The Beamers Trail
The Beamers Trail is part of the longer Witton Weavers Way. Starting at Witton Country Parks Pavilion Cafe, the walk offers the best sights Blackburn has to offer. A scenic route with varied terrain difficulties, especially at the start of the walk inside Big Cover Wood and Billinge Woods, with some steep climbs. Easing into a gentle stroll through woodland and fields, with nice views of the River Darwen at Lower Hougton. If you are planning on taking a dog, please be aware that there are a few fields, with sheep, horses and cows. Caution is always needed as dogs can scare farm animals. Overall a very well signed route, and very easy to orientate.
The Beamers Trail has some spectacular views of countryside and valleys with a memorial to the famous Alfred Wainwright near the start of the walk at The Yellow Fields. Towards the end of the walk is the lovely pub called The Butlers Arms, who service food and ale.
Step 1 – Witton Pavilion Cafe through Big Cover Wood
Starting at the Witton Country Park Pavilion Café, you will need to walk behind the café. From here you will see a path running to your right. As a small detour you can walk on your left to visit the lovely Lily Pond. Which is part of the Victorian Estate of the Fielden Family.
Leave the gate at the right of the Lily Pond, to be back on the main path.
Follow the path towards Big Cover Wood, which is clearly marked. Turning left into the woods, follow that path past the wooden playground. Cross the small wooden bridge and climb the steps leading higher into the woods.
You will soon come to a fork, take the left path where you will see a kissing gate exiting Big Cover Wood.
Step 2 – Big Cover Wood Through Billinge Woods
As you exit through the kissing gate, to the right as you look to the farmhouse in the distance, there is another kissing gate leading into another field. From there cross the small wooden platform, and exit this field via the wooden gate.
Immediately turn left, onto Under Billinge Lane. You will see the entrance to Billinge Wood. Enter the wood, turning left and follow the narrow path further into the woods. Follow the path all the way up, going straight, the path will take you all the way to the exit at the very top of the wood, onto a small car park.
Step 3 – Yellow Hills to Billinge End Rd.
On the left, enter the fields via the metal kissing gate. Heading straight, to the small hump, keeping to the grassy path. After the hump, head to the large tree, and climb over the stile into the next field.
You will arrive at a memorial to the great A. Wainwright. On a clear day, you can see for miles. The first person to see Blackpool Tower gets 50p! This is where I would usually stop and rest and have the first coffee and sandwich. There are some really nice views of Blackburn and Darwen Tower in the distance.
Follow the path down through the field, climbing the first stile and then another with the black plastic rubbish bin on the fence. You will soon emerge onto a tarmac road. Follow this road for about 10 yards and enter the woods to your immediate right. There is a fork in the path, take the right and enter the field, after climbing the stile.
This field will often have cows in, and usually a rather angry looking bull. So please take care if you have your dog.
Step 4 – Billinge End Rd. to Scout Hut
Cross Billinge End Road and go through the gate directly opposite. Make your way across the fields, keeping the trees and headline on your right. Up ahead there is an opening to the field behind the farm house. You will see a gas tanker in the corner of the farm house garden.
Cross the stile onto the road, turning immediately left and climb the stile into the field. You will see a small gap between the fence and treeline on your left. Make your way down this field, through the break in the trees. Keeping the gully to your left, walk down the field further and climb the stile in the stone wall.
After you climb the stile, walk down to the stone steps. Taking care here, as the steps are covered in moss, mud and grass and can be quite dangerous in wet or cold weather. At the bottom of the steps turn right and continue along the muddy track. There is a small patch of mud ahead that can be quite boggy, so wear suitable boots.
The path down to the river is pretty straight forward and easy to follow, so just keep the fence on your immediate right. It will soon widen as you merge to the River Darwen on your right. Note the hand built Scouts hut on your left. This is a favourite spot of mine to have a small break. There is a rather hazardous looking bench, resting on some old tyres. I can assure its quite safe, and a great spot for your packed lunch and a brew.
Step 5 – Scout Hut to The Butler’s Arms
Walk past the Scouts hut, and continue down the track. Up ahead you will see Lower Park Farm. Climb over the stile at the side of the house at the end of the track. Turning right, walk past the front of the farm house, turning left just after the gate. Then turning left at the picnic table go through the kissing gate and continue ahead down the track.
The track heads uphill a little while, at the top turn right through the metal gate and follow the path all the way down to the river again. Cross the small wooden bridge and follow the river down to Hoghton Bottoms.
Up ahead there is a wooden kissing gate, go through this and take an immediate left up the track. On your right is Pleasington Golf Course. Climb the stile ahead and enter the wooded area. The path here can be seem a bit hidden, but walking straight forward you will soon come to another stile. Enter into the field, and keeping the wall to your right, follow the rough track up the hill and climb a wooden stile. There are sometimes cows in this field, so again caution is needed if you have a dog with you.
After climbing another couple of stiles, you will find a tarmac drive parallel to a lovely thatched house, continue down the drive turning right at the end. You will emerge into a modern housing, follow this road round to your right.
You will now see the Butlers Arms on your right. This is a really lovely public house, and a brilliant place to stop for a break near the end of a walk. They offer amazing food, and refreshing ales.
Step 6 – The Butlers’ Arms to End of Walk
From the Butlers’ Arms walk directly ahead. Notice Pleasington Priory on your left, lovely 19th Gothic style Roman Catholic Church. Talking the narrow track between the gate and wooden post. Continue all the way down this track to exit into Pleasington Playing Fields. Take the road over bridge over a much smaller River Darwen. Continue down this road, you will soon see a small car park on your left. Cross the bridge at the back of the car park, which leads to Witton Park playing fields. Take the tarmac path that bends all the way round the field, which takes you back to the start of the walk.