A beautiful walk through contrasting countryside. Only a stone’s throw from Winstanley. Starting in Parbold village, along canal towpaths straddled by fields. Then follow the footpaths up to the top of Parbold Hill. From here rest and enjoy the breath-taking views over Wigan, West Lancs, Liverpool and North Wales. With several top class pubs and cafes along the route, a picturesque walk round Parbold has it all.
The full walk is 5.5 miles. However there are plenty of options to take a shorter route without losing out on the views.
Our last visit was on a Saturday late afternoon. Although we passed a few walkers, dog walkers and cyclists it wasn’t busy. Asa result a relaxing experience indeed.
Although the route described covers 5.5 miles, you can truncate some of the loop to make it shorter. For those who may be restricted due to health reasons or time there also a number of view points and watering holes that still make the journey out worthwhile. For details of shorter routes please see below.
Full Walk – Start / Finish
From the car park, follow the tow path which goes under the bridge, the up and over the bridge to the other side of the canal. Follow the towpath under the next two bridges.
When you go under the 2nd bridge, leave the towpath (at Chapel House Farm) and follow the path over the bridge. This is the site of the original Douglas Chapel. Built in 1526, demolished in 1875, now marked by a stone cross.
Follow the path uphill for approximately 10 yards crossing the railway at a level crossing. From, there continue until the road reaches a T junction and take a right turn. Continue along this road (Wood Lane) and it turns into gravel path. It takes you along the foot of Parbold Hill with fields either side.
You will the reach Whitley Cottage, where the path enters tree cover. Continue along a fenced path. There are several stiles to cross and the path goes through a wooded dip.
Next, open a gate, before climbing over the stile that drops down to a fenced corridor. As you reach the end of this corridor, take the next stile into an open field. Continue in a straight line across the field towards the woods opposite. This is marked on the Sproodle Brook. You need to cross a further stile as you enter the wood.
From Sprindle Wood (Fairy Glen)
Having entered the wood, head immediately to the left and then cross a bridge before heading up steps. Follow the path and it will cross the stream again before more steps joining up with a quarry access road. Carry on further until the path emerges from the wood on to the A5209.
Now turn right along the road for approximately 200 yards where you will see a parking layby opposite. Cross over and take the stile into the field behind and take the path moving away from the layby alongside the fence to the corner. From there head left along the wall back into the wood by the brook. The way will narrow to a tight passage. Continue until the conifers, then skirt along northern edge of the wood. Cross the open field to the path, then turn north towards High Moor until High Moor Lane. Head along the lane past the Rigbye Arms for roughly 1/4 mile.
From the Rigbye Arms back to Parbold Village
Having passed the pub, road until you reach a small visitors car park on your left. Take a moment to enjoy the panoramic views to Liverpool, Southport, Blackpool and beyond from the short path on your right. However you then need to follow the path at the far end of the car park from the road. It will take you round the south side of a quarry in a steady descent. The quarry is now a private home with a pretty impressive house and tarn. You will arrive at the quarry access road (the top of hillside avenue).
At this point it is a short distance to a stile on the left of the road. Cross the stile so that you can follow the wall down to the corner. Then continue across to a further fence stile. Keeping the fence on your left you will soon arrive at Stoney Lane. Turn right for 50 metres. Look for the next stile on the left. Once crossed take a 45 degree turn to the right, crossing the field to a stile. Please note this stile is slightly to the left and not directly on the path itself. Next head to the tree lined stream and cross it by the footbridge. Keep to the right side of the field, passing houses (on the edge of Parbold village).
A quarter of a mile further you will find the final stile and a fenced path next to the primary school which rakes you to Lancaster Lane (B5246). Cross over the road, walk down Tan House Lane. At the bottom turn left past the shops and you will shortly end up back at the starting car park.
Refuelling after a Picturesque Walk Around Parbold
At the end of all that, a big well done. Mentally refreshed a well earned cuppa or perhaps something a little stronger needed? Directly opposite the car park there is a wonderful little café, Yours is the Earth. However it will not be open if you are taking the walk in the evening.
As for child friendly pubs with wonderful beer gardens you are spoilt for choice. Without even getting in the car, the Windmill pub is next to you. Round the corner on the A5209 you can enjoy the Wayfarer. A bit further afield try the Rigbye Arms or Farmer’s Arms. All have plenty of outdoor space for social distancing.
There’s also a decent Chippy and Indian in the village.
If you drive from the M6, leave at Junction 27 and follow the Parbold signs, taking the A5209. Go down Parbold Hill (on the A5209) and over the canal bridge with traffic lights. Take the next right turn (Mill Lane at the Stocks Tavern). Follow the road until you see the Windmill pub, go over the canal bridge and take a turn immediately on the left into a free car park.
Alternatively if you come from the Dalton / Up Holland direction, as you meet the A5209 from Dalton turn right. Drive past the Wayfarer pub (on your right) and take the next left turn, Mill Lane, into Parbold village. Finally follow the road until you see the Windmill pub, go over the canal bridge and take a turn immediately on the left into a free car park.
A Picturesque Walk Around Parbold – A Shorter Route
If you fancy a walk but a shorter one, there are plenty of options to do it here. Here are a few suggestions.
- Instead of going up to Fairy Glen, soon after crossing the canal follow the path up which takes you to the top of the Parbold Hill. It comes out at the Miller and Carter (previously the Wiggin Tree). Stunning views here and usually an ice cream van too! From there it is a pleasant downhill walk back to the village or just retrace the route you got there by.
- Once out of Fairy Glen, instead of crossing the A5209, turn left and head along it. This will take you to the top of Parbold Hill as mentioned in the previous point.
- At the Rigbye Arms, take a left down Stoney Lane. You can re-join the main walk route described above. Alternatively stay on Stoney Lane into Hilldale. Turn left on the A5209 and it will take you back to Parbold village. There are lovely view of the west Lancs plain this way which look out over Southport and Liverpool.
Details for a Picturesque Walk Around Parbold
425 feet (120 metres)
Parbold village (from the A5209 turn into the village. Go past the Windmill pub, over the canal bridge and take the left turn into a canal side free car park.
There are several other free car parking spots on the walk that you could use instead.
Parbold station ( 3 stops from Wigan Wallgate) is also a couple of minutes walk from the suggested start.
Country footpaths, canal towpath, woods and hills. Farmland with cows, horses, sheep and abundant bird life.
A wonderful selection of delightful pubs with amazing home cooked foods. Great real ales, wines. One with its own award winning micro brewery. All the pubs are individual and of fantastic décor. Many have spacious beer gardens with great views.
The cafes, including one at the start/finish all boast home baking, healthy food options as well as great teas, coffees and cold drinks. Many offer outdoor and indoor seating.
There are also many craft shops, galleries and other outlets on the walk as well as nearby.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map: 285 Southport & Chorley