WALK NO. 8. WINDMILL HOTEL – WOODFOLD PARK – PLEASINGTON – ALUM SCAR – MOSS HALL
The Windmill lies at the eastern extremity of the parish and this route, of about five and a half miles, almost circumnavigatcs Woodfold Park.
USE THE STILE WHICH IS OPPOSITE THE WINDMILL AND STANDS BACK FROM PRESTON NEW ROAD. WALK BEYOND THE LEFT HAND GATE AND NEGOTIATE THE DITCH AND FENCE OPPOSITE AN OLD CLAY PIT.
TAKE A RIGHT DIAGONAL TOWARDS THE OPPOSITE CORNER, WHERE THERE IS A STILE BETWEEN TWO ADJACENT GATES.
The ditch is part of the Samlesbury/Mellor boundary and the raised ground along which this path lies, indicates the line of an old road which could still be used at the beginning of this century.
GO OVER THE STILE AND PASS BETWEEN THE HEDGES TO STEPS IN THE WALL WHICH LEAD ONTO FAR LANES. TURN RIGHT FOR ABOUT A QUARTER OF A MILE, UNTIL YOU REACH THE TALL GATES OF WOODFOLD PARK.
William Yates’ map of Lancashire, (1786) shows several dwellings between Ward’s Farm and Ravens Wing which are no longer in existence. The positions of some of them are perhaps indicated by indentations in the roadside fields and they may have been included in the area which used to be known as Shorrocks Green.
USE THE LEFT HAND FIELD GATE AND PROCEED BETWEEN THE WALL AND THE ELECTRICITY POLES.
There are several places along this route when extensive views reveal themselves. Here, on clear days, can be seen Mellor Moor, the Bowland Fells, HMS Inskip, Blackpool Tower, Preston and Black Combe in the Lake District. The wall – built at the end of the 18th century – encloses some of the Southworth’s old manorial lands in Mellor and is about four miles round.
WHEN YOU REACH THE FENCE, GO OVER THE STILE BY TIIE GATE AND WALK ALONG AN OLD COP, (BY A FEW TREES), TO A SECOND STILE.
Through the gate is another old way leading to Stanley House and I’reslon New Road.
CONTINUE WALKING BETWEEN THE ELECTRICITY POLES AND A POST AND WIRE FENCE TO THE THIRD STILE IMMEDIATELY ON THE RIGHT IS A FOURTH ONE, BY A GATE LEADING INTO LODGE WOOD.
Yates’ map again sheds light on the past. The old route from Nabs Ileml to Blackburn followed Far Lanes to the bend by the park gates, then. branched right, continuing along here, past Arley Farm, Toad Hole and Beardwood; whilst a third connected Far Lanes to Park Lane. This presumably explains why parishioners have always used the nume – Far Lanes – in the plural.
On the left used to be an avenue leading to Stanley House.
ENTER THE WOODLAND, FOLLOWING THE TRACK ACROSS A DRIVE TO THE FENCE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE.
When there were festivities at Woodfold Hall, boys were employed to stand along this drive, holding lamps.
NEGOTIATE THE FENCE AND WALK ALONG THE LEFT- HAND HEDGESIDE THROUGH TWO FIELDS.
Just before Walks Cottage, another footpath strikes left to Preston New Road.
GO OVER THE NEXT STILE BY THE CORNER GATE AND TURN SHARP LEFT ALONG THE OLD SUNKEN ROAD. CROSS THE LITTLE STREAM IN THE BOTTOM AND GO TOWARDS ARLEY FARM. TURN RIGHT ALONG THE GARDEN WALL AND BEYOND THE GATE YOU WILL FIND STEPPING STONES ACROSS ARLEY BROOK, INTO PLEASINGTON.
Again, a footpath leaves this one, going to Preston New Road through Arley Farm, which originally stood at a road junction.
WALK UP THE SLOPE BY THE LEFT-HAND FENCE/WALL (PASSING A STILE TO LOWER BENCOCK FARM) AND FOLLOWING THE LINE OF ANOTHER OLD ROAD TO PLEASINGTON. AT THE TOP OF THE FIELD, USE A STILE/GAT E TO MOVE TO THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE FENCE AND CONTINUE UPHILL, BY THE SUNKEN LANE TO HIGHER SHORROCK HEY FARM. BEAR RIGHT, GOING ROUND THE GARDEN WALL, ALONG THE FARM ROAD AND ACROSS A SECOND OCCUPATIONAL ROAD INTO WOODFOLD PARK. ENTER THE NEXT FIELD AND FOLLOW THE ELECTRICITY POLES UP THE HILL.
