The Half Amble

It may seem obvious to some, but this route only covers half, maybe even less, of the route covered in the magnificent Anglezarke Amble. Here we take some of the route up to the Belmont Road which is the the wide track separating the toilet block and the path up to the steps (which in turn lead to Rivington Pike). It’s nowhere near as hard to describe as I have made out there.

Starting from the highest car park on the lane which leads to the Great Barn head towards the barn but take the left hand bridal way and bear right around the back of the barn. After some 50-75 yards take the gate/kissing gate on your left and head up the steadily steepening path until you hit a very wide gate with kissing gates either side of it. Go straight on. The path meanders through some woods and at a point when you see a path leading up very shallow steps on your left, take this. Cross the path atop this flight of steps and take the next path immediately opposite (apologies, there are lots of paths in this locale). When you finally arrive at the toilets block turn left and head towards Pigeon Tower / Dovecote. A broad track begins on your right – take this. The going is generally very good, if a little bumpy as this is a path of varied terrain. You should pass some woods on your left and the lesser summit of Noon Hill on your right. At the end of the path you should run into Rivington Road. Anyway, keep heading on this road until you see a very small parking space across the road on your left. Cross the road here (taking care; as the bikers who frequent this area are all nutcases!) and head through the obvious path onto a grassy and slightly muddy path.

A procession of orienteering people make their way down Will Narr.
A procession of orienteering people make their way down Will Narr.

This is Hordern Pasture. The wonderful path you see ahead of you was a new addition some time in between Good Friday and Halloween, 2016 and is a blessing as this used to be one of the most slippery paths in the area, after rain. Now it’s a breeze. The rest of the walk for the next mile and a half is a doddle as it’s simply a case of follow the flagstones. At one point the flags do turn into a collapsed wall but it is safe enough to walk on. Other than that it’s simply a case of watch your feet as the copious water around here freely drains onto this lovely flagged path. The path undulates for what feels like a long time, given the distance it ferries you, it really isn’t and after 30 minutes ambling you’re at the gate where begins the easiest of all ascents to the top of Great Hill. The stone seating has been reinforced and prettied up, so go on, have a sit down, take a look around – the view to Winter Hill (due south) is mesmerising and memorable.

On your feet once more and turn 90 degrees left. We’re going to drop down Great Hill on a path that at times is invisible and at other times you’d fail to miss it. Our first landmark of any note is the stunning Drinkwaters Farm which takes you back to a different age. If you have time just loiter here for a few moments and take in the views again. Then it’s back to the drop off Great Hill. The first very obvious turn off on the left (at a sign post) is the one to take in order to drop down steeper to White Coppice. Again this path does technically vanish from view in a few places but it’s a no-brainer to work out which way to go. The last few hundred feet or so are the steepest sections of the walk, be glad you’re not going up this way as it can be extremely tiring! A steep left-hand bend and you’re back onto fairly level ground.

Within a few yards you are in the vicinity of White Coppice cricket ground. It’s only ever open in summer and on the day of the Anglezarke Amble in February, but is often referred to as the ‘quaintest cricket ground in Lancashire’ – it”s cute in its tininess! The path we are following now gently undulates (through some big puddles if there has been rain) for around one kilometre and then we reach Moor Road. Turn left, cross the road and head off into the woods. There is a sign which acts like a landmark (No fishing by order of Southport AA – Angling Authority?). We are going slightly uphill for half a mile (maybe less) then across a field with the most narrow of all footpaths – it must only be about eighteen inches in width and has the odd random cow-pat, just to keep us watching our steps. By now you will hardly have failed to see the might Anglezarke Reservoir to your right, this is going to be with you for quite some time. Drop down a bit of a gravel road but bear with it. We should then pass by the High Bullough Reservoir (which can be a bit of a beauty spot in the right light) We then go up once more and into more woods but now we plateau for a good time until finally we drop steeply down a gravel path – it’s something like a one in seven drop so you will notice it.

Eventually the path runs onto the road at the entrance to the Anglezarke Reservoir Country park grounds. Merge with the road and at the t-junction take a right hand turn. We’re now going to be on pavement for a few hundred yards. When you see a water chute on your left and a 90 degree right hand turning, cross just before the corner and head into woodland once more. We go up a slope which looks far steeper than it is and then a bit of gentle rambling until we merge with a path from the left as we pass by yet another reservoir on our right. This is the embankment of the Yarrow reservoir and it has no pretensions to beauty so keep on going for a good ten minutes until you hit a kissing gate.

Take the immediate left and then after less than thirty feet turn right over a tiny footbridge which will take us over a stream. Turn right (there is no alternative) and then follow this lovely path but beware of missing chunks of it that the stream has claimed. Eventually we come to a set of steps, no more than twenty, once at the top of these charge towards the distant kissing gate at the far edge of the tree-lined field. Through this gate is Horrobin Lane, take your immediate left and then turn right on to Rivington Lane – there should be a weird little ‘Village Green’ on your right. Ignore the first large turning on your left – it’s a private driveway, but do take the next turning on the left after this. Go past the large metal barrier and keep on heading ever so slightly uphill to the top car park and to your waiting car.

It’s a real gem of a walk isn’t it?


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