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42 Being too young to appear on the TV show Krypton Factor, I always thought I’d missed the chance to tackle its famous assault course. Although I wouldn’t go as far as saying this walk resembled it, there are certainly some more ‘challenging’ parts to it. Not that this should deter you. Simply think of it as ‘forewarned is forearmed’. We park up at Yarrow Valley Country Park at Birkacre. From the car park head out along Birkacre Road, crossing the B5251, and continuing along to Butterworth Brow. Here go right and then cross over the road to enter the field. This is where your wellies come in, as a large part of this section is very wet and extremely muddy in places. I don’t mind mud, but after a few miles it can get tedious. Pick a day when the ground is likely to be firm and you’ve got no worries. Chorley by David Sudworth Continue along the footpaths, heading north between the River Yarrow and the B5251. After about three quarters of a mile you should be walking around a large meadow area, and you need to head for the northwest corner, where there’s a footbridge to carry you over the river. It can be difficult to get your bearings here, so pay close attention and you will be fine. Follow the path up the hill, past Yarrow Farm and onto the lane. I always feel a sense of unease going through farms, mostly because it feels like you’re loitering in someone’s private space. However, we got a cheery hello from someone working close by so I imagine it’s something they’re used to! You pretty much cross straight over the lane and follow the path around the field. As you go from one field to the next, make sure you keep to the right
43 of the tree line until you reach Parkers in the Fields Farm. Follow the track through the farmyard and once out and onto the lane, take the footpath on your left. Here, there’s a little more mud as you enter the field. Continue along the left of the field to the path that runs along the perimeter of Yarrow Valley 9-Hole Golf Course. The path soon takes a sharp left, leading you down into a woods and down to the river. As you make your way along this section you’ll find a few fallen trees blocking your way, and again it can be muddy. As our fearless photographer Peter said at the time, it’s kind of bordering on an assault course at this point, but that’s what makes it fun, right? Eventually you’ll emerge on to Butterworth Brow, where you go right, up the hill. Just as you’re reaching the top of the hill, cross over and into Sharratts Path. Follow the lane down and into the path, that takes you down to the B5251 and crossover the main road, going right a short distance, until you reach the footpath on your left. Take this path and follow it through the woods to Birkacre brow and back to the car park.