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Lancashire walk - Lytham and Freckleton

PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 August 2019

Lytham Windmill

Lytham Windmill

John Lenehan

This riverside walk from Lytham takes in some historic sites and wonderful views, as John Lenehan discovered

The confluence of the Ribble and the DouglasThe confluence of the Ribble and the Douglas

No visit to Lytham is complete without a visit to the famous mile-long Green and its focal point, the windmill. Even on a relatively still day it's easy to see why this blustery spot was chosen as the site for the mill. The town is known for its shops, pubs, wine bars, cafes and restaurants, and the Green is a fine place to picnic and the promenade, with great views over the Ribble to the West Pennine Moors and Southport.

A friend of mine lives in Lytham and is retiring from his day job. He is also a keen walker so I thought it would be nice to design a nice long route for him to do now that he has a bit more time on his hands. It is however a lovely walk especially the section along the River Ribble and my walking companion and I found it very enjoyable.

1. Leave the windmill and walk straight towards the town and go up Station Road and keep on passing Booths on the right.

The trig point at FreckletonThe trig point at Freckleton

Note: Lytham Windmill was built in the early 1800s but a major fire left it derelict until 1921 and since then restoration in 1989 gave us this magnificent building with a museum giving the history and how the windmill operates. Really worth a family visit. There are many fine houses in the town and most of these date back to when Lytham was the rated as the best seaside town to visit with the arrival of the railway in 1846. There was an impressive pier here until it was demolished in 1960.

2. Reach a mini-roundabout and then turn right into Mythop Road and follow this to another mini roundabout then keep left onto Saltcotes Road heading towards Wrea Green and follow the road.

Freckleton PoolFreckleton Pool

3. Reach a sign saying Eastham Hall Caravan Park. Turn right into the road leading to the park and then keep straight on at the fork that goes to Eastham Hall and follow the road towards some metal gates of a builder's yard. On the left there is a garden with a striking collection of garden gnomes but just before reaching this there is a footpath sign on the right and a small footpath, take the footpath and with a wire fence on the left follow the footpath. Eventually the path opens into a clearing and passes an entrance into the caravan park keep on past this and cross the stile onto the railway line and then cross the stile on the other side. Keep the hedgerow on the left and carry on along the field to a stile and cross this into Huck Lane and turn left. Keep on the lane until a metal gate with a gate stile appears on the right. Cross the stile and with the hedgerow on the right keep on towards Great Carr Side Farm.

As the hedgerow finishes at a metal gate and ditch turn left for a few metres then right and follow a track towards the farm buildings that have now mainly been modified into houses. Go through the yard and go straight up the track ahead and join a tarmac road and keep straight on and follow the road to a T junction and turn right.

4. After turning right follow the road. At first there is no pavement so keep right and take care, eventually a pavement appears on the left side of the road so cross and take this and keep on down the road.

Lytham DockLytham Dock

Note: There is a pub diner called the Birley Arms and as this is a long walk we found it an ideal place for a coffee. The food being served looked extremely good as well. Keep on the road past the Birley Arms and then turn left into Hillock Lane and follow this all the way.

5. At the end of Hillock Lane join the main road and follow this towards Freckleton. Keep on the road until Strike Lane appears on the left.

6. Go up Strike Lane to the gates of a school and to the left of the gates there is a track, follow the track that eventually turns into a green lane and keep on this.

The green lane joins a road and here turn right and follow the road until it reaches the dual carriageway of the A584. Cross the carriageway and directly across is Braids Lane follow this as it passes some houses then turns into a track that eventually joins a road at the gates of Dibbs Farm on the left. Turn left and follow the road downhill until it bends right and becomes Preston Old Road. Keep following this keeping on the left hand side of the road.

7. A large white gable end of a house appears and just before this a house, 102 Ivy Cottage. Between the two a cobbled road goes left, follow this and as it bends right a stream is now on the left. Keep on the track as it passes Freckleton Boatyard then comes to Poolside Farm and a footpath sign. There is one arrow pointing straight on and one diagonally right, follow the one diagonally right and climb the track uphill.

At the top of the hill are the iron railings of a boatyard supplies company and a drive into a house. The footpath is to the right of the drive and there is a sign on the railings saying: Footpath over Private Land. Keep the railings on the right and follow the footpath. Cross a footbridge and keep following the path as it goes through two metal gate stiles and then crosses a track and then another gate stile then follows the hedgerow on the left to yet another gate stile. Cross two more footbridges then enter an open field to a rickety stile behind and to the right of a white house. Cross the stile and turn right and follow the path with a horse paddock and wooden fence on the left, cross another stile and enter a lane.

There is a drive to a farm with a cattle grid on the left with a sign saying: No Public Access or Right of Way. This is a little misleading as this is only for the drive and just to the right of the sign and cattle grid is a stile. Cross the stile and with a wooden fence on the left follow the path and cross a stile into a field then head diagonally left away from the path to the Triangulation Pillar. The view over the River Ribble and River Douglas is nice from here.

8. Bear diagonally right from the pillar and re-join the path then cross a stile and go down hill and join the banks of the Ribble and a sign saying: Lancashire Coastal Way. Turn right and follow the path between the banking on the right and the salt marsh and river on the left. Keep following the path and cross a rather impressive footbridge then with the perimeter fence of BAE Warton Aerodrome and factory on the right keep on the path and cross a series of footbridges made from railway sleepers.

Note: Warton Aerodrome was important during World War Two and was a base for thousands of American soldiers and airmen.

It is still used as a military airfield and you may be lucky enough to see warplanes taking off and landing during the walk.

9. Eventually the fence turns right at a metal gate and a few metres to the left of the gate is a footbridge, cross this and then a stile into a field then keep the wire fence and hedgerow on the left carry on to a stile with a pond to the right of it. Cross the stile and go down to a footbridge then up to another stile into a field. Keep on with the wire fence on the left and ignore the stile leading down to the river but keep on to a wooden palisade and to the left of that is a stile, cross this and carry on to another stile, cross this and join a track and follow this as it passes a road from the right and some cottages also on the right and go through a stile by a gate.

The path then is on top of a banking, follow this, cross a stile and then reach a gate with: Private No Access. At this point the path turns right and goes downhill and through a stile then up to the main road.

10. Join the main road and turn left and cross a bridge and immediately on the left are some steps with an iron rail. Go over the steps and with the stream on the left carry on and cross a stile then bear right and follow the path along the embankment crossing a stile and on towards Lytham Dock then cross a stile onto the main road.

Note: It seems hard to believe looking at the pleasure boats in the dock on Lytham Creek that shipbuilding used to take place here. The Lytham Shipbuilding and Engineering Company started in 1894 and closed in 1954 and the steamboat used in the film The African Queen was built here.

Follow the main road until it reaches Lytham Green and turn left to the promenade then right and back to the windmill.

Watering hole: Deacons

There are a lot of places to eat in Lytham but we chose Deacons on Clifton Street and had a really enjoyable meal. I had roast chicken and my mate had fish and chips. I was driving so had to sit watching him drink a pint of Deacons own brew beer with a self satisfied smirk at my lime and lemonade.

COMPASS POINTS

Start and finish: Lytham Windmill

Distance: 12.8 miles / 20.6km

Time: 6.5 hours

Map: OS Explorer 
286 Blackpool and Preston

Terrain: Mostly very easy walking on tracks, roads and footpaths. Walking shoes were fine for me. There is a short wet and muddy section on the footpath between the track near Eastham Hall to the railway so after wet weather, boots may be preferable.

Facilities: There are public toilets in Lytham.

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