Along the Leeds & Liverpool canal to Parbold & back

4th April 2021

It was such a nice day I thought I'd get out on the bike, trouble was I was undecided where to go, one half of me wanted to ride to the canal basin at Leigh and the other half to visit the old windmill at Parbold, I mentioned this to Paula who without question went "I think you should go to Parbold" There's nowt wrong with latter route but you see I'd been told and to be honest it's been years since I rode this route.


Ascent: 330 Feet - 100 Metres
Wainwrights: N/A
Weather: Bright & Sunny With Cool Winds Highs of 9°C Lows of 5°C
Parking: N/A
Area: Leeds & Liverpool Canal Wigan to Parbold
Miles: 16.5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: Explorer 285 Southport & Chorley
Time Taken: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Route: Leeds & Liverpool Canal - Wigan Pier - Martland Mill - Crook - Gathurst - Appley Bridge - Parbold (Return Home Using Same Route)

Map and Photo Gallery

Wigan Investment Centre next to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
Despite the brightness the temperature was struggling to reach into double figures which wasn't a problem for the wind which made it feel much colder than it actually was. I left home wearing my Montane shorts and two base layers along with my kit back where aside a spare inner-tube I'd dropped in a couple of chocolate bars just purely based on keeping my energy levels up!

Wigan Pier & Trencherfield Mill from the coal tippler (Wigan Pier)
It would have taken me a good half hour to walk to Wigan Pier, with Brad & Holly who sniff every blade of grass along the way probably 50 minutes - this afternoon on the bike I'd made it in less than 10 minutes.

Heading towards Martland Mill.
Where exposed it was pretty damn cold not helped by a wind that I was cycling into, the good news about that is it'll be on my back on the way home.

Crook Marina.
I'm officially on the outskirts of Wigan now when I arrived at Crook Marina which is a really scenic section of the canal.

Looking back on Crook Marina.
The wooden tables belong to the Crook Hall Inn which is closed for now but when it re-opens in a few weeks it does get very busy with walkers & cyclists alike who stop for drinks & food. In times gone by me and a few friends would cycle to Crook during the Summer after work for a pint or two.

Leaving Crook and Heading towards Gathurst now.
When the sun is out and I'm sheltered from the wind it was really pleasant, helped more with scenic views like this for much of the way.

Reflections (between Crook & Gathurst)
There were miles when I didn't see anyone such as here but as I approach small villages I really wished I'd not taken the bell off the bike!

The Gathurst Viaduct built in 1961
Found between junctions 26 and 27 on the M6 I pass over the viaduct every day while going to work and always peer over into the Douglas Valley, talking about the Douglas Valley that's the River Douglas over on the right Wigan's equivalent to the River Thames!

Approaching the Lock Keepers Cottage, Gathurst.
It looks like the canal boat is about to pass through the locks up ahead.

Looking back on the Gathurst Viaduct.
From the Lock Keepers Cottage. You do get the greater view of the viaduct from here which spans 800ft in length.


Approaching Appley Bridge now.
The buidling on the far left of the picture is the Boathouse Pub, another great place to stop if your walking or biking along the canal.

Bound for Parbold now.
This section of the canal is sheltered by trees on both sides which kept the wind at bay and me nice and cosy.

This is bridge 40 at Parbold.
I recognised this bridge instantly it being the same bridge I crossed back in January when I walked Fairy Glen.

What a beautiful place.
It can't be far from Parbold now as I've just seen the spire of Our Lady and All Saints Church up ahead.

Approaching Parbold.
Up ahead the canal bends left towards the centre of Parbold village.

Parbold village and the The Windmill.
It's looking quite busy so I ease off the gas and weave my way towards The Windmill.

Time for a quick pit stop me thinks.

The Windmill, Parbold built 1794
Formally a flour mill the Windmill was built next to the Leeds & Liverpool canal purely to export its produce.

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal from Parbold.
It's almost time to turn around now but first.

The Windmill, Parbold.
A quick fuel stop compromising of two chocolate bars washed down with Summer Fruit juice before I head home, what a fantastic couple of hours exploring local history and scenery.


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