Walk Local, wherever you are

An easy, level, walk down the Sankey Valley
Distance - 10 miles / 16 kilometres, very flat
Terrain - gravel & tarmac track,
Parking - Car park at the rear of the Ship Inn on the A58 at Blackbrook

A gentle walk along 200 years of industrial history,with a very idiosyncratic pub thrown in for good measure The Sankey Canal was first opened in 1757 to move coal from St Helens down to the Mersey, a walk down here 50 years ago would have been a very different experience - it would be unlikely you would have seen Heron, Grey Wagtails, Coots, Moorhen around then !

sankey valley

From the car park round the back of the pub, where the sadly closed Visitor Centre is, go through the narrow exit and turn left 534965- this takes to to the A58, cross with care and head for what looks like somebody’s drive on the other side of the road

Pass the house and walk south along the canal bank, and turn east with the canal at the second footbridge, 535 961, passing (quickly) past the sewage works

After a while  the path forks 542958 and passes on both sides of a series of small ponds - it joins back up later 550954, so you can go either way

The path moves away from the canal and at 562949, you cross the A572, continuing east under one of oldest railway viaducts in the world, built by George Stevenson between 1828 and 1830

Less than half a mile later, you pass more industrial heritage in the form of the Mucky Mountains, and if you read that history you’ll be all the more surprised at the range of flora and fauna you can see around today

Past the Mucky Mountains, after the old locks there is a footbridge on the left - ignore it if your heading for the Fiddle, but it does lead to a car park on the other side of the canal if you want to do either half of this as a shorted walk

Carry on for another kilometre or so and you pass under a road bridge - once under the bridge, take the steps up on the right that take you up to Alder Lane, and turn left at the top - cross the road with care and head a hundred yards left for the Fiddle I’th bag, a pub interesting enough to get a Telegraph reviewer north of Watford