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Lancashire Walk - Alum Scar

A circular pub walk from the Clog and Billycock in Pleasington, near Blackburn, Lancashire.

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The walking route performs a simple loop around the surrounding countryside, with rolling fields, woodland and one of Lancashire's best viewpoints. Although the walk is relatively easy-going for the most part, there are two steep climbs; the first from Arley Brook in Alum Scar itself and the second as you ascend to the Wainwright Memorial. After the Woodfold Estate there is a short stretch of road walking (around 700 metres), following a stretch of Further Lane with no pavement, so take care of traffic.

The remainder of the route follows a mixture of field paths, grass tracks and stone tracks. Some parts of the route are prone to mud after prolonged spells of wet weather, especially on the final section after the Wainwright Memorial.

The walk crosses several grass pastures which you will be sharing with cattle. You will need to negotiate several gates, around 15 stiles and one footbridge. Some of the stiles have tight fence surrounds, so dogs would need a lift over, and there is one in double-formation.

Allow 2.5 hours.

1. Start to Westholme School Begin the walk by standing at the Clog and Billycock car park vehicle entrance, facing the road. Cross the road (slightly to the right) to join the tarmac driveway leading towards a garage. Take the footpath which leads you through a narrow passage just to the left of this garage, crossing two stiles in quick succession. Dropping gently downhill, at first with a hedge on the right, bear right to follow telephone poles to reach the stile in the field corner, opposite Westholme School. 53.74916, -2.531311

2. Westholme School to Footbridge Cross the stile and cross the lane, then go straight ahead on the driveway, passing the school on your right. As you reach Shorrock Farm to the left, continue ahead on a track passing cottages on your right. Keep ahead, edging a lawn and heading down a narrow fenced passageway to cross a stile. Continue gently downhill with a fence on your left. After 150 metres cross a stile on the left (next to a metal gate) and continue downhill with the fence now on your right to reach a footbridge over Arley Brook. 53.751908, -2.531307

3. Footbridge to Further Lane Cross the brook and, as you reach the top of the embankment turn left (initially following the brook) and then, after a grassy depression bear diagonally right to a stile next to the gate. Go over this stile and follow the hedge on your right, passing an isolated farmhouse to reach Lodge Wood. Go ahead into the woodland. The path crosses a drive and then leads up to a stile by a metal gate. Cross the stile and turn left, following the edge of Woodfold Park Estate (with woodland on your left).

The Woodfold Park Estate has an interesting history. Towards the end of the C18 Henry Sudell, a cotton manufacturer and financier of Blackburn, purchased several estates in the area, including Woodfold Park. The Woodfold estate was sold in 1878 to Robert Daniel Thwaites, a brewer of Blackburn. On Thwaites' death in 1888 the estate descended to his only daughter, Elma Amy. Elma Amy was owner and then chairman of the Thwaites Brewery Company from 1888 to 1946. In the town of Blackburn, she was known for her generosity to the company's workers and as a public benefactor, helping fund the construction of the War Memorial wing to Blackburn Royal Infirmary and helping found the town's Empire Theatre, now named after her. Through Elma Amy's marriage in 1888 to Robert Armstrong Yerburgh (MP for Chester), the estate became the property of the Yerburgh family.

Keep ahead on the path, crossing a couple of stiles. After passing the impressive house of Woodfold Hall Stud on your left, the path continues ahead alongside the drive, leading down to emerge onto Further Lane (on a bend) via another stile. 53.75883, -2.533413

4. Further Lane to Alum Scar Lane Go straight ahead to join Further Lane and, taking care of traffic, keep on the lane for 700 metres. Soon after passing the entrance to Ravenswing Farm (on the right) turn left onto a footpath leading down to a stile. Cross the stile to enter a large field. Keep ahead to a stile (close to a metal gate). Cross this and beyond it the path swings right, aiming towards the lane at Wallbanks House (which is distinguished by a tall radio mast). When you reach the lane turn left. You are now on Alum Scar Lane which leads down towards Alum Scar Woods. Alum is a mineral that was once prized for its qualities as a dye fixative. In Henry VIII's reign, overseas access to the mineral was completely cut off after Henry was excommunicated by the Pope. Alum Scar was part of the domestic effort to make up for the loss of the imported supply. 53.76318, -2.55056

5. Alum Scar Lane to Alum Scar House 350 metres after joining the lane, where the lane bends right, fork left through a wooden side gate onto a broad track. Soon this track enters the dense woodland, descending to a handsome stone bridge over Arley Brook. Cross the bridge and, on the far side, the track climbs steeply to emerge close to Alum Scar House. You are now on the Witton Weavers Way (which you will be following back almost to the door of the Clog and Billycock). 53.753863, -2.560248

6. Alum Scar House to Maiden House Farm Drive Turn right onto a drive leading towards Close Farm. Just before the farm entrance, turn left over a double stile in the hedge onto a footpath. This footpath takes you across fields (initially with the hedge on your right and then with the hedge on your left) to reach Woodcock Hill Road. Cross over the road and keep ahead onto the drive of Maiden House Farm. 53.746963, -2.551159

7. Maiden House Farm Drive to Wainwright Memorial When the drive bends to the right, keep ahead on the grass and stone track. The path is well waymarked as you cross three fields ahead via stiles, with the hedge line initially to the left. This path has an elevated feel as it gives you fine views across to Darwen Tower. After the trail enters woods close to Butlers Delf, it turns left onto a track and then, before Winster House on the left, it turns right on a path leading up to a stile. Cross this stile into pastureland. Continue and keep heading up to the top of the hill (crossing another stile) to reach the Wainwright Memorial. 53.744651, -2.549894

8. Wainwright Memorial to End This modest height provides one of the best viewpoints in the whole of Lancashire. Little wonder then that the Wainwright Society should site a view pointer here in memory to one of Blackburn's most famous sons. From the top, keep ahead towards a stile close to a tree. Do NOT cross it, instead turn left on a footpath. (In our view this is the best type of public footpath, one that leads to a public house). Cross the stile to enter the woodland. After passing through this patch of woodland, the path drops down to Pleasington Lane, emerging directly next to the Clog and Billycock for some well-earned hospitality.

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