A walk from Parbold

Last Thursday promised to be a fine day – time to take advantage of my changed work:life balance and get out for a walk. I didn’t feel like travelling to far so a local ramble was in order. I’ve spent countless hours wandering on the West Pennine Moors ever since I was a teenager, but I’ve never explored the countryside to the west of Wigan – unless you count a couple of stays at the Tawd Vale and Bispham Hall Scout camp sites when I was in the cubs and scouts – and even then we didn’t stray too far. So I decided to take the train over to Parbold (only a 15 minute journey from Wallgate station on the Southport line) for a walk that would take me through over a couple of small hills, down a hidden “fairy glen” and along a stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal.

After a relatively dry spell of weather the the footpaths over the fields and through the woods were dry and the going was good. However, this would probably not be a good route to follow in the winter (unless there had been a hard frost) as looking at the uneven nature of the paths it was pretty clear that much of the route would be very muddy after a period of wet weather. Wellies would definitely be in order!

I left the station and walked through the village joining a quiet lane and then out onto the path through the fields

Belted Galloway cattle with their calves

After crossing a minor road I reached Hunter’s Hill. There used to be a quarry here, but it’s been transformed into a small Country Park and Nature Reserve

My route skirted the edge of the site from where there were extensive over the West Lancashire Plain over to the coast, with Blackpool Tower visible in the distance. There was a hint of the Lake District Hills on the horizon, but they were hidden in the haze.

Leaving the Nature Reserve my route took me down hill on a minor road

Passing the entry to Harrock Hall

before turning down a quiet lane

which would take me towards my next destination, Harrock Hill

I passed some attractive stone barn conversions (you’ve got to have a few bob to live around here – a pleasant area within commuting distance of Liverpool, Manchester and Preston)

and then turned off, climbing over a stile onto a path that led through the woods and across a field and then onto a path through woods up to the top of the small hill

At the summit there’s the remains of an old windmill, which dates back to the 17th Century

Leaving the summit, I turned south down another path through green fields which had extensive views across to the West Pennines

Looking over to the moors – Great Hill, Anglezarke, Rivington Pike and Winter Hill

Further along the path the views opened up to include Pendle Hill and the Bowland Fells

I was passing land owned by the Harrock Hall estate, my route effectively circumnavigating Harrock Hall, although it was hidden in the trees. The Hall dates back to the 17th Century and was extended in the 19th Century and is a listed building. It used to be the ancestral home of the Rigbye family, local landowners, and John Rigby, a Catholic martyr, was born here around 1670. He lived during the turbulent Tudor period when both Catholics and Protestants were executed due to their beliefs. Rigby was executed in 1600 and was canonised in 1970. A Catholic 6th Form College in Wigan is named after him.

I reached another minor road at High Moor and after a short distance on the tarmac turned down another minor lane and then along a path across the fields

Reaching the main Wigan to Parbold Road, I crossed over and set off down the Fairy Glen another Country Park. It’s a narrow wooded valley created by Sprodley Brook which has, over time, cut down through the underlying sandstone to create a narrow valley with small waterfalls and cliff faces. Despite living only a few miles away, and having driven past many times on the way to Southport, I never knew this very peasant hidden valley was here.

I emerged in fields overlooking Ashurst Beacon on the other side of the Douglas Valley

I carried on through fields and woodland where there were displays of bluebells

eventually reaching the Leeds Liverpool canal

I carried on along the towpath towards Parbold

More bluebells on the other side of the canal

I reached Parbold where I left the canal near the old windmill which has been converted into a gallery selling art works.

There’s a pub here

and a cafe

Time to reinvigorate myself with a brew and a cake!

https://explore.osmaps.com/route/12160988/parbold-hunter-hill-harrock-hill-fairy-glen?lat=53.599618&lon=-2.764020&zoom=13.4160&overlays=&style=Leisure&type=2d

20 thoughts on “A walk from Parbold

  1. I know that walk. I lived in Parbold for a while and it was my constitutional circuit. A nice change from the West Pennines, but a good view of them from Harrock hill. 👍🙂

    • I expected this would be familiar to you as it’s near your patch. As you say, a nice change, but the moors and fells are my spiritual home.
      (You must have a few bob if you lived in Parbold!)

      • Ha! No, it was late eighties just before the first housing crash. We had an end town house by the canal

      • It was small but I loved it there. The problem with Parbold is the stench from the Hoscar sewerage works. And coaxing a cold car up Parbold Hill in winter on the morning commute. 🙂

      • Yes, most unfortunate location of the sewage works to the west of the village – the direction of the prevailing wind.
        I once cycled up Parbold Hill – from the Wrightinton side – a reasonably gentle slope.
        Driving home from a day out in Southport I once saw a mini sat on its roof towards the top ofthe hill!

  2. Wow, Ashurst Beacon is a proper flash back from when I used to live in St Helens, used to walk around there a lot, plus played golf quite a bit on Beacon Park municipal which is there as well. Lovely area for views without having to climb to high as well

    • A revisit to Ashurst Beacon is overdue.
      There’s a sign on the monument saying that the hill was left for the enjoyment of the people of Wigan. I don’t think St Helener’s are allowed there (especially not Saints fans) 🤣🤣🤣
      I’m looking forward to the semi-final on Saturday- think we might be in with a shout this time 🤞

      • Definitely in with a shout. We’ve lost a bit of form and with it a few players to injury. Going to be far closer than Good Friday was

  3. Oh my, this is the walk I absolutely need to do, for my Mum. My Mum actually lived in Harrock Hall, back in the days when only a wing of it was livable , my Grandma and Grandad were tenant farmers there from the 30s to 70s. When my Mum met my Dad they would walk up Harrock Hill on some of their dates as my grandparents didn’t want her to have gentleman callers and wouldn’t allow him in the house. I think the Hall is totally out of bounds now, though my Aunt who was 17 years older than my Mum had her ashes scattered round there somewhere. Thanks for posting this walk, it has reminded me that I need to go to the area.

    • Yes, I remember you telling me about your connection in a comment to a previous post and, to be honest, that gave me the inspiration to devise a route around there . You’re right about most of the estate being out of bounds but I’m sure you’d enjoy walking where you can around here and maybe, just maybe, you might be able to stray off the path a little 😉 p.s try to go during a dry period or wear your wellies!

    • Yes it was a very pleasant easy walk through pleasant countryside. I’d never thought about trying a walk around here before – sometimes you don’t appreciate what’s close to home!

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