Much Hoole to Longton


One of the first journeys I ever made in Lancashire was to take the Number 2 bus from Preston Railway station to Tarleton on my way to an interview. As the bus left the suburbs of Penwortham I became more and more incredulous at what I noticed from the top deck as the bus wound its way through Hutton, Longton, Walmer Bridge and Much Hoole. Up from London “Lancashire” had conjured up an entirely different mental picture to what I was seeing. Where were “the dark satanic mills” in a monotone Lowryesque landscape? I knew enough about human geography to note the linear settlement of the villages I passed through – Longton was long! And beyond the houses the wide, flat fields. This was most definitely rural and I was later to discover just one aspect of Lancashire’s diverse countryside. The walk described below is one that is best achieved using the 2/2A bus service parking at Longton Brickcroft and then taking the bus to the Smith Inn Much Hoole from where you can make a journey of discovery into a part ot the county that does not feature much in the annuls of walking literature. 

Start: Near the Smithy Inn, Much Hoole

Finish: Longton Brickcroft PR4 5YY

Fact File:

Distance: 5 miles

Time: 2 - 3 hours

Grade: Easy but with a number of stiles.

Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool & Preston


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


From the Smithy Arms continue along Liverpool Old Road in the direction of Southport. When you are 100yds from the busy A59 ahead turn left onto a footpath


between properties with a helpful map displayed on the wall end. At first on an enclosed path cross a field and after a stile go through a metal kissing gate.


Just after this cross a stile embedded in the hedgerow to the left of the main path. The path crosses to a footbridge into a large field to the rear of a property. Aim for the right side of the house. A stile next to a metal gate


leads onto Town Lane. Turn right. Town Lane leads back to the A59 near San Marco's Restaurant.


Cross Liverpool Road at the traffic island to reach Liverpool Old Road. Follow this past St Michaels CofE Primary School to the church.


From the church continue along Liverpool Old Road and almost immediately turn right onto a drive. In a short distance the drive swings right but here keep ahead to cross a stile next to a wide gate.


Follow the side of a field to arrive on Haunders Lane.


Turn right and then in 50yds turn left through a gap in the hedgerow to join a narrow path leading along the right side of a field. After passing through a thicket


cross a plank bridge to reach a farm track. Turn right. Keep on this to reach Marsh Farm noting the closer it gets to the farm the less defined it seems to become. (Normally it works the other way round.) After passing a green house on the left the route soon reaches the farm drive with the house and yard to the left.


Turn right on the drive and follow it as it bends to the right passes Hannings Farm (Marked "Much Hoole Marsh House" on the OS map)to reach the end of Haunders Lane.


At the direction post turn left onto a path that quickly takes you onto the embankment above the River Douglas. (Or River Asland if you prefer!)


Keep on the embankment for over half a mile and then drop to a stile next to a metal gate. Keep to the fence on the left as you cross a field to a similar arrangement leading onto the bottom of Station Road. To begin with the path follows the boundary of an old land fill site


to the left. Keep to the fence for 600yds as it brings you a wooden stile below the embankment on the left. Cross to a small wooden gate


and follow an enclosed path that edges along hedgerow. This will bring you to the embankment looking out towards Longton Marsh. After crossing a culvert over Tarra Carr Gutter follow the embankment as it swings right to a junction of paths. Here go straight ahead to an enclosed path


leading alongside fields to Marsh Lane and the Dolphin pub.


Turn right. Keep ahead on the lane for 400yds to reach the junction with Hall Carr Lane.


Turn right. In 100yds turn left onto a footpath leading across a very flat landscape.


Local legend has it that this byway is an ancient one - its straightness attributed to Roman civil engineering. It is well way marked at first with a fence on the right. After a plank bridge stile arrangement follow the fence to the left and cross a stile on the left at the next corner. Resume the direction of travel (eastwards) bearing right at the end of a remnant hedge. Cross a wooden stile in the next corner


and keep ahead through tall grass to reach a hedge. Keeping this too your left continue to reach a sign post at a junction of paths. Keep straight following the hedge on the left along a not much used path to emerge onto a drive at the end of Meadow Head Lane.


Turn right and then left onto Hall Lane which will bring you out on Liverpool Road opposite the Brickcroft.