This stroll really does have something for everybody as here are stretches of open countryside woodland and riverside sat close to one of the earliest estate villages in the whole of Britain.

Hoghton literally means a township at the bottom of a hill.

The De Hoghtons came from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066 and were rewarded by the King for giving their support during the battle of Hastings.

The baronetcy is the second oldest in the country and the lands here have been in the hands of the same family ever since.

Hoghton tower can still be recognised as a fortified hill top mansion standing 560 feet above sea level.

1. From the Boar’s Head turn left along the road to reach the war memorial and close to this is the driveway leading up to Hoghton Tower.

Turn left and ascend the track towards the tower. At the lodge gates bear left.

2. Follow an obvious track to reach a stile. Cross this and keep a wall to the right with fields in front.

Cross two more stiles and then head downhill to a belt of trees to reach the e railway which links Preston and Blackburn.

This was built in the 1840s. Cross this with care.

3. Turn right here and ignore a more obvious bend to the left.

Continue straight ahead close to the river to reach a substantial and magnificent wood gorge.

Pass underneath a five arched viaduct which crosses over the River Darwen some 116 feet below.

You are now at Hoghton Bottoms and the Gregson Lane area is one of the most interesting places in Britain in terms of history and industrial archaeology.

There are also some excellent splashy areas for dogs.

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.

It was here that Edmund Arrowsmith said his last Mass before being arrested and executed on the orders of Elizabeth I. A sideboard used in the mass now forms the altar of the St Joseph’s RC Church in the hamlet.

Another religious building of note close to the railway bridge on Chapel Lane is a Methodist Chapel, dated to 1794 and one of the earliest to be set up in England.

In the 18th century there was no shortage of worshippers because the fast-moving River Darwen provided power for the earliest cotton mills to operate in Lancashire.

Look out for a rather substantial ladder stile where less agile dogs many need a leg up and 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.

4. Turn right into yet another historic settlement at Riley Green. This substantial hamlet had the advantage of being firstly on the old Turnpike Road linking Blackburn and Preston and then on the line of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

This enabled Riley Green to have some early influence on the cotton industry while maintaining a strong industrial presence, from farming and quarrying.

Just past the Royal Oak turn right along a substantial trackway leading to another substantial ladder stile and ascend gently with good views up to Hoghton Tower to the right.

At the summit of this track negotiate another stile and continue through lush countryside to reach another stile.

After yet another substantial stile the dogs. 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 left and return to the starting point.

Getting there

The village is situated on the A675 between Blackburn and Preston. There is plenty of street parking and close to the Boar’s Head pub, which is the starting point for this walk. Distance: Three miles