A walk to Worthington Lakes

Last week I managed to take a day away from the computer when the weather forecast looked reasonable. Time to get out for a walk! I’m still restricting myself to local walks from the doorstep, mainly up through the Plantations or nearby lanes. I fancied a longer route so had a think about where I might go and decided to head up to Worthington Lakes, a chain of small reservoirs. It’s always good to include an amble beside a stretch of water during a walk.

It stayed dry throughout the walk, with some sunny spells, but it was largely a grey day and the light was very flat and not so good for photos. Still,it was good to get out for a long stretch of the old legs.

The first part of my route took me along the Dougie and then through the Lower Plantations

I took the steps up to the Alms Houses

across the field

down Hall Lane and on to Wingates Road

before walking up Sennicar Lane towards the canal – it was starting to cloud over now.

Reaching the canal, I decided to carry up the track

as far School Lane

and then walk back down Pendlebury Lane towards the canal. On a fine day, looking over the fields, you can see as far as the Lake District Fells, but not today.

Just before the canal I truned right and took the path towards Red Rock. I crossed the road and then took the track heading north beside the old house

It’s dated 1734, but has clearly been extended a few times.

Following the narrow Lane I reached an isolated terrace of old cottages

where I stopped for a brief chat with one of the residents – making sure we kept our distance, of course. The small houses were originally miners cottages and, although there’s no evidence of it now in what is a very pleasnt rural area, there were a number of mines around here in the past.

I took a narrow path beside the end cottage and, after a short distance, reached the canal where there was a quay where coal from the nearby pits was loaded onto barges

The path carried on along the canal, crossing a bridge over the disused Whelley Loop Line (now a cyle path) and on through pleasant woodland

I crossed over Arley Bridge

Which took me to Wigan Golf Club – a path crosses the course over to Arley Woods, passing the moated Gothic Revival style house which is now the Clubhouse

Despite a plaque above the elaborate doorway proclaiming a date of 1367, the present house is mainly a Victorian reconstruction. But there has been a house on the site since the 14th Century and the site, with it’s moat, has been designated as a Scheduled Monument.

There were ducks and Black Swans swimming on the water – I took a snap but it didn’t come out that good as I was zooming in with my phone camera

Black Swans are native to South West Australia not South West Lancashire, so they’re clearly not native. But they’ve had Black Swans here for as long as I can remember.

I crossed the course – no need to worry about getting hit with a flying golf ball as it’s closed due to the Lockdown – and entered Arley Wood.

The path down the hill to the Dougie was steep and slippery but I managed to keep my feet

I crossed over the bridge on to the other side of the Dougie, and then it was a short walk up a muddy path to the Reservoirs

The string of three small reservoirs are known as Worthington Lakes and the area is a Country Park. They were constructed between 1860 and 1867 to provide drinking water for Wigan. the water is taken from the River Douglas, although the river itself runs underneath the reservoirs through a tunnel.

I set off and circumnavigated the reservoirs along the lakeside path.

The sun even emerged for a while

The top end of the top lake has been designated as a Nature Reserve, so access is restricted.

have done a full circuit of the lakes I went back into Arley Wood

and then took the path up to the path heading north through fields

with a view over to Rivington Pike, Winter Hill and Anglezarke

After passing a renovated farmhouse and a group of expensive houses, I turned down a path that wound back down to the Dougie

I crossed over the bridge and then took a steep, muddy and slippery path up to the canal

I took the towpath back to Arley bridge and then decided to get off the muddy path and take a diversion down the tarmaced road through the Golf Course

passing Arley Hall again

I followed the road through the course and eventually emerged by the canal at Red Rock. I rejoined the towpath, walking past the boats and narrowboats moored up on the canal bank.

looking backwards along the towpath

At the end of the moorings I carried on along the towpath which was extremely muddy, so I left the canal bank at the next bridge and headed down Pendlebury Lane.

Joining Wingates Road, I passed Brockmill Cottages which were built in 1821 and are Listed Buildings

Just after the cottages I turned right and crossed over the Dougie (yet again!) and took the path up Brock Mill Lane. I reckon this old, partially cobbled path would have been used by workers walking to and from the forge at Brock Mill and Haigh Foundry that used to be located further down Wingates Road.

At the top of the Lane I reached the main road. I walked along past the Cherry Gardens

and then on to the Entrance to the old Haigh Hall estate (now Haigh Woodland Park)

down the drive

and then on along the path above the Dougie through the woods back towards home.

