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Witton Park and Billinge Hill

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Witton Park and Billinge Hill
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 09 Jul 2016 Walk rating : Rating:star0 Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guidestar0 Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guidestar0 Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guidestar0 Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guidestar0 Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guide
Lancashire, Blackburn
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Witton Park and Billinge Hill
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guide boot Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guide boot Witton Park and Billinge Hill Lancashire Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular and wonderfully varied walk near Blackburn in Lancashire. The route begins in Witton Country Park, 480 acres of parkland and woodland, before climbing first gently then more steeply through the beautiful dense woodland of Billinge Hill. From the summit, and on the way back down, you will enjoy fabulous views all the way across to Darwen Moor.

The walk is fairly strenuous, with one quite long and steep climb up to the top of Billinge Hill. The route follows several stretches of unmade paths through woodland and parkland, parts of which can get very muddy in part so good boots are a must. You will need to negotiate several flights of steps and some kissing gates, but there are no stiles on route. You will cross one field which is likely to be holding sheep so take particular care with dogs. Allow 1.5 hours.

Witton Country Park is located about one mile west of Blackburn town centre in Lancashire. The main entrance is off the A674 Old Preston Road and there is a large free car park just through the gates on your right. Approximate post code BB2 2TP.

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Walk Sections

Start to Lily Pond
Start to Lily Pond

Start point: 53.7389 lat, -2.5135 long
End point: 53.7409 lat, -2.5167 long

From the parking area, turn right along the access lane heading into the park. Walk alongside a vehicle barrier and pass the athletics facility building on your right. Pass the children’s play area on your right and ignore the first path on your right (which leads to the Pavilion Cafe and toilets). A few metres later, with The Wits play area on your left, ignore the second path to your right (signed to Big Cover Wood).

Continue ahead on the main access track which swings right to reach a crossroads with a fingerpost (just before you reach the old stable block buildings). Turn right here (signed to the Lily Pond) and follow the stone path which leads you through beautiful old metal gates. You will notice the red Lancashire roses adorning this set of gates.

Follow the stone path as it bends left then right and then leads you down an avenue of old yew trees. You will come to the lily pond on your left. This is a good place to pause and understand the rich history of this country park…

In the late 1700s, the Feilden family was the most successful family of local cotton merchants and were lords of the manor of Witton. By 1800 the Feildens were the largest landowners in the area and the wealthiest. The Feilden family built Witton House in 1800 and created the surrounding parkland. By 1880 the family owned more than 2,000 acres of land across the borough of Blackburn. The lily pond was part of the Feilden’s beautiful formal garden, built in the early 1800s. Behind the wall was the Victorian kitchen garden, where all the vegetables, fruit and flowers were grown for Witton House. As with all affluent Victorian families, status was very important and special glasshouses were used to grow pineapples and orchids, real luxuries at that time. The family moved to Oxfordshire in the early 1900s and the house fell into disrepair. The house and estate were sold to Blackburn Corporation in 1946 and in 1953 the decision was made to demolish the house. In 1973 the area was designated a country park.

Lily Pond to Adventure Playground
Lily Pond to Adventure Playground

Start point: 53.7409 lat, -2.5167 long
End point: 53.7426 lat, -2.5142 long

Walk ahead, passing the lily pond on your left and passing under a wooden pergola. At the end of the pond, turn left and then immediately right to leave the formal garden via another ornate gate. A few metres later you will come to a T-junction (with a monkey puzzle tree on your right). Turn left along the tarmac path, leading you between beautiful mature trees.

At the first junction, turn left to join a stone path leading you into Big Cover Wood. The path swings right to reach a fork. Take the left-hand branch and follow this with a stream down to your left and passing an adventure playground on your right.

