Sunday, February 18, 2007

Canal Walk: Riley Green to Cherry Tree

I was hoping to walk at Hapton but there is nowhere to park at the boatyard by Knotts bridge so it was on to Plan B and Riley Green. There was a stretch of towpath between Feniscowles and Cherry Tree that had yet to walk so it was a good opportunity to complete the section.
Riley Green is just off Junction 3 of the M65. The Boatyard Inn makes it clear they do not want people to use their parking spaces while walking even if they use the pub during the visit. So, rather than risk the clamp and fine they threaten, I parked in the roadside parking on the A675 just off Junction 3.

Its a short walk down to the towpath at Riley GreenBridge #91A. There is a picturesque ruin besides the bridge. At the canal I turned right and headed towards Blackburn. The towpath is muddy here and a bit slippy but not so bad that it put off the families on bikes.
It didn't take long before I was at Feniscowles and at the border of Chorely and Blackburn. As the canal crosses and aqueduct next to the large paper works the M65 drones past on a higher viaduct. On the towpath it is easy to ignore the motorway behind the trees. There was a lone mandarin duck amongst the mallards, quite appropriate on Chinese New Year.
I found milepost 53 easily but 53.25 and 53.5 were a bit more of a challenge. The quarter milepost was almost completely buried, the half in a hedge. The stone marked on the OS map turned out to be the milestone for 53 miles, its near to the half milepost. The milestone is well preserved and has lasted better than the metal mileposts that replaced it. It has a bench mark carved on the top.
Between Feniscowles Bridge and Cherry Tree bridge there is a lot of new housing the only signs of the past are the remains of a railway bridge, an old cottage, some warehouses and the canal itself.
The towpath between Feniscowles bridge and Cherry Tree has been recently improved and is idea for people on wheels or those who dont like skidding about in mud. There is a new sign giving information about the towpath route.
Its a nice walk, popular with locals, although I much prefer walking the other way from Riley Green. Now I have done this section I have walked or cycled the first 63 and a half miles of the Leeds Liverpool Canal from Liverpool to Church without a gap.

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