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The Lydiate Loop

Bells Lane, Lydiate, Merseyside, L31 4EN

Tel: +44 (0)1704 533333

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St Catherine's Chapel

About

The walk starts and finishes at the Running Horses pub (OS Ref: 336403) adjacent to the Leeds–Liverpool Canal at Sumners Turn Bridge on Bell’s Lane. Patrons may leave their vehicles here or at the site of the former Lydiate Station (OS Ref: 335404). The Lydiate Loop Walk is approximately 9.6 km (6 miles) long and is generally level throughout.

Turn left out of the pub car park and follow the footpath signed Green Lane around the field edge, crossing Maghull Brook at the footbridge and continue straight on to Green Lane. Turning right, follow the track signed Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail to reach Maukin Farm after 600 metres, where we turn right on to the farm track to reach the Cheshire Lines Path.

Heading right (north) this path forms part of the 346 km (216 mile) coast-to-coast Trans Pennine Trail and was formerly the trackbed of the former Southport and North Liverpool Extension of the Cheshire Lines Railway, which was opened in 1884 and closed for passenger traffic in 1952.

The flat peaty mosslands are often partially flooded in winter and land management in the Gore House Conservation Area by local farmers and other landowners has improved the biodiversity of the area. In Spring the area is alive with Lapwings and their loud ‘pee-wit’ calls.

The site of the former Lydiate Station is reached after 2 km (1.25 miles), where there’s a car park and an information panel on the Trans Pennine Trail. The mosslands here are particularly productive for small mammals, especially field and water voles, hunting birds of prey, especially Kestrels and Buzzards can be seen. At the next path access turn right to cross Acres Lane and follow a footpath sign 50 metres to your left to take you right to Southport Road. Following the field edge the path continues to a woodland, where the ruins of Lydiate Hall are visible through the trees, before reaching the busy A5147 at OS Ref: 336450.

The Ireland family, who were lords of the manor of Lydiate from 1410 to 1673, built Lydiate Hall in the early 16th century. It became a complete ruin by 1940 and now the old barn and outbuildings house a farm shop, the Hay Lofte Coffee shop, duck pond with parking and toilets.

A short detour of some 150 metres to the right along the main road brings us to two very interesting buildings. Set back from the road, next to a grove of splendid Oak trees, are the ruins of St. Catherine’s Chapel, which was the private place of worship for the Ireland family of Lydiate Hall. The chapel probably dates from the early 15th century and each summer the grounds are the magnificent setting for open-air performances of some of William Shakespeare’s plays & comedies.

Next to the chapel is the cruck-framed Scotch Piper Inn, reputed to be the oldest inn in Lancashire and dating back to 1320. The story goes that a soldier returning from a battle in the Jacobite Rebellion stopped off at the inn and married the landlord’s daughter. The inn was renamed the Highlander, later to become the Scotch Piper.

Returning to where the footpath meets the main road, we turn left into Hall Lane, passing an old school building, now converted into a beautiful cottage. After 1km, the Leeds–Liverpool Canal is reached at Jackson’s Bridge and we turn right on to the towpath to follow the canal. This section of the canal from Liverpool to Gathurst was opened for traffic in 1774 and saw regular commercial traffic up to 1964. The canal bank cottages near Jackson’s Bridge are typical examples of the canal-side architecture.

Excavated entirely by the manual labour of ‘navigation’ workers, aka ‘navvies’, the Leeds–Liverpool Canal at 206 km (127.25 miles), is the longest canal in the country. Beyond Lydiate Bridge is a ‘winding hole’ for turning narrow barges and 600 metres further on we reach our starting point at the Running Horses pub, with its refreshments, food and toilets.This long(ish) walk of 13.2 km (8.25 miles) takes us right across the borough of Sefton from west to east, from coast to countryside, crossing the rich meadows of the River Alt on the way. It can be comfortably completed in five hours and is level for most of the way.

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Map & Directions

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