Tag Archives: Knott End

Blackberry picking in the late summer sun

When summer is drawing to an end and you can feel the first hints of autumn in the air, blackberry picking is the perfect way to enjoy the last warm days of the year.

From the end of August and through September, blackberries can be found growing in hedgerows up and down the country. My favourite spot is along the old railway line from Knott End to Preesall, which used to serve the Pilling Pig locomotive transporting passengers from Knott End to Pilling and onwards to Garstang in the early 1900s.

The old railway line

The Knott End to Pilling stretch of the line closed in 1950 and a section from Hackensall Woods in Knott End to Park Lane in Preesall is now a footpath. It’s about a mile long and you’ll experience both the shelter of woodland and the full force of the elements as you cross wide open countryside.

The old railway line from PreesallFrom the top of the steps at the Preesall end (which is well hidden at the roadside), you can see much of the footpath laid out before you (pictured). There are a number of points to veer off the line and change course, including a six mile route that picks up the Wyre Way.

Blackberries line much of the footpath and I have wonderful memories of picking them with my grandparents as a child. I still follow my grandad’s advice: select berries at the same height as you (higher are for birds, lower may have been watered by dogs), wear something long sleeved and leave some for everybody else!

Taking advantage of nature’s offering and the chance to eat ripe, seasonal fruit for free is a must! The dog comes too, meaning we both get our daily quota of exercise and fresh air (and she’s partial to a blackberry or two).

Blackberry and Apple CrumbeSo what to do with your haul? My nana made big pans of blackberry jam but for me, nothing signals autumn like crumble. My favourite recipe is Deliciously Ella’s Apple and Blackberry Crumble (pictured), which uses only a handful of ingredients to make a wholesome and nutritious version.

The smell as it bakes and the delicious mouthfuls that follow are the fruits of your labours to be enjoyed. And with this virtuous recipe, you can enjoy cold crumble for breakfast the next morning!

From hedgerow to bowl in hours – soul food indeed.

Trekking coast and countryside in Knott End

This six mile walk in Knott End, the village I was brought up in, really showcases why I love it – vast expanses of coast and countryside a stone’s throw away from one another.

You’ll traverse seafront, farmland, brine fields and woodland on a relatively flat route that is prone to muddy conditions in wet weather (which is most of the time!), and that takes in part of the legendary Wyre Way.

Kissing gate
Kissing gate

Start out at Hackensall Woods following the footpath at the bottom of Hackensall Road (in the centre of the village), through woodland and along the old railway line until you reach an iron kissing gate on the right. Go up the short, steep hill, over the stile and emerge onto farmland at Curwens Hill.

Pass through and follow the track through open countryside, bearing left and passing fishing lakes on both sides until you reach houses and a T junction (this is Town Foot).

Approaching Corcas Lane
Approaching Corcas Lane

Turn right onto Back Lane and follow the road past Cemetery Lane and over a bridge with white wrought iron railings until you reach Corcus Lane, approx. 400m beyond (signposted Public Bridleway).

Turn right, follow the road past some dilapidated farm buildings on your right and continue until you reach a signpost to join the Wyre Way.

The Wyre Way
The Wyre Way

Go right, over the stile and onto the embankment. Follow the path with marshes to your left and fields to your right. You’ll come to a T junction and a sign saying ‘Halite’ – go left and follow the path in a right angle until you reach the end of the embankment.

Go straight over onto a vehicle track signposted Hackensall. Follow the track passing the golf course (look out for golf balls!) until you reach Hackensall Hall and another T junction.

Hackensall Hall
Hackensall Hall

Turn left (signposted Wyre Way Knott End) passing the hall on your left and follow the track which swings left and crosses the golf course – head towards the green shelter on the sea side of the course.

Once you’ve reached the shelter follow the track, which runs parallel to the coastline.

Knott End seafront
Knott End seafront

After a short while you’ll bear left onto the seafront which you can follow to the ferry car park (which is a good point to start and end this walk if you’re travelling to Knott End by car or public transport) and back into the village.

At a brisk pace and with a young Labrador in tow, this walk takes me around two hours. Wrap up warm in the colder months – parts of this walk are exposed and guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away.

This walk can be found in the Pathfinder Guides Lancashire Walks book.