Probably the first thought that might occur to a reader from outside Wigan, is: ‘Why would anyone actually want to go walking in Wigan?’ Perhaps the general perception being that the town consists of countless rows of terraced houses set amongst numerous factories. And unsightly remains of the once-prolific mining and textile industries. This might once have been true!
We Wiganers have long appreciated our well-known beauty spots, such as ‘Fairy Glen’, Borsdane Wood, Pennington Flash, Worthington Lakes, and of course Haigh Hall and the Plantations. These have provided tastes of the rural countryside surrounding Wigan for countless years, mixing history with nature. Our area also has a superb canal network criss-crossing the town which has been well maintained and provides access to both the sailing and the walking fraternity.
My love of walking began with trips to the Yorkshire Dales, and the Lake District but then I began local mid-week walks with some old rugby mates which brought about a realisation of what I’d been missing. My wife, Lynn, and I then began to explore more and more walks over the ensuing years.
When the Covid-19 epidemic arrived in March 2020, it led to a nationwide lockdown and we were all encouraged to take local walks while being locked at home which began to cement the idea for this book. I was determined to use the daily allotted exercise quota to the full, and we proceeded to walk every day during which we covered over 600 extremely enjoyable miles during a three-month period, discovering new pathways and experiences every day and became enthralled at the abundance of nature that thrives around the town. We came across roe and fallow deer; weasel; hare and rabbit; and squirrel by the hundred. I saw and heard countless songbirds (including the elusive kingfisher), several varieties of waterfowl, and birds of prey such as great crested grebe and marsh harriers.
This guide book details 10 wonderful walks together with pictures which I hope will be enjoyed by both residents and visitors to Wigan for many years to come. Whilst none are particularly demanding, it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing and boots when you undertake them. A flask and a light snack might also come in useful. You should also allow ample time to complete the walks in daylight. I have attempted, where possible, to avoid walking on major roads, but it is often necessary to spend short lengths of time on them, to link up tracks. You will notice that I’ve also included local ‘watering holes’ near the start and/or at the end of each walk. Nothing like a well-earned pint after a satisfying and tiring walk!