In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown of Spring 2020 it was easy to not even know about the newly reinstated path on the north side of the park.
An aerial view of the park showing the location of the path as reinstated in 2020.
The path starts at the entrance that is in the north west corner of the playing fields, on the other side of the lake from Astley Hall and joins the path from Millwood Glade (at the bottom of Millfield Road) in one direction and Hall Gate car park in the other.
The key significance of the reinstated path is that it enabled the creation of The Astley Trail. This 3.3km (2 mile) waymarked walking route, devised by the Friends, goes all round the Park and is accompanied by a leaflet and displayed map boards.
The park entrance from Millfield Glade footpath and Hall Gate
The reinstated path runs the entire length of the north perimeter of the park taking a right turn at the top end near St Laurence’s CE Primary School before joining the existing path that leads up to the north Park Road entrance next to Rectory Close (not the main gates).
This reinstatement of an old path has been brought about by Friends of Astley Park with the help of Chorley Council, funded by a grant from Lancashire Environmental Fund and the Council. Some credit must go to Maurice Houghton, Friends Vice Chair, (assisted by Steve Rhodes, Chair) who obtained the initial monies for the survey and then over a period several months filled in dozens of pages of information about the project, to obtain the grant.
The path was completed just as the Prime Minister announced the lockdown in March 2020 and is already proving popular for walking and daily exercise and provides all-weather access to what was a relatively under used area.
In 2022 it was decided to further improve access around the northern edge of the Park by creating paths that would provide a step-free alternative route for users of The Astley Trail. The additional paths comprise a short ‘by-pass’ of the steps through Dog Trap Wood and a link from near the south western corner of St Laurence’s school playing field to the pavilion next to Pet’s Corner. Also, at the Millfield Glade Park entrance an existing path to Elmwood was improved with a stoned surface.
Once again Maurice was instrumental in achieving the grant assistance from the Lancashire Environmental Fund needed to pay for the project. As previously the path making work was done by a contractor but again as before Friends’ volunteers installed the additional waymarking posts.