Midge Walkers

Walk  No. 134

Bretherton Walk 23-06-19

The week leading up to our Sunday walk contradicted the weather forecasters, producing both good temperatures and bright sunshine. Sunday was a bit cooler and thus ideal for walking, with the threat of rain during the evening, which would be long after our finish. 13 of our regulars met at the War Memorial sited at the junction of Carr House Lane and Eyes Lane at 1.45p.m. Setting off towards Back Lane we branched right which led us to a long tree lined drive, which in due course brought us to the fenced off site of Bank Hall which was clearly the subject of considerable re-development, funded by the help of the Heritage Trust for the North West and the National Lottery.

Bank Hall is a Grade II listed building, a mixture of Jacobean and Georgian Gothic style, built on the site of an older house in 1608, becoming the Manorial home of the Bannister (Banastre) family, whose ancestors came from Normandy with William the Conqueror. Extensions were added in 1832-1833 and the estate passed into the hands of the 3rd Baron of Lilford. Following the building being vacant in 1972, vandalisation and rapid deterioration took place. The Bank Hall Action Group set about the reversal of its fortunes in 1995 to create apartments and work started in July 2017.

Turning off the drive to the left took us over 2 stiles to reach the main A 59 Liverpool Rd and continue towards Tarleton. Crossing the well-known bridges over the River Douglas and Canal and past the redundant brick built church of St Mary built in 1717. Further along the road we branched left into Back Lane which was a farm track at the end of which we emerged on to the main road and took the left fork along Liverpool Old Rd leading us into the quaint old hamlet of Sollom. Turning left down Lock Lane led us to the canal where we stopped for our coffee break and surprisingly for such a remote area were blasted out with loud music from a local house where the occupant was mowing his extensive lawns. It wasn’t long before our site was further invaded by another walking group (The Ramblers) who had started their journey from Rufford and similarly decided on this venue for a break.  

Continuing along Sollom Lane and Eyes Lane took us over Red Bridge which spanned the canal, (although it was actually green), until we turned right along a path between two wheat fields towards a cluster of wind turbines in the distance. At the end of the field the path (Broad Meadow Lane) angled left and ultimately brought us to cross Back Lane into Thornfield. It was while passing a series of puddles that disturbances on the surface were noted. The suggestion that this could be raindrops was met with disapproval from our leader who insisted it was just flies. Notwithstanding the explanation a couple of our number did adopt their coats.

Crossing another junction led us down a narrow footpath between two fences over run with brambles, nettles and other obstacles, until reaching the main road where we turned left. Passing Ebeneezer Congregational Church on our right, which dates back to 1819 and the old Methodist Chapel with its foundation stone laid by Ellen Dandy dating back to1883 and now

converted to a residential dwelling. A short distance further returned us to our starting position.

With the exception of the few drops we had escaped any rain and as promised the walk had been completely flat covering a distance of just under 4.5Mls. We had enjoyed the companionship and thank the organiser for his continued endeavours in researching walks of variety and interest.

Ray Lamb

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