Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Blue Bell, Haskayne

This week our walk was even closer to home as Chris decided on our start and end pub. The walk, planned on the Lancashire A-Z Street Atlas was as near to 7 miles as you could get. The 'vast skys' and distant views of North Wales and the trough of Bowland adding to what was a pleasant, flat, walk along lanes, farm tracks, across fields and along the Leeds Liverpool Canal.
A map of the walk can be found at
The initial part of the walk took us into a cutting where the frog, in the newspaper below, was spotted. Chris and I assumed that this was a branch line from the Cheshire Lines which had been turned into a nature/wildlife area.
Click to play 006BlueBell
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It was too wet and flooded to continue along the cutting so we returned to the road and walked above the cutting until we could rejoin the old 'track' near the lakes. A number of fishermen we evident as they were later along the canal past another of our haunts, The Ship Inn.
"A jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other!" Apparently Chis hadn't heard this description before.
One dog, with an owner who had no control, was the only down side to the walk and the sandwich at the end was one of, if not the best we have had on our walks. Well done the Blue Bell!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ring O'Bells, Lathom

Our 5th Pub Stroll on the trot; well trot isn't a true picture but stroll is! If you want you can see where we walked at All 8.2998 miles!

Why so far you may ask? Well we, that means Chris, decided we could use the Lancashire A-Z Street Atlas to make our own Pub Stroll; after all we had been extending the walks Secret Santa had given me so why not!

It also meant that we wouldn't have to go so far in the car (a green argument if nothing else). It was also more likely that Chris would drive and I could have more than one pint!

Chris chose the Ring O'Bells in Lathom as our starting point and sure enough she volunteered to drive (No argument there). After plotting our walk on the map (I was sure it was longer than 6 miles and it was!) we set off via Burscough's Recycling Centre (we are being green today). Parking in the Ring O'Bells car park Chris set off towards Liverpool and I set of towards Leeds; no comment on who was correct.

The day was 'fresh' to say the least, with quite a hard frost; this made walking easier as the towpath was harder than it would have been. The spring sun shone down and it wasn't long before I had to find Chris's sunglasses as the glare from the canal (Leeds and Liverpool) was very bright. The walk was on excellent footpaths, along towpaths, across farm land and through woods. The only road walking was relatively short and on a bright, dry, sunny day all was well with the world.

Highlights included two sculptures beside the towpath at Moss Bridge Lane; Three fish...
Stone Sculpture
and an "Activity Table"...
Made from Old Lock Gates
This was constructed out of old lock gates.
Apparently a relatively recent image improvement project for the Leeds and Liverpool canal (late 1990's) saw three new public artworks appearing alongside it at Lathom and Parbold. These two - a stone carvings of three fish and an activity table made from discarded lock gates - plus 'The Angel' sculpture (which I assume is in Parbold; not seen it yet), were designed to "capture the spirit of the famous canal, while adding character to the local countryside".
I think that these two achieved just that.
By the way, I've added them both to the Channel 4 "Putting Big Art on the Map" Website; found at I think this project is an excellent idea and encourage all of you to make at least three contributions in 2008. My contributions can be found at
Note: when you add the artwork you can click-n-drag the 'location-pin' on the google map to the actual position of the 'Public Art'!
Chris enjoyed cracking the ice on puddles and apart from horses, lapwings (Green Plovers), a multitude of song birds, a few dogs and a donkey, the walk was quiet and a nice change from the last two weeks where we had the constant noise of motorway traffic.
We stopped at the entrance to Lathom Park (after about 5 miles) and sat briefly on a bench to take on fluids (water) and for Chris to have two biscuits; extra strong mints were consumed on route. None of the horses were close enough to share a mint and the equine at Warm Row Farm, just after we crossed Blythe Lane, put back his/her ears ("it" was behind a brick wall so I couldn't tell) and showed us his/her teeth so I decided against closer contact.
Returning to the Ring O'Bells...
Greene King IPA
...we finished our stroll with sandwiches and in my case two pints of Greene King IPA. Mmmmmm!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

The Cavendish Arms, Brindle

As our guide says Brindle is "almost the perfect village - with church, school and inn in close proximity".
The first "real spring day" brought us to Brindle and a walk through rolling farming country
Smoke in a clear spring sky
with clear field paths and quiet hedged lanes and short stretches along the Leeds Liverpool Canal.
Bridge near Higher Wheelton
The only intrusion to this rural scene was the nearby M65. But even this didn't spoil the views northwards to Bowland and the Lake District.
Part way round the walk, a map of wich can be seen at, we passed through Withnell Fold. The impressive carving outside the school
T.B. Parke
represents T. B. Parke, the founder of the village.
The Cavendish Arms was at the end of our 5.5157 mile walk

Don't expect to get a sandwich on a Sunday!
and the pint of Cross Buttock  was an excellent end to the stroll; again it would have been nice to have been able to stay for a few more! We would have stayed longer an had a sandwich but apparently sandwiches are not available on a Sunday and as there was a huge rush for food (only one other person in the pub) it was more than the landlords jobs worth!
Apparently Brindle takes its name from the 'bryn', the spring - or several springs in fact - which rise there in the hollow of the hills. Or does it?
The Brindle Historic society tells us a different tale. The name, according to them, has its origin in the earlier Burnhul, the "hill by the stream".
"The name partly explains the village’s claim to be the site of the battle of Brunanburh, where in 937 King Athelstan "won undying glory with the edges of swords, against the Norsemen". The possible validity of this location was reinforced by the discovery of the great Cuerdale treasure in the nineteenth century; it can be seen in the British Museum. The Cavendish Arms is in no doubt about the site and its stained glass windows vividly recapture the tale of battle and treasure - there are, of course, other pretenders to this claim!"
The stained glass windows are indeed impressive but don't expect a sandwich on a Sunday!

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The Farmers Arms, Heskin Green

After 35 years Chris becomes the 'wildlife spotter' of the week; the highlight of which was a lone deer!
A level walk following paths, lanes and farm tracks; old farms and houses were passed along the way like Howe Brook House
Howe Brook House
and Heskin Hall (open to the public as an antique centre).
Open to public as an antique centre.
Never far from the M6 and Camelot Theme Park the background traffic noise was ever present.
A map of our walk can be seen at
An enjoyable walk with the additional excitement of watching the deer running across the sky-line and then in front of us as it disappeared into woodland. A short stop in our walk was enforced upon us as we had to wait for, at this time of the year, the ever present hedge trimming tractor to move over and let us through. I don't think the horses we met around the next corner would have enough room to pass! I did warn them of what to expect around the corner.
We completed the walk, 5.1639 miles, and paused for refreshments at the Farmer's Arms
Formerly know as the Pleasant Retreat
formerly known as the 'Pleasant Retreat'.
In every respect it still remains true to its original name (although many may find the 'stuffed game birds and foxes heads' a little disturbing!)
An excellent pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord and a sandwich finished off our third Pub Stroll; thanks again Secret Santa, the book has produced some pleasant walks albeit I've had to extend them.

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