Superlative WalksUrban and rural trails, each with something very special
1. This walk, around many of the historic sites in central Lancaster, begins in Dalton Square. Dalton Square is at OS Grid Reference 478615 on the Landranger 97 (and 98) maps. There are surface, pay and display, car parks in Nelson Street and off Bulk Street.
2. Leave Dalton Square by the road to the left of the Town Hall – Nelson Street. After about 300 metres cross St Peter’s Road and continue uphill, in what is now East Road, passing the Roman Catholic St Peter’s Cathedral on the right.
3. Another 300 metres or so up East Road, on both sides of the road, are the buildings of Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
4. Cross Wyresdale Road and continue uphill, past further LRGS buildings on what is now called Quernmore Road (pronounced Kwoor Muh.) About 600 metres beyond Wyresdale Road, on the right is fine entrance to Williamson Park, with stone arches either side of grand wrought iron gates. Enter the Park here.
5. Follow the paved road and ignore a road to the right. After about 150 metres, by a 10 mph sign, turn right down a winding path, leading through a landscaped garden within one of the former quarries. The path goes past a shelter on the right, swings left down into a garden surrounded by rocks and tall trees, swings right and left again and turns left at a junction, into the Dell, a deep amphitheatre with rock walls and bench seating.
6. Leave the Dell by the path to the left of the base of the tower, containing theatrical lights and sound equipment. Turn left towards the huge domed Ashton Memorial then very soon left again to walk around a circular structure, a former bandstand, on the top of a small hill. Climb on to the structure on the far side to see that it is a sundial.
7. Leave the sundial and walk up the path towards the Ashton Memorial. Before visiting the building, to the left is a small ornate white building, like an elaborate greenhouse, which contains a cafe, shop and toilets. The cafe welcomes walkers and their dogs.
8. To enter the Memorial, walk across the large stone mosaic of the red rose of Lancashire.
9. Leave the Memorial, recross the mosaic and pass to the right of the building opposite – The Orangery – and walk right along a path which swings down and gives fine views up to the Memorial on your right. At the foot of the slope turn left along a broad path passing, on your left, a lake surrounded by rocks and low cliffs. Continue along this path to exit the park on to Wyresdale Road.
10. Almost opposite the park gate is the entrance to the St Martins campus of the University of Cumbria. WARNING – the next two directions, 11 and 12, lead through the campus. However, out of University term time the exit from the campus at the end of direction 12 may be locked. As an alternative route, instead of entering the campus at point 10, cross the road from the Williamson Park gates then turn left following the road as it bends to the right and becomes Coulson Road. This will lead to direction 13.
11. Near to the entrance of the campus is a map of the campus, on the outside wall of the Sports Centre. Study the map.
12. Walk straight ahead with an all-weather sports pitch on your left and a sports centre on your right. Then stay close to the buildings on the left with a large car park on the right. At the end of the main buildings turn left to follow the internal road. Turn right as the road bends right to pass St Martin’s Chapel on your left and then left as it bends left after the Chapel. Pass the Hornby Building on your left and find the campus exit, through a narrow gate with yellow railings to Golgotha.
13. Turn right on to Coulston Road and follow it to the junction with Bowerham Road. Cross Bowerham Road and turn right then left into Newsham Road, by the Bowerham Hotel. After about 100 metres Newsham Road bears diagonally left. Follow the Road and after a further 100 metres turn right at the end. The road rises slightly then dips sharply down hill to Scotforth Road.
14. Cross Scotforth Road and turn left for a short distance then right into Hastings Road. At the end of Hastings Road is a T junction with Dorrington Road.
15. Turn right along Dorrington Road and then left into Bridge Road, passing under, of all things, a bridge, which caries the West Coast main line. At the end of Bridge Road, cross Ashton Road and turn right. On the left is Nazareth House.
16. Where Ashton Road rises to cross the railway line turn left down a narrow path. This drops then rises past an estate of large houses on the left and Ripley St Thomas School on the right.
17. Beyond the school, the land to the right opens out to give fine views over the City to the hills beyond. Continue along this path down the hill to a footbridge over the Lancaster Canal.
18. Cross the footbridge and turn right down the steps then walk straight along the canal for about 400 metres. Walk along the narrow path beside some student accommodation built to the left of the Aldcliffe Canal Basin. Leave the canal side at a small car park between buildings to turn right along Aldcliffe Road.
19. Turn left into Queen Street. Walk the length of Queen Street to Queen Square, where it joins King Street.
20. Turn left along King Street.
21. Turn left up Meeting House Lane just beyond Waterstones bookshop,. Cross Meeting House Lane. At the first junction is the imposing Storey Institute.
22. Turn right at the Storey and walk into Castle Hill. Ahead is Lancaster Castle. Enter through the main gate at the front.
23. Leave the Castle via the main gate and turn right walking through the gardens, with the fine 18th century houses in Castle Park to the left. Turn right at the end of the Castle passing on your right the adjoining Shire Hall.
24. Beyond the Castle and Shire Hall enter the churchyard of the Church of St Mary, otherwise known as Lancaster Priory.
25. Unless visiting the Priory, pass to the left and follow a path downhill and then down some steps. Then down more narrow steps through group of small houses to emerge on St George’s Quay. Turn left to walk along St Georges Quay to the Custom House,
26. Continue along St George’s Quay to the tall Carlisle Bridge. Climb the steep stairs up to the Bridge and then cross it along the pedestrian walkway with fine views back up the River Lune and across the City to the Ashton Memorial.
27. Descend the steps at the far side of the Bridge and join the footpath walking back towards the City along the North bank of the Lune, with good views across to St George’s Quay, heading for Millennium Bridge.
28. Cross Millennium Bridge and then continue along St Georges Quay to Cable Street. Turn left along Cable Street, passing the Bus Station on the right. Cross Cable Street and, by The Bobbin pub, walk up Chapel Street. Just past St John’s Chapel on the left, turn right up North Road and then bear left, still on North Road. Walk for about 30 metres up hill before turning right into Church Street.
29. Walk up Church Street for about 200 metres and turn left into New Street.
30. At the end of New Street turn right into Market Street and after about 10 metres right again, through a covered alleyway “Music Room Passage, opposite the Ye Olde John O’ Gaunt pub. Follow the alley left then right where it opens out into a small square, on the left side of which is a tall elegant building, the Music Room.
31. Return to Market Street via the alleyway and turn left. On the left is the small Market Square faced by the City Museum.
32. Walk along Market Street to the crossroads junction with Cheapside to the left and Penny Street to the right. This is Horseshoe Corner.
33. Turn right along Penny Street. Where pedestrian only Penny Street is crossed by a busy road – Common Garden Street – turn left into what becomes Brock Street.
34. Cross Great John Street to re-enter Dalton Square.