As soon as we joined the canal at the Orwell, we bumped into a couple of elderly people who had travelled to Wigan Pier with their grandkids. They had come for a day out and had driven into Wigan from Bury. How disappointing to find that the Pier complex was closed. They weren't the only people who were disappointed, there were others who had turned up for a day out. If you're visiting the Pier don't come on Fridays or Saturdays, it's closed.
The walk was very pleasant with some of the nicest views and places along the canal. As soon as we left industrial Wigan the canal went through Crooke village.
This was one of the nicest parts of the walk. There were plenty of barges moored at the marina and any photo taken in the village was picture postcard worthy. It's hard to believe that this area played a large part in the area's coal industry, with railways and coal tipplers all around. Thankfully, none of it exists today and Crooke is a beautiful canalside village.
The next part of the walk took us to Gathurst. Another scenic spot where the M6 viaduct crosses the canal, River Douglas and the Southport to Manchester railway. Don't let this put you off, it really is a nice place to walk. There used to be locks here joining the River Douglas to the canal. An old postcard on wiganworld illustrates this. The locks were removed when the Rufford junction was built.
Another nice area. Along the entire route, the River Douglas (on left) and the Southport to Manchester railway (on right) followed the canal. The bridge in Appley Bridge is called Appley bridge, on the bridge is a sign which reads "Welcome to Lancashire".
Our last section of the walk headed from Appley Bridge to Parbold. Not a great deal to report, other than the area was beautiful countryside for as far as the eye could see. Surrounded by nature and wildlife, it was one of the nicest places in England (no exaggeration).
The walk was soon over. It was easy. Probably because we were more prepared and there were no dodgy moments or wrong decisions made on which towpath to follow.
Total time from Wigan to Parbold? 3hrs and 15mins.
We left the canal via Parbold bridge and walked a couple of hundred yards to the train station. After a wait of about 10 minutes we jumped onto a train to take us back to Wigan Wallgate. From the train we could see the canal all the way back home. 3hrs 15 minutes to walk there, 10 minutes train ride back.
Thoroughly enjoyable walk and one that I would recommend.