Midge Walkers

Walk  No. 63

Longridge  2/03/2014

Despite the weather forecast suggesting a wet afternoon, 12 intrepid walkers, suitably attired, met at Morrison’s car park on Blackpool Rd at Ribbleton at 1.45p.m.

From the car park, we descended onto a well maintained tarmac path which was to follow the route formerly occupied by the single-track line of the Preston and Longridge Railway Company, set up in 1836, to convey stone from the quarries in Longridge, the 6.5 miles to Preston, and included a crude form of passenger facility.

In those days, wagons were horse drawn from Preston uphill to Longridge and ran back by gravity as far as Ribbleton, and became horse drawn again the final 2 miles to Deepdale and subsequently tunnelled under parts of the town to Maudland Goods Station.

The Sandstone was used in a goodly number of well-known Lancashire Town Halls and locally, Preton Railway Station.

Along the route, sections of stonework could be detected at various intervals as former platforms, where would-be passengers could simply flag down the train and hop on board. The route took us via Gammull Lane where a station formerly existed and onwards toward the former Red Scar Works where we crossed the M6 Motorway and continued to a point where, due to a dispute between Lancashire County Council and a local farmer, we were forced to deviate to the main road to Grimsargh.

It was at this stage, that arriving at a suitable bus shelter equipped with Bench seats, that we paused for a coffee break.

On resuming the walk, we re-joined the track at a hump back bridge on the Preston/ Longridge Rd and soon emerged at the old level crossing adjacent to the Plough pub. Here we crossed the road and took a route which, whilst not former railway land took us across farm land and no less than 7 stiles, some of which were definitely not designed for the more portly amongst us, and required considerable agility to negotiate. It was during this section of the walk that the second aspect of the title revealed itself: the reservoirs of Grimsargh.

The three former reservoirs are now more or less a nature reserve, and we skirted around the edge taking in views of lapwings skimming across the water.

Our final route took us towards Shay Lane Industrial Estate where we turned through a housing area and emerged back onto the main road, and in order to return to our starting point awaited a bus which duly arrived at4.50

Those of us with bus passes were able to use them, the younger element, who could well afford it, forked out £2.20, but for 3.5hours exercise and companionship, it was well worth it.

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