It had been a fair walk – 15 miles in total – through pleasant countryside and with some local industrial history.

20 thoughts on “A walk to Worthington Lakes

  1. Good to see you out and about again. Frustrating not to be able to go where you want into the hills but this walk looked to have lots of interest and allowed you to clock up a few miles as well. Tried to follow your route on the map but definitely looks like one that needs local knowledge.

    • Yes, I took a bit of a convoluted route! It would have been easier just to walk through the park to the canal and then there and back on the tow path!
      I have been out walking quite a lot but mainly between 3 and 6 miles from the front door. Will be glad to get out a bit further afield but that won’t be too long now I think before we can do that.

      • Yeah, it’s looking promising for a wider return to the outdoors in the next few weeks. We are lucky that we can reach the hills with a “short drive” that delivers a much quieter walk than staying local

  2. Like me, you are very lucky with what’s on your doorstep. I’ve hardly used my car – three visits to dentist and one to Elland Road for vaccination. Are we in the minority as there seems to be as much traffic about as ever – and the schools are more or less closed?

    • Yes, Wigan is a funny old place. Heading north from the town centre you’re very quickly into countryside. It’s actually a legacy of the mining. Once the pits shut the landscape reverted to countryside with minimal building.
      As for the traffic – I’m the same as you, only using the car for trips to the supermarket and other necessary errands. Since December, all my walks have been from the front door. But it seems like we’re the only ones! 😕

      • I think that’s true for all of ius Barbara. But a little patience is needed. If they only had had more of it last year instead of letting loose too soon we wouldn’t be in a lockdown now. But at least there is light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll be back travelling by the summer, I think. But people will still need to be cautious even with the vaccine – and I’m no so optimistic about that.

  3. That was certainly a good walk. I like the look of the black and white house(s) and the reservoirs look good for a walk round – I’m always on the lookout for somewhere new so one to note for better weather if I can find somewhere convenient to park. As for traffic re the above comment, during the first lockdown last year there was hardly anything on the road, now everywhere round here is just as busy as normal. Lockdown? What lockdown??

    • I think you’d like Worthington Reservoirs and Arley Wood. And parking is no problem at all as there is a car park for them as it’s a Country Park – on the A5106 Chorley Road.
      And the traffic is the same around here – lots of cars on the road. Not sure where they’re all going.

      • Thanks for that, I’ve just had a look on Google maps for the car park. Now all I need is a sunny day and some leaves on the trees 🙂

  4. Good old Lancashire has some lovely hidden countryside. Don’t know that area at all.
    I’m sure you will be satisfied with 15miles under your belt. I think we are all waiting to push ourselves that little bit further.

    • Yes, there’s plenty of nice countryside if you know where to look!
      Wigan is cut off a little from the main Greater Manchester connurbation so we have countryside a short distance away in nearly all directions. The landscape wouldn’t have been so nice when the pits and iron works were operating but after they shut it recovered and in many places around here you’d never have known there used to be heavy industry and mining dominating the area. BUt if you look closely you find traces and I fins that an interesting part of my local walks – seeking out the “industrial archeology” and other aspects of local history.

  5. That was a very nice walk, but good you traveled it and I went along as a silent partner! Lovely areas you can ramble around. I see at certain times here that it’s “dog walking time” and people are out. There are quite a lot of people walking-bundled of course here, minding the snow piles and the ice (sort of melting). Good to see.

    • We get lots of dog walkers out around here too in the Country Park and along the canal towpath.
      Our snow didn’t last so long and it’s been quite mild the last week. I’ve seen the reports of the snow in the U – especially Texas. I guess you all need to take a break in Cancun!

    • It was quiet. There were some people about but not so many, even at the Worthington Lakes which is easily accessible and there’s a car park. But, as you say, it was mid week. Also a large part of my route was off the beaten track.
      The canal towpath can get fairly busy round here, especially the stretch that goes through town. But probably not as busy as in Glasgow as you’ve a much bigger population.

  6. That does look an epic walk. Call me thick, but I’ve only just realised, the Dougie is the river isn’t it, the Douglas! I am not sure what I thought it was before. I haven’t seen any black swans for years, I think I last saw one at Martin Mere, on a school trip about 35 years ago. I had no idea they originally come from Australia.

  7. I’d never say you were thick 😊 no reason you should have clicked straight away. Round here everyone calls the River Douglas “the Dougie”.
    The river, canal and disused railway line (Whelley Loop Line) were pretty much a constant during this walk

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