Lydiate – Our canal towpath

I don’t cycle the towpath of Leeds Liverpool Canal through Sefton and West Lancashire often for two reasons. It’s narrow and rough to ride on and the narrowness means I need to stop frequently to let pedestrians pass. However, the other day I decided to cycle the section from Greens Lane swing bridge in Downholland through to Bells Lane swing bridge in Lydiate.

The ride was pretty much as I expected i.e. only really suitable for mountain bikes due to its rough and uneven nature. I would add that as the weather had been dry for quite some time I didn’t encounter any of the usual boggy areas that can, during winter months, make the towpath all but impassable in places north of Lydiate Hill Bridge/Billy’s Bridge.

Joining at Greens Lane the swing bridge was just closing as I got to it from the Aughton direction:_

Greens Lane swing bridge

You arrive in Lydiate on the towpath when you cross Sudell Brook (it forms the Lancashire/Merseyside & Lydiate/Downholland boundary) which flows under the canal just north of Jackson’s Bridge where Pygons Hill Ln/Hall Ln cross the canal. This is the view from atop Jackson’s Bridge looking northwards towards the Lancashire boundary. This section of the towpath is reasonable, in dry weather:-

Looking north from Jackson’s Bridge

The towpath southwards from Jackson’s Bridge, past Lollies Bridge, Pilling Lane Bridge, and through to Bells Lane swing bridge is variable but mainly poor especially if the weather has been wet.

This is where the ong-term collapse of the towpath into the canal has been diverted past – Between Billy’s Bridge and Lollies Bridge.

The repairs required to the collapsed section of towpath were, when I last asked the Canal & River Trust, due to take place during the 2021/2022 financial year i.e. any time soon but I don’t have an update on those works.

One of the problems with the same section of towpath between these two bridges is that the land abutting the towpath is higher and there’s a continual run-off of groundwater across it. This photo illustrates the problem but after weeks of virtually no rain. It’s not hard to imagine how the situation deteriorates after heavy rain or through the winter:-

Finally a nice view of Pilling Lane bridge with a narrowboat traveling towards the camera:-

The Maghull/Lydiate boundary is roughly halfway between the Bells Lane swing bridge and the Green Lane swing bridge. It is this section of towpath that is down to be resurfaced with the Canal & River Trust gaining the money to do it via the new Rose Hill Gardens housing development at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road. The new houses are all in Lydiate, not Maghull. I still have no news as to whether the Canal & River Trust is prepared to use some of this money to address worse sections of the towpath through Lydiate.

Downholland – Eagar Lane/Greens Lane resurfacing outside Lavender Barns

Back in August 2019 I called on Lancashire County Council to resurface the stretch of Eagar Lane/Greens Lane outside Lavender Barns just yards into Lancashire from Lydiate, and I blogged about the state of the lane – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/15/greens-lane-downholland/

If I recall correctly that prompted more patch repairs but the message must have got home to LCC (maybe others raised the matter with them too?) as a couple of days ago they did a significant resurfacing job:-

Editor’s note – ‘Thanks for that LCC, much appreciated, but sadly there’s another very poor stretch of Greens Lane which has deteriorated significantly of recent months. It’s around the entrance to the 2nd fishery, past Green’s House and near to the row of houses further into Downholland Civil Parish. I’ll pop a note on your website about it.’

Greens Lane Downholland

The road surface outside Lavender Barns (just into West Lancs & therefore just outside Lydiate) is in a terrible state. Two parts of it have been patch repaired more times than is sensible and in places is more patch than original road surface. It’s really bad for cyclists I might add as you have to weave around the ruts and patches especially after rain. This what it looked like last Sunday:-

Greens Lane Downholland looking towards Lydiate.

The photo is looking towards Lydiate and indeed the boundary (where it becomes Eagar Lane) is just out of shot around the corner.

I’ve raised the matter with Lancashire County Council hoping that they’ll resurface this short section of the lane rather then keep patching it.

Downholland – Vandalised canal bridge is reopened

So pleased to see that the Canal and River Trust has managed to replace the vandalised electronic control cabin of Coxhead/Rimmer’s swing bridge on Eagar Lane/Greens Lane Downholland on the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

C&RT staff were testing it this morning and all was looking good, what’s more it seems the Police have the culprits on CCTV so I was told.

New electrical control cabin at Coxhead swing bridge

Downholland – Queueing for the swing bridge to open

Following the shocking vandalism to the electrical control box of Bridge 20 on the Leeds Liverpool Canal a few weeks back where Greens Lane/Eagar Lane cross it this was the scene one day recently:-

Interestingly the C&RT refer to the bridge as ‘Coxhead’ (see notice displayed by the bridge below), a name I’ve not heard before. I thought it’s local name was Rimmer’s Bridge. Can anyone with local knowledge clarify? I suppose it could be like Billy’s Bridge in Lydiate also being known as Lydiate Hill Bridge i.e. more than one local name?

Is there any update from Lancashire Police about the unprovoked attack on the bridge control box? – Not that a control box could provoke an attack of course!

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lydiate – Canal safety barrier comes crashing down at Rimmer’s Swing Bridge.

Above is the Green’s Lane swing bridge in the open position for a narrow boat. Green’s Lane becomes Eagar Lane in Lydiate.

The second photo shows one of the barriers snapped off and on the ground awaiting repair. The damage was caused by the very high winds associated with the ‘Beast from the East’ storm.

From talking to the Canal and Rivers Trust staff attending the broken barrier it was not the only location where such barriers were snapped off by the high winds. I guess they are a bit like a sail when in their open position. A new barrier will have to be ordered and fitted in due course.

And for the picky amongst you:-), yes I do realise that this bridge (Rimmer’s Bridge) is just outside the Lydiate Parish boundary in Downholland.

Click on the photos to enlarge them