Midge Walkers

Walk  No. 101

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Lostock Hall & Farrington Walk 26-02-17

With hurricane Doris having subsided, but the threat of storm Ewan, 16 adults assembled in the car park at the end of Todd Lane South at 13.50 p.m., suitably dressed in waterproof attire. Our route took us across the dual carriageway and into Old School Lane, a quite rural lane, which we were advised was soon to be swallowed up with the planned development of industrial and commercial property, with the contingent problems associated in terms of traffic congestion etc. The Old School House itself bore a date plaque of 1690 and the names of the Dandy family, being well-known figures in those days and mentioned in the history of Preston Guild 1682.

Continuing to Stoney Lane, we turned right to cross Stanifield Lane and pass up the drive of Sherdley Cottage, through the garden and exited via a stile into a rather muddy field. Passing through this and over a footbridge, brought us to another stile and the junction of Fowler Ave. and Fowler Lane where we turned right and followed the road to a bridge over the railway and a view of the Leyland Truck site where at least one of our number had worked in years gone by. Moving further along the lane, took us through an underpass of the main Farrington Rd and ultimately to Croston Rd, where we crossed into Church Lane.

St Pauls Anglican Church dominates the corner and was built in 1839-40 at a cost of £1,700, equating to around £140,000 (2015 values), £500 being met by a grant from the Church Building Commission. Initially designed to seat 479 people, in 1909 it was enlarged and further extensive work carried out in 1966. Its construction was brick with stone dressings and a red tile roof. Its churchyard contains war graves of 4 soldiers from the First World and three service personnel from WW2.

Passing Whitfire Shavings on the left we turned into the Farrington Lodges, designated for fishing by the Withnell Angling Club. A footpath skirted the lakes, and we subsequently deviated from this to rise up a banking, to what we were told was the highest point in South Ribble and commanded a magnificent view to Winter Hill and the surrounding fells. As there was a seat here we stopped for a coffee break.

Resuming the walk through the Lodges, we emerged at the end into Lodge Lane where we crossed the railway line via gates and over a stile to Penwortham Way. Turning right we subsequently followed a path behind the hedge and over another stile into Brook Lane and then to Chain House Lane which we crossed and turned left. A footpath sign between two houses took us behind the properties and along the side of some greenhouses which brought us to a footbridge and hence into more boggy fields. A stile exited us to a lane along where we passed Holme Farm Dairies and then onto Bee Lane.

Over Leyland Rd at the mini roundabout into The Cawsey, took us down towards the Old Lostock Hall Gas Works. A history of the site revealed that it had occupied 34 acres and was initially completed in 1931, resulting in the closure of the sites in Preston. The estimated cost was put at £350,000 and upon completion would produce a daily capacity of 5,000,000 cubic feet of gas, carbonising 360 tons of coal per day.

Moving onwards necessitated passing through a wire fence, along a parapet and via a rope descending a slope. This was a whole new type of venture, accommodated with comparative ease and clearly allows for future challenges, in the form of abseiling or rock climbing!!!

Crossing the open ground, which again probably won’t be long before it becomes over run with property, having already been the subject of a planning application for 650 homes, brought us to a pathway, following the former rail line to emerge on to Todd Lane North.

Turning right, the Grade 2 listed building of Todd Hall was viewed, with its 1630 inscription and from here the return route to the starting point was straightforward.

We had succeeded in avoiding the threatened downpour during our just over 5 mile walk, and benefitted from the increase in knowledge of localities on our doorstep. Thanks to all for their input and by their presence, making it both enjoyable and rewarding.