If you read my planning post last week, you’ll know that I had big plans for the weekend. Unfortunately with the interchangable and damp weather my plans changed. But, we did make it over to Parbold for a circular walk in the mud and darkness.
Before we headed out, I printed out a little circuar route map that I found on the Lancashire Walks website. It looked to be pretty simple and straight forward so I didn’t bother downloading an OS map into my Trail Ranger.
The route starts at Parbold Village Hall which is really easy to find (postcode for SatNav WN8 7DN) and there is plenty of free parking. We found a space even though there was a pretty popular Flea Market on while we were there. Luckily the Village Hall was open as it gave us chance to nip to the loo before heading out on our route.
The walk is fairy gentle taking you around the roads of the village to begin with. A perfect opportunity to have a nosy at the houses and area.
Parbold has been on our list of places to visit for over a year since we me a family on our camping trip to Abersoch and they recommended it for walking. Just shows how many other places there are on the doorstep to visit and how long it can take to getting there.
Pretty and green
Even on a pretty dark and damp day, one thing that stands out about Parbold is how incredibly lush and green it is!
The walk continues around the roads and eventually starts taking you into the fields and pathways. Despite the amount of rain that we had on Saturday, the ground was pretty solid, so walking boots were sufficient to get us through any wet bits.
Our walking map from Lancashire Walks had pictures of each of the points where the route changed or there were gates, this was useful when looking in the vicinity of the points, but there was a bit too little information in parts to help you to find the points! (and this was only the beginning!)
Of course, I was happy to see some sheep on the route though. Nothing quite like making some new friends on a walk!
Up then Down into the Fairy Glen
This is definitely a gentle walk if you’re a hiker, but perfect if you’re looking for something gentle or you’re out with the kids. The gentle sloping hills take you over some farmland and around farmhouses (which were lovely, I have to add) and then down into the Fairy Glen.
I have a kind of afinity to the idea of a Fairy glen following some land art back in college when I created my own fairy glen between the roots in the gully of trees in Delamere Forest. (If I find the picture, I’ll pop it in for you to see)
The Fairy Glen was far busier than the rest of the route had been. Although it was a bit hillier and a bit muddier, it was definitely a favourite spot for families – I had to wait or them to vanish behind trees so that I could get the pictures I wanted.
Even with the people around, it was still a lovely place to visit. Trickling waterfalls and brooks led the way through the valley and breeze rustling through the branches and the leaves made it feel incredibly autumnal.
Water, water everywhere
Actually, the Fairy Glen was possibly part of the driest parts of our walk in the end as the water stayed where it was supposed to be! It must be the right kind of damp though because the show of toadstools was spectacular!
The other side of the Fairy Glen popped us out onto the main road again, towards a pub (if you fancied it) and back into some farm land.
Over the road, to the farm via “Boar’s Den”
This is where the instructions and the map start to become a little bit vague. Of course it could be because there is building work going on around the area, but it isn’t great when you’re not quite sure where you are heading which leaves you wandering back and forth from time to time trying to get back on track and look for a specific gate or marker.
Never the less, we did make it up the hill and find our way over the the distinctive “Boar’s Den”. Boar’s Den is an unusual hillock in the middle f the farm land which is in fact an ancient burial mound. It is beautifully rounded and shaped (if you can actually say such a thing about a burial mound) and looks kind of strange in the landscape. I like that it has history though and will probably look up more about it when the weather gets colder.
After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we managed to get back onto the track after walking back on ourselves and up towards the farm in the other direction. This led us back onto the main pathway which would lead us up through the muddy paths and up towards the trig point where we were excited to take in the views over the hills through the misty skies.
The walk up the hill wasn’t too challenging as it was fairly gentle so we weren’t going to break a sweat. The views from the top were surprisingly clear considering the cloud and mist cover and you can really see the shape of the land around Boar’s Den from up there.
Once again, you pop out onto a road that takes you into what looks like a private drive to a manor house. It is actually the drive to Horrock Hall.
To the Trig Point (and round about in the fields!)
This is where the instructions became a bit vague and the map didn’t really help much either. After a couple of rounds int he field and through the deep mud we finally came across the gate that we were looking for – it is further up the drive and the sign is missing. This will take you up the side of the hill and under the trees. In the distance you will be able to see the buildings and the trig point.
Unfortunately as we drew closer to the trig point, we realised that something wasn’t quite right. Despite the pictures depicting something different, we actually couldn’t get near to the highest point at all because it was barriered off. Not to leave without our trig shot, we grabbed one between us from a distance.
Getting lost and heading back before the light went
Unfortunately, the map and instructions weren’t great after this point meaning that we added an additional couple of miles to the route trying to find the points that were outlined. It appears that some of the styals and gates have changed since the map was created, so that is a warning if you’re going on a map with no age! However, with good direction skills, out tracking map and some sheer guess work, we managed to get back onto the route even without the images. This did take us through a lot of mud, soggy sliding paths and gorse bushes, but we made it to the road just in time for the sun to really start going down.
Back to the car
Luckily we made it back onto the main roads so could follow our new route more safely than through woods and fields in the dark. We made it back to the car literally just in time for it to get dark. Phew!
The drive home was easy and comfortable as it is just nipping onto the M6, the M62 and then the M60 to get back to Manchester/Oldham way.
We will definitely be doing this walk again sometime in the future, but I am definitely going to go with full OS map and will more than likely take some renewed photos to feed back to Lancashire Walks to save other people having to do some mini missions to find the next point. Parbold itself seems like a lovely village (with lovely people, I might add, as the ones we met in the flea market were great!) There are loads of other walks in the areas too, so we we’ll certainly make use of our maps.
Oh yes and it played out that the darkness coming was a great reminder to get visible for the darker months – I’ll review my new lights once I have given them a go!
Here’s to the weekend and some more muddy wanders (with maps!)
Have you ever been to Parbold? Have you ever had experiences of getting lost in the hills?
Share in the comments below!
Walk: Parbold Circular through the Fairy Glen
Map: OS Explorer 285 Stockport and Chorley
Parking: Free at Parbold Village Hall, WN8 7DN
Toilets: Yes, if the Village Hall is open