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Meanders Around Melling

Start: Maghull Train Station, Station Road, Maghull, Liverpool, Merseyside, L31 4HD

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Meanders Around Melling

About

‘Melinge’, as it is listed in the Domesday Book, once overlooked the marshes, woodlands and reed beds of the River Alt. At the time of the Domesday census, Godiva the widow of Leofric, was the lady of the manor and a forest stretched from Waddicar to Wood End in Maghull.

Start by turning left out of the car park at Maghull Station, across the level crossing and walk 450 metres along Melling Lane to the M58 overbridge, where we turn left on a signposted path through amenity woodland, with the green fence of the motorway embankment on the right and playing fields to the left.

Reaching the bridge over the motorway carrying Leatherbarrows Lane, we go straight on a surfaced farm road for 500 metres with rough land to our left. The large dead tree to your left often has a Kestrel sat on it and on summer evenings, even a Little Owl can be seen.

The road crosses the motorway at the telecommunications mast giving access to Moss Nook farm, where we continue left on a track, once more running alongside the motorway to Giddygate Lane. We turn right and follow the track for 300 metres, looking out for a footpath on the right alongside a drainage ditch, which takes us back to Leatherbarrows Lane once again. We turn left and then immediately right into School Lane, which becomes Sandy Lane at the right fork in the road, and after 400 metres to Rock Lane, Melling.

Our route carries straight on following a way marked footpath, but first turn right and after 200 metres you come to the parish church of St. Thomas and the Holy Rood (Holy Cross) on your right, with the Bootle Arms pub almost opposite, where food, drink and toilet facilities are available.

Rejoining our footpath at the junction of Sandy Lane and Rock Lane, we continue over open fields and through the farmyard at New House Farm, to reach the Leeds–Liverpool Canal at Holmes Bridge. Crossing the swing bridge we turn right (northwest) to follow the well-surfaced towpath back towards Maghull, passing under Brewery Lane, then the motorway and railway bridges.

After 1.8 km (1.1 miles) we leave the canal towpath at Drapers Bridge, cross the canal and reach Maghull station car park via Rutherford Road and Station Road. Thus completing our circular walk around the historic village of Melling.

Red Route (1.5 Km)
We start at the Bootle Arms in Melling and follow the road, Rock Lane southwards for 60metres, turning left into Tithebarn Lane and then bearing right at its junction with Sandy Lane. Take care when walking on these narrow lanes, as they can be very busy at peak periods.

The old sandstone barn, now a community centre, is a further 100 metres along Tithebarn Road on the left, after the junction with Sandy Lane. In the Middle Ages, one tenth (the tithe) of a farm’s produce had to be given up to the Church and naturally enough it was stored in a tithebarn.

Just opposite the barn is the footpath across the fields, which we follow to join another path which takes us left under some power lines towards Waddicar House some 300 metres in the distance. Carefully crossing Waddicar Lane, which we follow to the right, look out for the FP3 footpath sign adjacent to house number 144. Follow this path across open fields for 360 metres and then turn right into the housing estate at Marc Avenue, which becomes Rainbow Drive and leads us back to Waddicar Lane again, where the footpath sign FP4 leading down Chapel lane is on the opposite side of the road to the right.

At the end of this lane is a pedestrian gate into Wadacre Farm and keeping right walk down the path alongside the barn on your left. Cross the stile and walk down the path between the fences, over another stile, then a sleeper bridge and following the field edge we regain our original route back towards Sandy Lane and return to the Bootle Arms.

Waddicar is Old English (OE) for, ‘fields where the woad plant grows’. Woad gives a blue dye, which the ancient Britons used to use as ‘war paint’.

Green Route (3.5km)
Again starting at the Bootle Arms, this route takes us to the right and down the way marked footpath towards New House Farm and the towpath of the Leeds–Liverpool Canal, after some 465 metres at Holmes Bridge, we follow the towpath to the right (north).

The pleasant canal-side walk gives us an opportunity to see and hear many species of birds in spring and summer, with Coot, Moorhen and Mallards busily looking after their young and Whitethroats and Yellowhammers singing from the hedgerows.

After almost 300 metres, we turn left down a set of wooden steps to join FP8, which follows a mature hedgerow on your left until reaching another track after 200 metres, which we follow to the yard of Brooklands Farm.

On leaving the yard turn left to follow Brewery Lane, which becomes Spencer’s Lane when you reach the houses on your left. 100 metres past the houses turn left on to a marked footpath across the fields, to reach a ditch after 260 metres, where we bear right along the field edge to reach a surfaced track.

This leads us back to the canal at Holmes Swing Bridge , where we can retrace our steps past new House farm towards our starting point at the Bootle Arms, with its food, drink and toilet facilities.

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