START: Pleasington village. Roadside parking by the Butler’s Arms and Priory

DISTANCE: 4 miles (allow 2 hours)

MAP: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors

THIS walk explores the countryside at the residential west end of Blackburn where the town merges into the villages of Feniscowles and Pleasington, which became fashionable places to live in the 19th century for Blackburn’s merchant class. Feniscowles once had its own train station on the Blackburn-Chorley railway which closed to passengers in 1960. As well as following the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, this walk crosses two rivers - the Darwen and its tributary, the Roddlesworth - and passes the site of the former Star and Sun paper mills and overlooks the ruin of Feniscowles Hall. The ‘new’ Hall was built as a residence for William Feilden in the 1800’s, a member of the family who were lords of the manor of Blackburn, their main residence being Witton Hall.

1. Opposite the Butler’s Arms join the footpath that starts along the right hand side of the Priory.

This runs downhill as a fenced path between fields with a good view towards Blackburn. At the bottom of the hill just go straight ahead along the edge of a playing field parallel to the cemetery road on the left. This leads to Butler’s Bridge, the old crossing point of the River Darwen. Cross the bridge and continue straight ahead across the edge of another playing field heading for the

rear of the football pavilion. If football matches are being played on these fields simply walk around the edge.

2. At the back of the pavilion building head diagonally right to the nearby woodland. Join a path that enters the woods at a wooden public footpath signpost. This is difficult to see until you are close to it. The woodland path runs uphill to a bridge over the Bolton-Preston railway. Cross the bridge and turn left along a residential estate road. Then turn first left up another road to join the

pavement of the busier A674 Preston Old Road.

3. Turn right along this, following the pavement. Cross the main road with care to turn first left up Cherry Tree Lane which passes a branch library on the left hand side. When the lane turns sharp left around the library go straight ahead across the grass to go through a pedestrian access and join the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Turn right and go under the canal bridge. The towpath is now followed for about 1 ¼ mile. After about a mile look out on your right for the white boundary post that indicates you are crossing from Blackburn into Chorley borough. At the same point the canal crosses over the River Roddlesworth (which

forms the borough boundary) and the M65 can be seen high above the woods on the other side of the canal.

4. Continue from the boundary to the next bridge over the canal. After going under this bridge leave the canal on the right. The path goes steeply downhill to enter an overgrown area next to the demolished paper mills. Follow the right edge of the overgrown site which leads back to Preston Old Road.

5. Cross this busy road with great care and turn right following the pavement. Over to your left you cross the River Roddlesworth again close to the point where it joins the River Darwen.

In the woods below the road you can glimpse the remains of Feniscowles Hall which was built very close to the river. Follow the pavement uphill to the first lane on the left before the roundabout is reached. Turn left down here and simply follow the pavement of the lane leading into Pleasington. The lane passes the parish church and war memorial and crosses the River Darwen before climbing uphill to the Butler’s Arms.