Midge Walkers

Walk No.  142

Bilsborrow Walk 26th Jan 2020.

Sunday morning of the 26th was decidedly wet and not particularly encouraging for our walk later in the day. However, our leader, always positive in circumstances such as these, suggested that all would be well by the appointed time, and so it was, although a little cool, with a chill wind ensuring we wrapped up well. Eleven adults assembled, having battled their way along the A6 in heavy traffic, made particularly worse by roadworks. The starting time of 2.00 p.m. failed to materialise, but we eventually set off 25 minutes late.

Starting adjacent to the cricket pavilion at the rear of “Owd Nells”, we commenced by passing over Bacchus Brook and through a square, leading towards the canal, where we turned left onto the towpath, passing a number of barges moored against the bank, with ducks swimming close by. Continuing in a northerly direction under Bridge 45, we soon came to Brock Aqueduct, which dates back to 1797 and was designed and constructed by the engineer John Rennie to carry the canal over the river below.

Further progress brought us past the Marina situated at Barton Grange Garden Centre on the opposite bank, and after walking under Bridge 47 and climbing the steps at the opposite side, we turned back along the main A6 in the direction of Preston, until reaching a car showroom, where we turned left. This led us across the car park and via a foot bridge, over the main rail line, where in years gone by, Brock railway station had stood. Continuing along a track beside the River Brock and under the M6 Motorway, soon brought us to an aluminium footbridge over the river, which having crossed, we followed a footpath past the ruins of what had been Matshead Paper Mill, which appeared to be a miniature project in the process of reconstruction at the bottom of somebody’s garden.

Following across a cobbled yard and taking a gap to the left of the garage, the route subsequently took us through a couple of gates and across a field to a stile leading us into another field, where we followed its perimeter hedge and through a metal gate until arriving at a wooden footbridge over Bull Brook. From here a concrete drive led us to Bilsborrow Hall Farm, noted for its dairy herd of Holstein Friesian pedigree cows. The farm building dates back to 1654, having been the original Bilsborrow Hall. Unusually, our route took us directly through the centre of one of the cow sheds, much to the surprise of some of our walkers and also to some of the cows. Continuing through the farmyard brought us onto Bilsborrow Lane, where we turned right.

This soon took us over the motorway bridge, where looking North and East, views of Beacon Fell, Parlick Pike, Fairsnape and Bleasdale Moors could be seen in the distance. A short distance further, we viewed an Octagon shaped building, formerly a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel founded in 1810 and believed to have been known as the “Pot House” chapel, due to it having originally been used for the production of earthenware pots. Next door was the former Sunday School now occupied as a Friends Meeting House. Further progress brought us to cross the main Lancaster to Preston rail line again. This section of line dates back to 1840 and just beyond the line sits St Hilda’s Anglican Parish Church built in 1926-27, with funds left in the will of Sarah Jane Salisbury of Myerscough Hall. Sadly, she was tragically killed by a train at Brock Station before the church was completed.

Turning right just before the church into Church Lane, we paused within the neatly kept grounds on suitable seating for our coffee break. Resuming the route back to the A6, we turned north and took the next left turn in to Myerscough Hall Drive and re-joined the canal towpath at Bridge 45, retracing our steps to our starting point.

The walk had taken us approximately 2 hours and the distance was about 4.25 miles. We had escaped any adverse weather and added a new walk to our repertoire which seems to be getting increasingly difficult. Our thanks are as ever recorded to all the participants and organisers for their continued efforts.

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