the wire fence on the left but keep on following the fence to a stile and cross this and then another stile and go downhill and then cross another stile and, still keeping the wire fence on the left, reach a metal gate with a stile. Cross this into a narrow tarmac lane and cross this to a stile and cross this and with a wooden fence on the left carry on. Reach another stile and cross this and go down to and cross a footbridge then go uphill passing a post with a footpath sign on it and keep straight on to a stile leading into Water Street then turn right and follow the road back to the village hall.
Start and finish: Brindle village hall car park, Water Street, Brindle
Terrain: Footpaths and a little bit of road, really easy walking but can be muddy in wet weather. Good boots will be fine.
Distance: 4.4 miles/ 7.08 km
Time: 3 hours
Map: This walk sits annoyingly smack in the middle of the join between OS Explorer 286 Preston and Blackpool and OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors. I always advise taking an OS map on any of my walks and on this one you need to take two. The map for the walk here is a bit bigger in scale to make it easy to follow.
Facilities: There are no public toilets in the village or on route.
Refreshments: The Cavendish Arms is a very homely pub with fantastic food and a great range of beers and cocktails. Two minutes from the end of the walk to the pub - what more could a hungry and thirsty walker want more? 01254 852912.