October 2012

The Guild Wheel, Preston

Walk: Preston Guild Wheel: Avenham Park, Frenchwood, Fishwick Bottoms, Brockholes Nature Reserve, Fulwood, Broughton, Lightfoot Green, Ingol, UCLAN Sports Centre, Ashton, Lea, Preston Docklands and Broadgate.
Start Point: The start & finish in this case was Broadgate/Fishergate Hill.

Distance: 21 miles
Time: Over 3 days
Weather: Dry and sunny on all days
Comments: The Guild Wheel is twenty one miles in length and was constructed to coincide with Preston Guild 2012 (once every twenty years). It is roughly circular in plan and utilises some existing footpaths such as the Ribble Way. In the main, the joint cycle track/footpath is constructed with a hard surface and is very well signed. There are a few short inclines but are passable by bicycle so walking up or down them is not a problem. There are several bus routes passing near to the route which can be joined in many places. For maps and more information the following web sites may be useful. www.prestonguild2012.com; www.lancashire.gov.uk/guildwheel;   www.prestonbus.co.uk;  www.stagecoachbus.com.
This recent development is probably not shown on the local OS maps.
Refreshment wise there is a cafe on Avenham Park and Brockholes Nature Reserve or alternatively there are several hostelries on or near the Guild Wheel. Toilet facilities are not provided on the route. It's back to nature if you're desperate.

A trio of Fylde Ramblers decided to try out the Guild Wheel and split it into three seven mile sections using buses to join the GW and to return to Preston. The walk was undertaken in an anticlockwise direction.

Section one:
By Stagecoach, No. 3 bus to Kingsfold , from Preston Bus Station to Broadgate/Fishergate Hill.

Following the signs along Broadgate, which is by the River Ribble, the route passes through Avenham Park and along the Boulevard to cross London Road. (Several bus routes pass this way). The GW then follows the general direction of the Ribble Way and often by the river to reach the A59 Brockholes Brow. (More bus routes). Passing under the A59 road bridge the path then continues to the Brockholes Nature Reserve before there is a slow ascent to reach Preston Crematorium and Longridge Road. At Longridge Road a Stagecoach number 1 bus goes to Preston Bus Station. This section is just over seven miles.

Stage two:
From Preston Bus Station to Bluebell Way/Crematorium using a Stagecoach No. 1 bus for Longridge. Alight and walk in the same direction to the GW on the left.

The GW passes through an industrial area to reach Bluebell Way where it turns right. On reaching a roundabout there is the choice of an alternative less strenuous route. The trio chose the harder route that goes to the right of the motorway slip road. There are many paths in this area but the GW is well marked and goes through Hindley Hill Woods before passing under the M6 Motorway to join Midgery Lane which has been relegated to a cycle track/footpath. The GW then continues along D'urton Lane and Garstang Road towards Broughton. (Bus route). The GW incorporates a pelican crossing at Broughton where the path passes to the rear of Broughton High School. After crossing the railway and M55 Motorway the GW uses Sandy Lane and Lightfoot Lane to reach Tag Lane. Near to a large roundabout is bus stop (Guild Merchant) where a No. 35 Preston Bus departs for Preston Bus Station. This section is also seven miles in length.

Stage three:
From Preston Bus Station take a No. 35 Tanterton, bus to the Guild Merchant to re-join the GW. Go to the busy roundabout to find the signs on Tom Benson Way.

The start of this stage meanders through Cottam, a residential area with many paths and open areas, before passing through the UCLAN Sports centre to join the Millennium Link. After passing PNEs training ground and Ashton and Lea Golf course the GW leaves the canal to cross Blackpool Road by a farmer's access bridge. A longish stretch of road side path then takes the GW by a motor village and loco shed to join the River Ribble. On the docks the path crosses a swing bridge and re-joins the river. There is a cafe nearby. A long stretch a riverside walk terminates at Broadgate/Fishergate Hill where a bus route goes into Preston. This stage is also seven miles in Length.

Below are examples of the sights seen over the three days












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