Adventure Playground to Under Billinge Lane
Adventure Playground to Under Billinge Lane

Start point: 53.7426 lat, -2.5142 long
End point: 53.7467 lat, -2.5209 long

Continue ahead up the slope and then turn left across the footbridge. Take the shallow steps ahead and follow the path as it swings right (with the stream now to your right). Stay with this path which leads you up a very long flight of wooden steps. Beyond these steps continue uphill on the path, ignore the side path to the right (signed to Buncer Wood) and you will come to a kissing gate ahead.

NOTE: You may come across livestock grazing in the next two fields. Pass through the gate and take the obvious path ahead (heading for the gap between the two woodlands). The views have now begun to open up across to your left. Go through the next kissing gate and, with your back to this, take the path at 1 o’clock across this next pasture. At the far side, pass through the kissing gate and go up the steps to reach a junction with a lane, Under Billinge Lane.

Under Billinge Lane to Billinge Summit
Under Billinge Lane to Billinge Summit

Start point: 53.7467 lat, -2.5209 long
End point: 53.749 lat, -2.5212 long

Turn left for just a few metres and then turn right through the gap in the wall to enter Billinge Wood (signed as a footpath and concessionary bridleway). Turn immediately sharp right, following the path with the stone wall running on your right. The path climbs steadily through this beautiful old woodland, leading you between a number of magnificent large trees surrounded by rhododendrons. As part of the landscaping plans, the Feildens planted hundreds of trees on their estate creating many woods, the largest being this one on Billinge Hill.

About half way up, ignore the first bridleway signed off sharp left and 40 metres later you will come to a subtle crossroads. Go straight ahead, signed with a blue arrow for the bridleway. Towards the top, go straight ahead at the first small crossroads (where an adventure cycle track crosses your path) and a few paces later you will come to a T-junction.

Turn left, still climbing steadily. The path levels off and leads you past some old stone building remains on your left. Stay with the main stone path which climbs steadily again then levels off to reach a fork. Turn left and follow the narrow stone path winding between rhododendrons and this will lead you directly to the summit of Billinge Hill, marked with a circular concrete plinth and a noticeboard. Take time to catch your breath and enjoy the views (which are a little obscured when the trees are in full leaf).

Billinge Summit to Underpass
Billinge Summit to Underpass

Start point: 53.749 lat, -2.5212 long
End point: 53.7465 lat, -2.5256 long

Standing on the concrete plinth, facing the view, turn right on the stone path. Just a few metres along, at a subtle crossroads, turn left and soon this stone path begins to wind steeply downhill. At the fork, keep right, continuing on the main path downhill. About halfway down, the path swings left and then performs a hairpin bend round to the right to continue its descent. At the bottom of this stretch you will come to a subtle crossroads. Go straight ahead, continuing fairly steeply downhill. The path leads you out via an old stone underpass to reach a junction with Under Billinge Lane.

Underpass to Open Parkland
Underpass to Open Parkland

Start point: 53.7465 lat, -2.5256 long
End point: 53.7392 lat, -2.5221 long

Turn right and then immediately left to join the public bridleway leading you into Crow Wood. Stay with this stone path which leads you along the pretty woodland belt with open pastures each side. Pass through the two bridle gates and the views now open up to your left. On a clear day you will have a good view of Darwen Tower sitting proudly on the hills of Darwen Moor in the distance.

Now simply stay with the same path, passing through another pair of bridle gates and keeping left at the first fork. Further along you will come to a junction, with a waymarker post ahead and a set of steps to your right. Turn left here (following the blue arrow) for just 30 metres and then turn right down the wooden steps. Bear right again to cross the footbridge over the stream then stay on this path which leads you gently downhill with the stream running down to your right. At the bottom, stay with the main stone path which swings right to reach a T-junction at the edge of the open parkland.

Open Parkland to End
Open Parkland to End

Start point: 53.7392 lat, -2.5221 long
End point: 53.7391 lat, -2.5139 long

Turn left along the path, with Witton Wood to your left and the open parkland to your right. This tarmac path leads you through The Wits play area to reach a junction with the park’s main access lane. Turn right along this lane, follow it past the athletics building on your left and you will come to the parking area on your left where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2016 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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