#7 Knott End

25 06 2010
25th June 2010
solo
5.8 miles
Explorer 296 (Lancaster, Morcambe & Fleetwood)
Warm, overcast

Fleetwood from Knott End Golf Course

Preston and the Fylde Coast to the north west of it are a pain to get to from Southport, Penwortham is the archtypal bottleneck. I arrived at Knott End around 9.45 and was pleased to find a decent sized free carpark right between the ferry slipway and Knott End Golf Club, with a view over the Wyre estuary towards Fleetwood. The carpark also benefits from a clean toilet block, although a visit will knock you back 20p!

The start of this walk is along the Esplanade, which is what passes as a ‘front’ in Knott End, I then cut south, crossing the main road and down Hackensall Road quite a way until just before the golf club driveway I turn off to the east behind a cottage and find a farm track running through woods and then across a field. After a while I turn south again, through Curwens Hill farmyard, saying hello the cows, and then exit the yard along the main track to the south, which curves between some large privately owned fishing pools. The track emerges on Back Lane and there follows a good mile plus of walking along this country lane. I don’t mind a bit of road walking, quite often it’s necessary to link good sections of off-road walking, but this walk is at least 50% road which to me is far too much. I could possibly forgive this if the roads led me to some fantastic viewpoint – but frankly – they don’t. The only thing to say about the road walking here is that the lanes are thankfully very quiet, I see more people doing DIY on their houses than I see vehicles.

Track from Curwen Hill Farm

Eventually I turn west at Corcas Farm along another lane and start walking alongside Preesall Brine Fields. These are large flat fields of mowed grass with widely spaced red well caps, beneath the caps are wells once used by the chemical industry (ICI) for mining salt. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like this before. The lane is narrow here and I almost get knocked over by a speeding Royal Mail van. At the end of the lane I turn right (north), joining the Wyre Way and head onto an embankment above Barnaby Sands Nature Reserve which is ungrazed saltmarsh and mudflats, it’s a designated area of scientific importance both for the wading birds it attracts, particularly those stopping off amid spring and autumn migrations, and some unique form of sea-lavender. The embankment itself twists and turns all the way along the eastern edge of the reserve. It’s on this embankment that I notice how tight my left achilles tendon is feeling, I like to blame all the road walking, but in truth it may have been an aggrevation of something I did on Monday’s walk.

The Wyre Way through Barnaby Sands Nature Reserve

At the top of the nature reserve there are a couple of lanes before I start to cross the golf course, followed by skirting round the small but attractive Hackensall Hall, then cross another part of the golf course until I am back on the banks of the Wyre nest to a lovely cottage. It’s only a short stroll then back to the car.

I drove home via Freeport Fleetwood where I bought 3 baselayer t-shirts for under £30. There are 4 decent shops selling walking apparel here: Craghopper, Trespass, Regatta, and Mountain Warehouse; nothing awe inspiring but I always seem to find something.

All in all I found this the only disappointing walk so far, my guess is that the authors felt that they had to include a walk from the Fylde are in the book, and that Fylde must be devoid of decent walking country so they plumped for this one. There’s nothing wrong with it: Knott End is a nice enough place – but not exciting in any way, the countryside is attractive – but no more so than anywhere else – I just feel that if you’re going to make the effort to get up, get in your car, drive somewhere, spend 2-3 hours walking around, and drive home again, then you deserve something a little more rewarding than a view of Fleetwood. It’s telling that I have found the ‘Approximate time’ in the book to be very accurate so far, I’m normally +/- 5% of that time, but for this walk that was meant to last 2 hr 30 mins – I did it in 1hr 50 mins. I guess that’s just because I rarely felt the need to stop and look around.

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