Lancashire Walk - Tarleton
PUBLISHED: 17:46 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:07 26 February 2020
John Lenehan takes a walk through the salad bowl of Lancashire and spots some terrific bird life
This walk was published in March 2017, so the details of the route may no longer be accurate, we do advise these articles should only be used as a guideline for any potential route you take and you should double check an up to date map before you set off.
Tarleton is in possibly the most arable area of Lancashire. I am certainly not a farmer nor am I a market gardener but it's easy to see that almost any kind of vegetable, flower, or fruit could be grown in the fertile fields or in the many and sometimes huge greenhouses that are passed on this walk.
The village is bordered on its eastern edge by the River Douglas and is the termination point of the branch of the Rufford branch of Leeds Liverpool canal and joins the Douglas through a sea lock. The walk should follow the Douglas from Tarleton to almost the point where it joins the River Ribble. It does eventually but the section along the river from the lock to the second boatyard had to be changed on the day of my walk as Lancashire Council has shut the path due to erosion. The result is a diversion along a main road but it is worth persevering as the walk after is great and, unusually for me, has no hills. Take some binoculars as the bird life is fantastic especially in spring.
1. Leave the car park into Church Road and turn right and at the bend carry straight on down Plox Brow and follow this downhill to the canal then turn right and follow the canal past the boatyard and the moorings to the sea lock.
Note: The River Douglas was navigable up to this point at high tide and for centuries cargo was carried from Irish Sea ports via the Ribble to Tarleton.
It also provided employment in the many boat yards that built and repaired vessels along its banks. The building of the canal and the sea lock allowed access from the Wigan coalfields to the sea and provided a boost to the economy of Tarleton. Eventually in 1881 a railway line connected the canal with Southport.
Carry on past the lock and follow the river up to a steel fence that appears to block the path. It doesn't as close up there is a gate allowing access to the path beyond.
Follow the path until it reaches a circular junction with a path coming down from the left. There are two benches either side of the path. This is the point of the diversion as further on the river path is closed.
2. Take the path and follow this until it joins a road and follow this all the way to the main road Hesketh Lane and turn right then follow this passing Booths supermarket and The West Lancashire Light Railway.
Note: This railway is not the same one that was at Tarleton Lock. The West Lancashire Light Railway was originally a dream of six schoolboys. They wanted to use the redundant narrow gauge railway lines and equipment from the local clay pits. They succeeded and now it is a tourist attraction for the whole family. See www.westlancsrailway.org
3. Beconsall Lane. Turn right and follow the lane down until a small church. Enter the churchyard and go to the right corner of the graveyard where some steps lead down into a boatyard. At the foot of the steps turn left and go through a stile past a polythene covered building on the right then through a metal stile that leads out onto a raised dyke, follow the path along the dyke with the river on your right.
Note: This area was once all marshland and the land to the left of the dyke is reclaimed from the marsh. The dyke protects the land from the river flooding.
Keep on the dyke path all the way until it turns left, keep on following the path left as straight on is private land. At the turning point look ahead and the confluence of the Douglas and Ribble can easily be seen. Keep on the dyke path as it now follows the Ribble and carry on until the second junction on the left Dib Lane.
Note: There is an old buoy there as a monument with 'Owner Preston Corporation' on it. It is worth taking time to walk up to the RSPB hide to view the hundreds of birds on the marshes of the RSPB sanctuary.
4. Walk down Dib Road past Hesketh Lodge and keep on until the main road Shore Road and turn right and follow the main road.
5. There is a bridleway on the left pointed out by a sign on the right hand side of Shore Road on a post above a traffic mirror.
Turn left and follow the bridleway that is at first a track that eventually turns left into a yard, at this point carry straight on along a green path that eventually leads through a gate and past some big greenhouses onto the junction with the main road Moss Lane.
Turn left and follow Moss Lane and pass the sign saying Hesketh Bank.
6. Just past the sign there is a blue barn on the right and a footpath sign just before it. Turn right and follow the footpath past a farm on the right until it reaches a crossroads with a road on the left and a track on the right.
Cross the crossroads and keep straight on passing a black barn on the right and follow the track until it joins the single track road Middle Meanygate. Keep straight on along the road passing Johnson's Farm on the right.
7. Join the main road and turn left and follow the road back into Tarleton and the car park.
Distance: 10.7 Miles/17.3 Km
Time: 5 hours
Start and finish: Car Park behind The Chocolate Rooms shop Tarleton centre.
Maps: OS 285/286
Terrain: Flat easy walking but can be a bit muddy so boots are the better option.
Facilities: There are toilets in Booths Hesketh Bank passed on diversion.