THIS walk links the three former textile villages of Abbey Village, Withnell and Brinscall. They are all linked via the Goit, the Victorian waterway built by Liverpool Corporation to connect their reservoirs at Anglezarke and Roddlesworth.

They are also linked by the disused Feniscowles to Chorley railway line and the walk passes the old Withnell railway station. Along the way, the walk explores the woodland of Withnell Plantation on the lower slopes of Great Hill.

START: Abbey Village. Roadside parking near the Hare & Hounds pub. Alternatively start at Withnell or Brinscall villages.

DISTANCE: 5 miles (allow 2-3 hours)

MAP: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors

1. At the road junction opposite the Hare and Hounds pub join the pavement of Dole Lane and follow it gradually uphill. Keep to it as it bends sharp right and soon starts to drop down towards Withnell village.

Cross over with care on the bend and join the first adjoining lane on the left hand side signed as Twistmoor Lane. Follow this lane, past a quarry on the left, all the way down into Brinscall.

It reaches houses and the junction between Butterworth Brow and Well Lane.

2. Turn left up Well Lane. Follow the lane uphill for about a quarter of a mile until access gates are reached on the right hand side at the edge of a woodland.

Turn right and go through the gate to immediately cross a bridge over a stream.

A track now leads through the woodland. Just keep to the main track around the hillside for the next mile, it eventually drops downhill to a gate and stile at the other side of the plantation.

3. Cross the stile and cross over the Goit, then turning right through the access point to follow the path along the waterway with the Goit on your immediate right.

This is now followed straight ahead for the next mile back towards Brinscall Lodge and the children’s play area. Go through the gate of the playground to join the road at the junction. You have to leave the Goit here as it is fenced in over to your right.

4. Walk straight ahead crossing over to join the pavement of the road on the opposite side to the fence. After passing the row of bungalows on the left you can go through a wooden gate and join a path that then turns right and follows the route of the old railway line.

Keep to this, past a fishing pond on the left and go through the next gate keeping on the old line, now a nature reserve. The path passes under bridges and can be followed all the way back to the old Withnell station.

5. Go through a gate and you join the A675 Bolton Road at the northern end of Abbey Village. Simply turn right on the main road and follow the pavement past the houses to return to the Hare and Hounds pub.