Again, on a clear day, there are extensive views. They include Pendle, the Ribble Estuary, Fylde Coast and Morecambe Bay.
THE SUNKEN ROAD APPEARS ONCE MORE, GOING UP TO A STILE BETWEEN AN ELECTRICITY SUBSTATION AND A GARAGE. THIS LEADS ONTO BILLINGE END ROAD, ALMOST OPPOSITE THE CLOG AND BILLYCOCK.
On the front wall of the second cottage on the left is a life sized head of a man who, apparently, resembles Oliver Cromwell.
TURN RIGHT AND WALK ALONG THE ROAD FOR ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF A MILE, PASSING A BEAUTIFULLY KEPT GATEHOUSE ON THE RIGHT. WHEN THE ROAD BENDS SHARPLY TO THE LEFT, WALK STRAIGHT ON, CONTINUING ALONGSIDE THE PERIMETER WALL AND INTO ALUM SCAR LANE.
At Close Farm you can pick up walk No. 4, making a detour through Hoghton and Samlesbury Bottoms.
Before Preston New Road was built, this lane through Alum Scar was another well-used way into Blackburn and the woodland provided a useful source of fuel.
One day, around 1892, there was an old woman on the right-hand bank picking up sticks, whilst Betsy, a local farmer’s wife and her daughter Martha were driving home in a milk ?oat. g The shawled figure, bobbing up and down, must have seemed incomprehensible to a young horse, and she bolted down the lane. Betsy stood up in the boat in an effort to regain control, but the noise of empty milk churns clanging around, frightened the horse even more. inevitably, they careered headlong round the bend, over the edge and into the bottom. . Betsy and Martha regained consciousness and made a full recovery, but sadly, the mare had to be shot.
CROSS THE ALUM HOUSE BROOK AND GO UP THE TRACK TO A STILE/GATE ONTO THE METALLED STRETCH OF THE LANE.
The remains of a weir above the bridge indicates the site of Maudland Mill, which was built when Henry Sudall bought the estate and enclosed the park. Once over the brook, you are back in Samlesbury. Everything is overgrown here and trees cling to the rock strata and anything else they can get to grips with. .
GO STRAIGHT ON UNTIL YOU REACH A STILE / GATE MOST DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM WALLBANKS FARM.
Near the road to Dawson Fold, another lane also branched off on the opposite side. There were two dwellings along it in 1786, where it curved down to the brook.
ADOPT A LEFT DIAGONAL LINE, MAKING FOR A SECOND STILE IN THE IRON HURDLES. CONTINUE ACROSS THE CORNER OF THE NEXT FIELD TO A THIRD STILE BY THE GATE.
Having crossed the ditch, you are again in Mellor and behind the wall is the ruinous, but beautifully proportioned Woodfold Hall. It was once the home of Daniel Thwaites, whose daughter married Robert Ycrburgh. Their descendant, The Lord Alvingham, still owns the estate.
FOLLOW THE WALL TO HIGHER CHANNELS AND LOOK FOR A STILE LEADING INTO THE GARDEN. WALK ALONG THE FLAGS LAID IN THE BACK LAWN AND THEN BY THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE TO A STILE IN THE HEDGE ONTO FAR LANES. TURN RIGHT, GOING UP THE HILL AND ALONG THE ROAD TO CHESTNUT COTTAGE, ABOUT HALF A MILE AWAY.
On the left is Ravenswing, where the Wesleyans used the barn for their services, concerts and tea parties, before the Nab Chapel was built.
TURN LEFT THROUGH A NARROW DOOR, IMMEDIATELY PAST THE COTTAGE, THEN LEFT AGAIN BEHIND THE GARDEN AND UP THE BANK TO A SMALL WROUGHT IRON GATE.
There used to be a house on the left called High Field, close to Bolton Fold and footpaths ran past them both through Higher Park Farm to Park Lane.
WALK ALONGSHDE THE GULLY, THROUGH A GATE BEHIND MOSS HALL, ROUND THE GARDEN AND ONTO THE FARM ROAD BEYOND.
Yates’ map shows that this path, also, was originally a road.
TURN RIGHT INTO PARK LANE AND RIGHT AGAIN ONTO PRESTON NEW ROAD, FROM WHERE IT IS ONLY A SHORT DISTANCE TO THE WINDMILL.