This week I took advantage of the fact that we are approaching the longest day and so I could have a really long day out. I was looking for an historic town trail and a short walk. Williamson Park was ideal for my short stroll and I was lucky with the weather.

My Walk

From the car park follow the signs for the Ashton Memorial. The wide well maintained track ascends steeply through trees with outcrops of crop very prominent and are reminders of the days when this was a huge quarry.

During the American Civil War in the 1860s supplies of raw cotton were cut off and there was major unemployment.

To provide work paths were laid out with views across to Lancaster and over the hills.

Suddenly the Ashton Memorial comes into view and always creates a gasp of surprise because it seems so large, standing as it does on a rise.

Approach the memorial on the left. It stands overlooking the 54 colourful acres of Williamson Park; this was given by the father of James Wilkinson.

James made lots of money out of textiles and gave generously to his town. He was a Member of Parliament and well deserved to be created Lord Ashton.

Between 1877 and 1882 he built what was in effect a family mausoleum but is now very much a tourist attraction.

A right turn from the memorial leads to the cafe and tropical butterfly house.

This is worth a long visit and is well worth the entry fee; here too is a small information centre.

From the butterfly house return to the viewing area close to the Memorial and then descend a very obvious path. Here are views of the River Lune, its estuary and Morecambe Bay.

For those with families there are areas to picnic and there is a very impressive adventure playground.

The path twists and turns before reaching an amphitheatre on the left. once again, children will be happy because there are lots of well-kept grassy areas for them to play on.

The path now ascends gently to reach a fascinating sundial to the right.This was diagnosed in the year 2000 by Ripley Street Thomas School. The sundial is in the form of a clock with each hour sponsored by a Lancaster Company.

Follow the path around keeping a pond on the left. Here is a lake and the footpath passes a waterfall, a fountain and a solid stone bridge.

There are sheltered spots here which are ideal for picnics. An obvious track winds to the left at the pond, passes through an arch and then turns left to reach the car park and the starting point.