My walk last weekend started from Burscough and crossed some of the flattest land on the Lancashire Plains. It was based on the ‘Wetlands and Waterways Route’, a 14.5 mile hike but we decided to just do the Burscough Loop. a gentle 7 mile stroll.
We parked at Burscough Bridge railway station and Martin and I started off by passing through a gate at the end of the Northern platform to follow an overgrown path running parallel to the tracks. At the level crossing we turned right to follow Crabtree Lane. We soon left the road and walked along field paths. The area was completely flat but very attractive.
We had two A4 pages of detailed instructions but as always we soon went wrong, missing an unmarked path to our left. We soon realised our mistake and noticed that the point we were at was on our return route so we decided to continue onwards but do the walk in the reverse direction. We followed signs for the Martin Mere Wetlands Centre and on reaching the perimeter fence we followed the Reedbed Path. This is part of the free section of Martin Mere Reserve and there were a couple of hides overlooking the mere. We had a look but there was little sign of ant activity on the water.
Leaving the reserve we followed a quiet country lane to join the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. The weather was beautiful and there were lots of boats passing along the canal. The canal bank and the hedgerows were full of wild flowers.
We followed the towpath all the way back to our starting point at Burscough Bridge passing come beautiful canal side cottages along the way.
Our little navigation error worked out well for us as it meant we had a longer section along the canal towpath. We had walked 7 miles with a total ascent of 22 feet. That was crossing over the railway bridge to reach the Northern platform at the start of the walk.
It had been a beautiful warm day and we were thirsty. Not wanting to risk dehydration we were forced to call in at the Saracens Head for a welcome pint, my first since last August.