We published a walk before connecting two bus routes from Preston between Bilsborrow and Longridge but for many readers access to Preston Bus Station is not convenient, so we offer this route starting close to Barton Grange Garden Centre on the A6 north of Bilsborrow.
It has two aspects: a delightful walk along the river Brock, one of Lancashire’s hidden gems and a relatively short climb and traverse of fields with a marvellous open aspect giving a wonderful panorama.
1. From the entrance to Barton Grange cross the A6 turn right and walk down to the Landover dealers.
Turn left on a footpath that crosses the car park to a footbridge crossing the railway.
Continue on a footpath that follows the River Brock under the M6 motorway, then 300yds beyond the motorway cross a footbridge on the right and continue on a path leading up to a lane by New Bridge.
Keep ahead crossing to a stone squeeze stile and follow the path that edges alongside a property at the far side of which cross a stile into a large field.
Still with the river to the left, though obscured by trees, keep ahead until you arrive at Walmsley Bridge.
2. Cross the bridge and turn right onto a footpath taking you back alongside the river. After 0.5 mile the path enters a large long field and bears left to meet a track on the edge of woodland.
Turn right on the track and follow it through woods. After passing a signpost for Brock Bottoms Mill pointing right, the river bends northwards while the path enters a less wooded space after a coin studded log.
3. Then 300yds further along turn left onto a footpath leading up through trees. This steep slope is marked as Nanny’s Breast on the OS 25,000 map. As the path levels off, cross a stile to enter a field. Keep ahead for a short distance and then bear right, in a northerly direction, towards a metal gate and stile noting a fine view of Beacon Fell to the right.
Cross the stile which puts you onto Brock Mill Lane. Turn left. Keep on the lane past the next junction to the left where it becomes Gonder Lane.
Pass the junction with Bleasdale Lane on the right, then 0.25 mile further on turn left onto the farm drive of what you will soon discover is the well-named High House Farm. As the track bends to the left take a footpath on the right through a metal gate.
Cross the field to a stile by a metal gate on the far side.Once over the stile turn left alongside the hedge to another gate and stile.
By now you will be experiencing a remarkable sense of elevation all the more surprising because apart from the short ascent of Nanny’s Breast you have not done any noticeable climbing. Continuing in a southerly direction confirmed by the dreaming spires of Preston in the distance begin a gentle descent to a wooden gate in the field corner.
Through the gate a very muddy track which leads to Clarkson’s farm. (This may be best avoided by entering the adjoining field through a convenient gap and walking parallel to the track). Cross over a stile into the driveway of Clarkson’s Farm.
Turn right onto a lane and then soon after left onto Walmsley Bridge Lane. When you arrive at the bridge cross it and turn right onto a footpath to retrace your outward steps.
Points of interest: Barton Grange Garden Centre which in 2014 won the prestigious Destination Garden Centre of the Year Award from the Garden Centres Association for the fourth year running.
Pleasantly situated between the Brock and the Lancaster Canal its extensive range and friendly staff no doubt contribute to its prize winning formula.
Start/finish: Bilsborrow – close to Barton Grange Garden Centre PR3 0BT
Distance: 7miles 11k
Time: 3 - 4 hours
Summary. Mainly easy.
Maps: OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland