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If you have a dog this is an excellent stroll but this route really does have something to offer everybody.
There are stretches of open countryside, woodland and riverside all set amid the earliest estate village in England. Hoghton literally means a township at the bottom of a hill.
1. From the Boar's Head turn left along the road to reach the war memorial and opposite this is the wide driveway leading up to Hoghton Tower. Ascend the track towards the tower and at the lodge gates bear left.
Follow the obvious track to reach a stile. Cross this and keep a wall to the right and fields straight ahead.
Cross two more fields and then head downhill to a belt of trees to reach the railway which links Preston with Blackburn.
Cross the line with care.
2. Turn right at this point and ignore a more obvious bend to the left.
Continue straight ahead close to the River Darwen to reach a substantial and magnificent wooded gorge. Pass beneath an amply proportional five arched viaduct cross over the river some 116 feet below.
You are now at Hoghton Bottoms and the Gregson Lane area, which is one of the most interesting places in Britain in terms of ecclesiastical history and also industrial archaeology.
This area has long been steeped in Roman Catholicism and it is said that William Shakespeare spent a year at Hoghton Tower because of his faith.
Whether this was the reason for this sojourn is not proved but he was employed at Hoghton Tower as a young actor under the name of William Shakeshaft.
It was also in this area that the priest Edmund Arrowsmith said his last Mass in a house which now bears an inscription to this effect. It was here that he was arrested, later to be executed.
A sideboard which he used in this Mass now forms the altar of St Joseph’s RC Church in the hamlet. Another religious building of note close to the railway bridge on Chapel Lane is an Methodist chapel dated to 1794 and one of the earliest to set up in England.
In the 18th century there was no shortage of worshippers because the fast moving waters of the River Darwen provided power for the earliest cotton mills to operate in Lancashire.
Look our for a substantial ladder stile and negotiate this and then veer to the right away from the river. There is an obvious track here which leads to a kissing gate. Go through this and approach the A675 road with care.
3. Turn right into another historic site which is Riley Green. This substantial hamlet had the advantage of firstly being on the old Turnpike Road linking Preston with Blackburn.
It was later on the line of the Leeds and Liverpool canal which was cut between Blackburn and Chorley.
4. Just past the Royal Oak turn right along a substantial track leading to another substantial ladder stile and ascend gently with good views up to Hoghton Tower slightly to the right.
At the summit of this track negotiate another stile and continue through lush meadowland to reach another stile.
After yet another substantial stile the route now begins to descend to reach a kissing gate which leads to the driveway to Hoghton Tower. Turn right along the track.
How to get there:
The village is situated directly on the A675 between Blackburn and Preston.
There is plenty of street parking close to the Boar's Head pub which is the starting point for this walk.
Distance: Three miles