In a new series, Peter Cropper shares his pick of routes to walk in the North of England. This week, he checks out hidden Horwich.
Peter says: “This walk is approximately four miles (but a mile could be saved by parking at the top of Brownlow Road) and covers the less frequented corners of the countryside surrounding Horwich.”
Start: Leave Horwich up Brownlow Road, between the Saddle pub and Victoria Sandwich café. Soon Brownlow Road – signed – turns at a right angle and climbs out of Horwich.
Walk: At the road end (where parking is possible) it becomes a track. Continue up the track past The Mill and The Granary. Fork right (signed Wylderswoode Stud , Wilderswood Grange and Well Cottage).
Very shortly, round the bend take the path right (signed Factory Hill). The path passes a pond and emerges through a squeezer stile into a field, perhaps with horses. Follow the path contouring round the field – there are views down to Horwich to the right – and leave the field by a stile at Hodgkinson Fold Farm.
Turn left and follow the tarmac road uphill. Turn right at a footpath sign along a drive to Harper’s Farm. The drive looks private, but it isn’t.
Pass some houses and through a kissing gate onto a path which passes stables and emerges onto a lane.
Go straight ahead and enter the Memorial Forest. Here is a choice; either follow the middle path down and up the other side or follow the path to the right round the top of the Forest. Benches enable enjoyment of the peace and quiet. The paths merge before leaving the Forest.
Turn right and go straight across the next track. The path leads past the fishing lake and emerges onto a track. Turn left, and the track leads to Curley’s Fisheries. Here is a café with a pleasant terrace for fine days.
From Curley’s walk up to Chorley Old Road. The Jolly Crofters pub is opposite.
Turn left immediately along George’s Lane. This stroll affords fine views over West Lancashire.
You’ll come to a collection of houses at Montcliffe. Ignore the road left which, the sign tells us, is unsuitable for HGVs.
Turn left next to the small car park and descend the Old Rake.
At the bottom of the wood turn right towards Brink’s Row. Fork right to follow the path behind the houses.
Turn left at the triangular junction. This path leads to the top of Brownlow Road, and thence to Horwich.
Main image by Claire Fleetneedle