Lancashire Walks - Whittingham and Goosnargh,
PUBLISHED: 15:13 18 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:27 09 October 2012
Keith Carter re-traces his footsteps on a sentimental walk around his former home village of Whittingham
The good people of Whittingham and Goosnargh produced a Parish Plan a couple of years ago and in the process received feedback that there was a need for the walks in the area to be published as leaflets to promote the network of footpaths.
An enterprising group got together and have now made available a pack of five of the best walks in the locality. The driving force in this enterprise was James Hide, keen rambler and naturalist, who was ably supported by the staff at Lancashire County Council.
The walks are now published and the five individual leaflets can be bought as a pack from the village shops and pubs. Look out for the many fine line drawings by local artist Rosemary Owen.
When I decided to test one for myself I asked James to accompany me.
This was something of a sentimental journey for me since I lived for many years in Goosnargh, right in the heart of the village, while my kids were growing up. We spent many weekends walking the fields from home and following the footpaths which in those days were often overgrown and indifferently signposted.
Our walk is actually two in one since it consists of a longer route with a convenient shortened version for those not wanting to do the full distance. The longer walk is called Chapel Canter after Hill Chapel which is its furthest outward point and the shorter one Brook Bounds after Mill Brook which it follows for part of the distance.
The starting point of this and indeed all the published walks is the parish church of St Marys Goosnargh where there is some parking opposite the school gates. Take the grassed track to the left of the church wall as far as a gate and go through into a field and turn left to walk along the left-hand boundary until you come to a gap in the hedge.
This may have a gate propped up to block it but you need to go through the gap and look half right for some buildings at the far side of the field. The footpath goes straight across and so should we. Having done so, take the plank across the ditch and then a stile, not worrying about the barking dogs in the garden of the house on the left, theyre only doing their job.
Follow a line of old hawthorns to a stile and gate and then head slightly right, passing to the right of two ponds to reach a stile by a lone beech tree. From here head slightly left, passing a larger pond to our left then going through a gateway and in the next field keep ahead in the direction of a large barn, looking for a double metal gate to gain access to a concrete track.
Turn right along it and where it splits take the right fork and follow the track past a nicely restored property called Mill Brook Barn. Here we turn down to the right to meet Mill Brook but dont cross it, take the stile on the right and take the narrow path alongside it.
On coming to the buildings of Goosnargh Mill, formerly a water-powered corn mill which was still grinding up to 1962, follow the right of way through the yard and meet Mill Lane by the bridge over the brook. Turn right and at the top of the rise take the stile on the left and follow the field boundary on the left, negotiating four stiles, crossing a track at the fifth stile before heading towards an electricity pylon in the field ahead.
Keep to the left of it and youll come to a stile which gives onto Broadith Lane.
Here you can choose between the longer or the shorter route. For the shorter route turn right on the lane and next right, keeping close in on the verge as far as the top of the brow until you see an opening on the right with a bridleway sign. Turn down the track and at the rather over-the-top gates to Old Hall keep ahead past the front of the property and go through a decrepit metal gate. Old Hall is shown on the OS map as Eaves Green Hall for some reason.
Keep ahead once through the rusty gate, the field boundary on your right and at the next gate enter an enclosed path that leads to the road, emerging by some Accrington brick semis.
Turn left along the road and at the second gate on the right take the stile into a field, go through it and cross a wooden footbridge that leads into the churchyard. Stay on the path through the gravestones and reach the lych-gate, arriving back where the car is parked convenient for the Grapes pub and the Bushells opposite.
For the longer route, Chapel Canter, turn left on crossing the stile to Broadith Lane, go up the hill and at the bend keep right onto Ford Lane. Just before the ford, take the stile on the left and keep alongside the brook, entering a badly churned-up field which is quite awkward to cross. We stay on the stream side of the fence and cross a plank bridge over the brook down to your right.
Turn left once across the plank and follow the stream tributary which soon peters out. Cross the next stile and keep beside a left-hand boundary until you reach a gateway where a track begins. Stay with this track and go through the left of two gates then cut through the right-hand hedge and head for the two buildings ahead, barn conversions known as Higher Beesley Farm. At the gate to these properties turn right, go through a hedge and emerge on the golf course created in 2005 out of former farm land. Does anyone else find it hard to accept that golf offers a better return on investment than farming?
Stay on the path through the fairway and after passing the club house (or wooden shed with an honesty box) keep forward to the farm buildings of Whinnyclough and turn left on the track to reach the road.
Turn right on the road and in a few hundred yards we come to the Horns Inn crossroads.You can get a nice meal here but be warned - they dont sell crisps. Turn right at the crossroads and take the first turning on the right, Ford Lane, passing the Cottage Tearooms on the left. Look for a stile on the left after passing the tearooms and enter rough pasture descending to cross a muddy stream by a plank bridge.
Climb up the bank the other side with a boundary fence and hedge on your left and where it dog-legs left, cross a stile and turn right through an ornamental gate to enter the churchyard of Hill Chapel. There is a separate toilet block on the left, usually open. The Chapel was built in 1754 and is dedicated to St Francis of Assisi.
On reaching the chapel doors, turn right through the gravestones on a narrow path down to the road. Turn right and walk on the road to the junction with Broadith Lane where we join the route of the shorter walk described above.
I must applaud the enterprise of the group who created this and the other walks now published under the title of Whittingham Walks. Theres lots of interest to be found in this hidden area of streams and fields and I look forward to tackling the others to complete my set.
Area of walk: In the parish of Whittingham and Goosnargh
Distance: Brook Bounds 3 miles Chapel Canter 6 miles.
Time to allow: Shorter walk 2 hours, longer walk 4 hours.
Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool and Preston
The full set of 5 leaflets is available locally from, for example, the Post Office in Goosnargh and from the Grapes Inn, The Stags Head and the Horns Inn
If your walking group would like to feature in Lancashire Life, write to Walks, Lancashire Life,
3 Tustin Court, Port Way, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 2YQ.