Parbold Hill & Fairy Glen

22nd January 2021

With a long weekend booked off I set about planning a local walk either from the doorstep or across town, both involved a walk along the Leeds & Liverpool canal. I'd set my mind on walking through Haigh Hall, a country park set within acres of woodland open spaces. It was Paula who suggested a walk through Fairy Glen after our daughter and granddaughter had visited prior to lock down so I thought why not, after all I've never been before.

Fairy Glen consists of a woodland trail set alongside Sprodley Brook. The area surrounding the trail is known as Parbold, a small village on the western fringe of town nestled below Parbold Hill. Fairy Glen is found on the southern flank of Parbold Hill which means the trail is quite hilly and also means there's a couple of nice waterfalls to see which I guess where the name Fairy Glen derives from.

The first part of todays walk was almost spoiled by the sheer amount of mud I had to wade through but that didn't stop Brad & Holly enjoying themselves, in fact it was the sight of those two playing around which changed my mind-set, who cares if there's mud, that's what walking boots are made for right!


Ascent: 456 Feet - 140 Metres
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Bright For Much Of The Morning, Feeling Mild. Highs of 8°C Lows of 8°C
Parking: Lay-by Parbold Hill, Wigan
Area: Parbold, Wigan
Miles: 4
Walking With: Brad & Holly
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 285
Time Taken: 2 Hours 20 Minutes
Route: Parbold Hill - High Moor - Bowling Green House Farm - Parbold Hill - A5209 - Wood Lane - Leeds & Liverpool Canal - Gillbrand House - Delf House Wood - Fairy Glen - Parbold Hill

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: WN6 9EQ
Grid Reference: SD 516 109


Map and Photo Gallery


High Moor from the top of Parbold Hill 09:00am 8°C

After a twenty minute drive I arrived at the lay-by at the top of Parbold Hill and began my kit up. Brad & Holly had been sat on the passenger seat shaking with excitement and because I knew how excited they'd be and the fact we would be kitting up next to a main road anything and everything had to be thought of back home even if it meant placing a pair of gloves in my jacket pocket at home and not while holding two very excited Westies who just wanted to run off and explore.

Kit up lasted less than a few minutes and judging by how wet things look underfoot I'm pleased I changed my mind from wearing jeans to my walking trousers. Seeing as the route should only take me a couple of hours or so Im not carrying a pack and all photos are taken using my mobile phone again.

Woodland, High Moor.

That's where I'm heading next, you wouldn't have thought Storm Chrisoph had been here at all looking how tranquil things look but here in Wigan major roads had flooded along with businesses and some homes too. It was touch and go on Thursday when a Fire Engine showed up in the street which as it turned out was measuring the water level in a brook which links Scotmans Flash with the River Douglas. The brook is less than 50 meters away from my house and although it had broken its banks leaving the water level exceptionally high the level held and we could breathe a sigh of relief.

For the large part it's great living next to the Leeds & Liverpool canal, three huge lakes and a brook but after prolonged rain you find yourself making sure your house insurance is all up to date.

Anyway moving on...Thats the woodland I'm heading for but first a quick view of something that dates back to the Bronze age.

Boar's Den round barrow.
Instead of turning left and following the wall I continued a few yards just so I could take in this view of Boar's Den round barrow. According to Historic England there are hundreds of round barrows dotted about the countryside but I bet you can count on one hand those which haven't been excavated, well your looking at one, fantastic eh who knows what hidden treasures lie below.

I traced my steps back and followed the wall into the woodland where we had our first encounter with the mud. Brad doesn't seem to have a care in the world but Holly is behaving like a right little lady, go on Holls get stuck in!

That's more like it.

I'm still in the woods now after the trail disappeared into a quagmire of mud, to the left a wire fence where Brad had found a hole and decided to explore, trouble was he couldn't re-locate the hole which meant I had to scale the wire fence to retrieve him, after passing through the mud which had all the consistency of pig swill I managed to pass Brad back over the wire fence and when it was my turn I managed to snag my trousers on the wire.

It's like baby sitting two seven years olds!

Where there's a will there's a way.
I'm not sure if this was a small pond which has now flooded due to Storm Christoph but either way our footpath is now below water. I go right while Brad & Holly go the adventurous way hence the ripples in the water.

Bowling Green House Farm, High Moor.
The flooded footpath continued and I'm not sure about Brad & Holly but I was happy to have it behind me. Up ahead is Bowling Green House Farm which I pass to the right before picking up a track in a south westerly direction back towards Parbold.

Amazing skies this morning.

Following the track.
After passing through Bowling Green House Farm. Note how high the hedge is to the left.

Back in the sunshine.
I think it's probably best if we walk along the grass here guys.

Ashurst Beacon (left) and Christ Church Douglas-in-Parbold come into view.
I'm joined by a friendly farmer and his sheepdog on a quad bike who nods as he passes, our route now passes along the trees seen right which despite its greenery, the grass is very muddy underfoot.

Christ Church Douglas-in-Parbold
I can hear the traffic driving up and down Parbold Hill now which we will walk up for a very short section before passing through a field on the adjoining side of the road.

Christ Church Douglas-in-Parbold
Now seen from t'other side of Parbold Hill.

Our Lady and All Saints Parbold.
Seen as I continue my descent of Parbold Hill towards the Level Crossing close to Parbold Station.

Level Crossing, Manchester to Southport line.
It was nice to have tarmac underfoot instead of all that mud. Here I pass through a 'manual' level crossing where a group of local dog walkers had gathered one of whom had a white Labrador with them "white dogs are great in all this mud aren't they she laughed" said no one ever I laughed back, looking down both Brad & Holly are completely two tone by now.

Bridge number 39, Parbold.
After crossing the level crossing I continued towards the Leeds & Liverpool canal passing over Bridge number 39 and onto the towpath for a short walk towards bridge number 40

Agnes May, Parbold.
With Christ Church Douglas-in-Parbold in the distance.

Looking towards Bridge number 40
Along the Leeds & Liverpool canal.

Bridge 40, Parbold/Appley Bridge.
What a lovely setting. It's time to leave the canal at bridge 40 and head towards Gillibrand House.

Looking towards Parbold from Bridge 40

Looking westwards towards Parbold.
Along the Manchester to Southport line.

Passing Gillibrand Cottage.
From the bridge over the railway we followed the track until we arrived at a junction. Turning left would have taken us back along Wood Lane towards Parbold turing right takes towards Delf House Wood which is where we're heading next.

Views towards Parbold Hall.

Delf House Wood.
We followed a loning which climbed in height before arriving in the field seen last photo and shortly afterwards this next field, beyond is Fairy Glen hidden in the trees up ahead.

Sprodley Brook, Fairy Glen.
There seems to be lots of trails which loop around the glen which are proving popular this morning.

Evidence of more flooding.
Which I thought made a nice photo.

Continuing along the trail.

Sprodley Brook, Fairy Glen.
The waterfall is just beyond the next bridge.

Sprodley Brook fall, Fairy Glen.
The first waterfall I have seen in months after being away from Lakeland, and what a pleasant sound it was.

Looking back through Fairy Glen.

Almost back at the car.
While a little Jack Russell yapped at Brad & Holly who was sat with its owner on a bench "don't worry he's all yap" I smiled while looking at the Jack Russell and said "mine were once white too" the chap laughed and I left via a series of steps which brought me out onto Delf House access road. Just a hundred yards ahead is the top of Parbold Hill and my car which we take our time to reach while savouring the last of the Lancashire countryside. I have a few chores to do when I get home and top of the list is bathing the gruesome twosome!


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