Walk: Witton Country Park

Witton Country Park map.
Witton Country Park map.

The modest hill behind the Clog and Billycock is one of the best viewpoints in Lancashire. Little wonder then that the Wainwright Society which celebrates the life and works of Alfred Wainwright, who was born in nearby Blackburn, has placed a view pointer here. “AW” as he was known created The Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, perhaps the most popular guide book ever published

1. From the car park pass the arena on the right and continue to a junction of paths. Turn right following signs for Big Cover Wood. Keep ahead on a broad drive behind the sports pavilion. In less than 200yards turn left into Big Cover Wood.

After passing through the adventure playground bear left across a footbridge on a public footpath leading up through the woods for a further 300yds to a metal kissing gate.

Go through this and follow the path as it crosses two pastures to reach a lane before Billinge Hill.

Turn left onto the lane and then bear right onto a bridleway that cuts a corner of the thickly wooded hill to reach a lane end. If you wish to go to the top of Billinge Hill 200 yds after entering the wood close to an orienteering control post, turn right onto a track leading upwards.

At the next junction turn left and keep on this path as it brings you to the summit – a small clearing with restricted views. Behind the summit turn left onto a broad track leading downwards. This will reunite you with the bridleway.

2. From the edge of the wood, cross to a kissing gate and then follow the path across a stile to reach an elevated pasture and then quickly attain the highest part of the hill.

On a clear day it is possible to see the Lakeland Fells, as well as a wide sweep of central Lancashire. This is also the site of a memorial plaque dedicated to Alfred Wainwright. (1907 – 1991). His is an extraordinary story – the local government officer whose love of the Lakeland fells led him to write a detailed guide which became a publishing phenomenon.

Through his guides and especially his creation of the Coast to Coast trail he is one of the biggest influences on recreational walking in the last 50 years. The route continues heading west following the Witton Weavers Way as it crosses two fields and drops towards Butlers Delph.

3. After crossing a stile it enters woods. As you reach a drive with a property on the right, turn left but almost immediately take a footpath on the right leading back into woodland.

When the Witton Weavers Way turns right keep ahead to exit the woods at a stile of sorts. Before you is a huge field. The path is by no means clear but by aiming to the left of an ornamental lake in 500yds you will arrive at a gully that channels you down a stile.

Cross this and follow the path as it leads onto a track close to Pleasington Old Hall. When you reach a lane turn right.

Passing between properties and after a black ornamental mail box on the right, turn left onto a drive that forms part of Route 6 of the National Cycle Network.

At the next junction turn right – with a left view of the hall.

Do not be perturbed by unusual amounts of traffic on this lane – up the hill is the cemetery and crematorium.

Keep on the lane until you reach the River Darwen at Bulter’s Bridge. Turn left in front of the bridge following a path upstream to a metal footbridge.

Cross this and turn left with the river on your left. For the next 400yds the way skirts a vast area of playing fields to the right to lead you back to your starting point.