Just north of Preston there is a natural corridor between the coast and the Bowland Fells which is exploited by the A6 (the ancient route between Scotland and England), Lancaster Canal, the West Coast Railway line and the M6. Each represents a different era in the history of transport but all are prisoners of geography. This walk, which starts less than ¾ mile from the motorway, makes good advantage of the canal while giving surprising views of the nearby hills. 

Start. St Lawrence's Church Barton on the A6 PR3 5DR (Street parking just to the north of this location on Jepps Lane. Otherwise try the village hall north of Jepps Lane. Otherwise come by bus!)



Distance: 5 ½ miles 9k

Time: 2 ½ - 3½ hours

Grade: Easy

Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool & Preston


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. The church of St Lawrence is a late 19th century build and possesses a prominent spire which will prove a reference point throughout the walk. From the church gate cross the A6 turn left heading south. After passing an imposing and elegant house turn right onto the drive of the next pair of properties opposite Barton Car Sales.


Pass between the two houses and cross a stile (awkward when the route was checked!) and soon after cross the bridge


over the main West Coast railway line. In the field beyond keep to the hedge on the right. The path leads to Hankinson Bridge across the Lancaster Canal.


Keep ahead passing Hankinson House


and when its drive swings left 150 yds after the house keep ahead entering a field by a metal gate. Keep to the hedge on the right which will bring you to a stile


on a junction of paths made evident by the waymark symbols that adorn it. Your way is north (a right turn from your previous line of travel). With hedgerow on your right


cross a number of fields


(five if you care to count) until you reach Cross House. A stile to the right of the house


places you on a tarmac drive.


Keep on this for a little under half a mile to reach a junction just before Fence Foot a large farm complex.


2. Turn left over a wooden stile next to a metal gate.


Now on a farm track turn right at the first junction.


On another rutted track turn left at the next junction after passing a barn on the left. Keep on this rutted track


for 60yds and then cross a stile (not easy to spot) by a metal gate on the right. Cross the field diagonally left to reach a broken gate


giving access to another rutted track. Keep on this when it turns right to resume the northward direction of this stage of the walk.


After a stile by a metal gate


the path leads to stone gateposts


then crosses a plank bridge on the edge of a large field. Turn left and then after entering the adjoining field turn right to follow the hedge to arrive on Moss Lane.


Turn left. At the junction keep ahead to follow the drive to Lee Farm.


As you enter the complex keep ahead with the house on the right and weaving between chained and noisy dogs bear left


to follow a grassy track between hedges to an enclosure on the far side of which a stile gives access to fields.


Aim for a fence corner


and maintain the diagonal direction to the far corner of a large not well defined field to locate a stile


that is obscured by the hedgerow. Over this turn left keeping to the boundary to the next stile. Over this cross the field to a metal gate.


Through this keep ahead to a gate giving access to a farmyard.


Cross the yard to arrive on Moss Lane close to its junction with St Michael's Road.


3. After the intricacies of the previous section the rest of the way is easy to follow. Turn right on the lane and at the next junction turn left on a path that soon reaches the Lancaster Canal.


Access the tow path through a gate on the left and then turn right heading south.


After half a mile come off at the next bridge (No 42 or White Horse Bridge)


cross the canal and turn right onto the long farm drive of Higher Park Head.


Just before you reach the farmhouse


turn left onto a track that dog-legs right past a large barn.


On the far side turn left onto a track leading to the railway. Cross the pedestrian bridge -


not in sight until you are almost at the fence. After a ginnel enter a close which will take you to the A6.


Turn right for the church.