We arrived in Charnock Richard for our latest 5 ¼ mile walk on a cold, misty day, when the snow around us was just beginning to thaw and melt into sleet. These conditions made for an atmospheric endeavour indeed – especially with the ruins of the abandoned Camelot Theme Park rising above the treeline.
Having parked up just off the A49 in Church Lane (postcode PR7 5NA), we set off west, crossing the main road to head along Brook Lane. At the end of this lane you’ll come to a large set of gates leading to a farm – go through the small gate provided for public access and back onto the driveway. Note at this point that the public right of way has recently been changed.
Head through the gate on the opposite side and go diagonally across the paddock, then down the narrow fenced-off pathway. The path bends into a sharp left culminating in a stile – cross this into a field.
The snow made crossing the field a little tricky, but seeing tree branches emerge out of the fog made it feel like we were the only people left in the world – only the far-off traffic noise dictated otherwise! I was, however, very glad I’d brought my wellies.
Follow the path along the hedgerow and down to the right, where you climb over another stile. There’s a small footbridge afterwards, then a short climb. From here take a left through the woods – and plenty of mud – until you reach another stile into a field. Follow the edge of the field until you come to a footbridge which transports you across the M6 motorway.
The bridge deposits you in the grounds of Park Hall, where you take an immediate left to follow the driveway out onto Park Hall Road. It’s here that you’re promised a good view of Camelot – the now defunct amusement park first opened its gates in 1983, delighting families with medieval fun for decades before dwindling visitor numbers caused it to close for good in 2012. Some of the rides – including the 80ft Knightmare rollercoaster – still stand today, visible from the motorway and nearby fields. You can also get a great view of the front turrets –and any lurking security guards – from the car park.
From here, go right, following the road until you reach Highgrove Avenue. Turn into it, and follow it to the end when you can continue through the gate into another field. Carry on along the path, which goes down and across a footbridge, then turn right and follow the path all the way to Red Lane.
Once you emerge, turn right again until you reach an unnamed lane, then take another right. This lane leads you to the gates of a farm at the far end; head left over the stile and follow the path straight up to the M6, turning right to the bridge.
Once over the bridge, head left over another stile, then follow the path until you reach one more. Climb it, then keep to the right of the field until you reach the Old Hall Lane stile – watching out for any stray sheep coming out of the fog, of course! A left turn takes you back to the A49, and an ideal place to grab some refreshments if you’re feeling peckish. The Bowling Green pub offers a cosy, family-oriented environment which is perfect for warming up.
At the main road, go left and cross into Delph Lane, which winds all the way around to Church Lane. Take one last right and continue back to your starting point – and make sure to turn the heaters up for the journey home!