So, it’s only taken me three years and a global pandemic to finally write about my current home county, but I’m finally taking the plunge! I’m hoping this post will be the first in a series all about Lancashire and all it has to offer! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to shine the spotlight on where I live. Maybe I’ve been too busy mourning my inability to explore more exotic places thanks to the pandemic? Or maybe I’ve fallen into the trap of being blinded to the beauty on my own doorstep, but, whatever the reason, it’s certainly not because Lancashire is lacking! There is so much to see and do in the red rose county; from an exceptional independent food and drink scene, gorgeous walks and a sea of activities to suit all. Lancashire is really beginning to shine again since the UK’s lockdown has been lifted and I’m here to help you appreciate it to the full!
This post is going to highlight the multitude of lesser-known walks and spectacular scenery Lancashire has to offer. You really are spoilt for choice when wanting to take a wander around this beautiful county; from wild moorlands, vibrant nature reserves, and sleepy woodland, there’s something to suit all tastes. I’m sad to say it’s taken me two national lockdowns and the acquisition of a dog to really get out and appreciate the attraction for myself, but I can say hand on heart, that I certainly won’t be making that mistake again! I think poor old Lancashire is often overshadowed thanks to being sandwiched between two heavyweight bucket list champions of Yorkshire and the Lake District. But, despite its lesser-known reputation, Lancashire can certainly hold its own in terms of beauty and diversity when it comes to getting out and about. Here are some of my favourite walks in Lancashire so far, and I haven’t even scratched the surface on the stunning trails this county has to offer…
Avenham and Miller Park, Preston
If a walk could be a jack of all trades, this would be it! Avenham and Miller park is a Victorian constructed inner-city park equipped with vast greenery, children’s play area, cycle path and on-site café. This park also boasts a unique Japanese garden, plenty of places to picnic and offers picturesque views of the river Ribble. The beauty of this walk is you can make it as long or as short as you like, so it is perfect if you have kids, or you are wanting a steady route. The trail is mostly flat and easy to navigate but still offers plenty to take in. The route can be extended by carrying on along the river Ribble to appreciate the wildlife and beauty here too. The café serves hot drinks, ice cream and a selection of food as well as having toilets (no wild weeing required here!) so all needs can be easily met.
Top Tip – Park on South Meadow Street, Preston near The Continental Pub for free parking… and for a well-deserved pint after your walk!
Abbeystead Reservoir, Lancaster
Abbeystead is a sleepy countryside hamlet in the Forest of Bowland, home to miles of picturesque farmland. The reservoir walk is a fairly easy-going route, mostly sheltered by blossoming British woodland. We loved this walk because of the impressive reservoir architecture and charming sites along the route. Pack a picnic to enjoy sat on the dam wall, taking in its spectacular views, and if you have kids (or if, you’re just a big kid at heart like me!), the fast-flowing river and several bridges provide a fantastic place for a game of Pooh sticks. Ensure you come prepared as the route can get quite muddy so wellies and walking boots are a must!
The River Ribble Walk, Preston
The river Ribble runs through North Yorkshire and Lancashire, with its tidal stretch running from Preston to the estuary outside Lytham. There are several routes along both sides of its banks providing a variety of scenery to enjoy. It’s a peaceful, linear walk following the riverbank and the beauty of this route is you can pick up and drop off the trail wherever you fancy. If you’re a keen dog spotter like myself you can definitely meet your furry friend quota for the day and if you have a dog of your own, it’s a great, stimulating walk for them.
Keep in mind – If you do have a furry friend or small child beware that there is giant hogweed growing along parts of the river bank. This is nasty stuff that can cause horrible burns if touched so watch out for warning signs and keep dogs on leads and children close in these areas.
Rufford Marina, Ormskirk
This walk is one of my favourites for when I’m feeling a little tired or lazy (which is often!), but I’m still craving some fresh air. It’s a nice, flat, linear walk along a beautiful canal which teems with pondlife and is busy with brightly coloured canal boats which never fail to transport me back to my childhood watching ‘Rosie and Jim.’ This is a great walk to do with children and you could even navigate a pram here with little difficulty. Again, this route can be tailored to be longer or shorter to suit your party’s needs.
Top Tip – Head to ‘The Boat House’ on the Marina for some food after your walk. They have mouth-watering cakes and a menu packed full of fresh and tasty local produce.
Brochkoles Nature Reserve, Preston
This is one of the more recent walks we’ve discovered and is the number one choice for nature enthusiasts like me. If you’re a keen birdwatcher, make sure you come armed with your binoculars and camera to capture the abundance of birdlife you’re likely to encounter. The great thing about this walk is the variety; depending on the route you take, you will see flourishing British woodland, rolling countryside and can appreciate the tranquillity as you amble along the riverbank. We saw lots of families with little ones in tow, so this is a great trail to let your children loose to explore nature. My advice would be to pack a picnic to enjoy by the bank of the river, however, please be mindful not to litter and be aware there are very few bins around so be prepared to take your litter home.
The River Lune Walk, Lancaster
There is so much to see on this walk I’m convinced you could spend days here. I love how close you can get to the river on this walk, you can dip your toes, skip pebbles, hop out on natural steppingstones, you really feel close to nature. At the Crook-o-lune carpark there’s a café to grab food or a coffee to fuel your adventures and there’s a gorgeous old railway bridge to cross and admire the panoramic views of English countryside.
Top Tip – If you’re into wild swimming, the Lune can be a great place to add to your hit list. The water is crystal clear and a manageable depth in most places. Be aware of the current though, and obviously, this isn’t the local leisure centre, so take a dip at your own risk, lifeguard not included.
Arnside and Silverdale, Carnforth
Living in Preston, this trail was a bit further out for me but totally worth it! I loved how peaceful this route is. There was many times we felt like we were completely alone in nature and barely saw another soul – definitely a perfect walk to clear your head. Again, it’s an incredibly diverse route with beaches and rocky crags to dense woodland. There’s also lots to see on this route from caves to explore in the rock face and old ruins hidden in the woods, giving the walk an extra element of interest. This has possibly been one of my favourite trails so far, and I feel I could go back time and time again and discover something new.
River Yarrow Walk, Euxton
This is a beautiful, wooded walk along the curving River Yarrow near Chorley. This circular route traverses fields, parks and winds through peaceful British woodland. There is a beautiful little waterfall along this route and plenty of places to sit, picnic and admire the tranquil scenery. Again, this route is incredibly peaceful so it’s great to get away from humanity but with plenty of easy access to several pubs along the way too for a bask in a beer garden!
So, there you have my top walks in Lancashire… So far! No doubt there will be a part two when these rainstorms decide to pass and we can get out and about again without being blown away or hit by lightning! I’d love to hear from you guys about your favourite walks in your local area or any recommendations for other trails in Lancashire for us to try next!
If you’re looking for a way to discover more walking routes in your local area, I personally really like using an app called ‘All Trails’ for route inspiration. It’s free to download but you can pay for premium membership which gives you added perks like the ability to download route maps to use offline. This app gives rated trails and walking routes in your local area or in one of your choosing. It’s simple to use and there are filters to assist in picking the route that suits based on distance, difficulty and route type. Users rate the walks and add photos so you can preview the scenery on the trail, and you can also favourite different walks and create lists to help you organise the trails you like. This app has been excellent in giving us more route ideas when we had exhausted all those we already knew of and were looking for new challenges.