Midge Walkers

Walk No.  141

New Year’s Day Walk 2020

This year sees the 10th anniversary of our walking group and the completion of over 140 walks, covering a total distance of in excess of 766 miles. As we move into the next decade who knows where we will be led, but if it’s anything like the places we have been over the years, it will be both picturesque and well worth the effort.

The urban walk we undertook on New Year’s Day was supported by 20 adults and 2 children and set off from the car park to the rear of the shops on Hope Terrace at Tardy Gate. Leaving at 10.30 a.m. behind the shops, brought us on to Coote Lane where we turned left and soon arrived at a Mill on the right. This impressive building erected in 1908 by the “Tardy Gate Manufacturing Co,” used to manufacture linen and calico, until its demise in the late 1970’s. It now houses Todd’s Motorhomes and a number of other small industrial and commercial units.

After a further 100 yards or so, we crossed the first of what was to be a series of rail bridges. This one took us over the main West Coast Line and looking to the North the spire of St Walburge’s Church could clearly be seen in the distance. We were informed that in 1900 the importance of the railways in this area, accounted for employment for around 10% of the male population.

Proceeding past the mini roundabout and care home on the left, we rose to cross the Spion Kop Bridge which straddles the Farrington Curve, serving the East Lancashire (Preston to Colne Line), and a little further a third bridge crosses the Preston to Ormskirk Branch Line run by the West of Lancashire Community Rail Partnership and is the same line which runs through Reg Wareing’s Farm.

Continuing along Coote Lane to its junction with Church Lane, we turned left, soon again crossing another bridge over the same line and entered an area signed as Farington Lodges. This scenic route provides private fishing for Withnell Angling Association and consists of two interconnected lodges and a pond running through wood land. It formerly provided a water source for the tenders at the Lostock Hall Motive Power Depot via a pumping station situated at the head of one of the lodges. Emerging from the pathway brought us to a car park, where we paused for a photograph and then resumed the walk along Lodge Lane, at one time known as Moss Lane, until reaching Flensburg Way, where we turned left. This led us to the double roundabout, taking the first exit into Croston Road, subsequently passing the opposite end of Church Lane and St Pauls Primary School, to cross another Bridge over the Main Line and were told that historically Farington Station had stood to the left side, having opened in 1838. Over the years it had undergone many changes and eventually fell to the Beeching Axe in 1963.

Further along the sight of Anchor Bridge which carries the East Lancs Line through Lostock Hall could be seen, but we branched to the right along Wellfield Rd, and through a comparatively new housing area and continued through The Queen Elizabeth II Playing Fields, to emerge on to Watkin Lane, between the two rail bridges.

The line to the right is the old Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, now used for freight and special steam excursions, whilst the area to the left is the former Lostock Hall Motive Depot (or Engine Sheds) which opened in 1882 at a cost of £30,000. The whole building was 221ft long and 139ft wide, housing 50 locomotives. It ceased to accommodate steam engines in 1968 and finally closed for business in 1988. From here it was a short distance back to our starting point completing 3.25miles. We were pleased to have enjoyed the time together with such favourable weather conditions and look forward to further adventures during the forthcoming year.

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