Whittle Springs to Wheelton Circular along the Leeds Liverpool Canal -approximately 3 miles
Route along tow paths and tracks so reasonable footwear required.
Access : From the M61 leave at Junction 8 , take the A674 towards Blackburn. After the roundabout to Botany Bay take the first left down Moss lane and the first right into Dark Lane. Park on the roadside but please consider residents access. (Satnav PR6 8AE)
Walk back down Dark Lane and turn right into Moss lane to cross the canal bridge then turn right down a little path which leads to the canal tow path. Turn left and walk along the tow path. This is a lovely stretch with views up to the lock. This is the first lock in a staircase of 7 locks called Johnson’s Hillock which rise up 60 ft to the top lock at Wheelton. Keep your eyes peeled because the kingfisher is often flying around here.
Take the path that leads up and over the first bridge to bring you out at the first lock. It is quite interesting to be able see the workings of the lock especially if you are there at the same time as a boat is using it. Walk on with woodland to your left and the approach to the second lock. There are picnic tables here if you wish to stay a while and just enjoy the scenery. Follow the tow path where you pass the third lock and to Town Lane. Cross the road and re join the towpath and enjoy the next stretch of canal. Herons, swans, mallards all frequent here along with an occasional lucky glimpse of a fast flying kingfisher. You now pass a succession of locks which brings you out at The Top Lock and the marina.
The Top Lock is a great place to stop a while. They do craft beers, lagers, wine and gins and home cooked food.
The marina is interesting and offers moorings narrow boats and small boats. Wheelton Boatyard offers maintenance, repairs and a chandlery amongst its services.
Cross the road and continue on the tow path to left enjoying the beautifully painted narrow boats until you reach Bridge 83, Whins Bridge. To the left is a small gate which leads you over the bridge and up a track to a gate and stile. Climb over the stile to a lane surrounded on both sides by woodland. Turn right here and enjoy views down to the canal through the trees. The lane ends at a gate, walk through and this brings you out in the village of Lower Wheelton. At a small crossroads, notice to your right the beautiful Wheelton Clock Tower set in a lovely garden. Wheelton Clock Tower is a Grade II listed building. There are 2 plaques on the building. These record the names and regiments of the dead from Heapey and Wheelton in both World Wars. The memorial is made from local stone from Withnell and was unveiled in 1922.
Turn right into Kenyon Lane, signed Brindle and continue up the hill on the pavement until the road bears left and brings you out at the other side of the canal and Wheelton Boatyard and the Top Lock.
Cross the road and re join the towpath and retrace your steps back to the bottom lock and the stretch of canal that leads to the track up to Moss Lane, turn left over the canal bridge 80 and back to your starting point at Dark Lane.
I hope you enjoy this walk it is one of my favourites, with plenty to enjoy and suitable for families.