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.

Lydiate – Its Listed Buildings

I recently came across a list provided by Lydiate Parish Council detailing the Listed Buildings within the Civil Parish and thought it worthy of sharing.

All the listings are grade II with the last two below being grade II*. The date after the grading is when the building was actually listed. I’ve added photos where I have them in my collection.

Barn to Lydiate House Pilling Lane II 17-01-1986 Barn and former stable – lintel inscribed 1611

Carriage House at Lydiate House Pilling Lane II 17-01-1986 Carriage house – probably early 18th century

Church House Southport Road II 11-10-1968 Farmhouse – 17th century

Church of Our Lady Southport Road II 17-01-1986 Catholic church – 1854/5

Church of St Thomas Church Lane II 11-10-1968 Church – 1839/41

St. Thomas Church

Church View Cottages Southport Road II 11-10-1968 Two houses – 17th century

Cross (approx 10m north of Church of Our Lady) Southport Road II 11-10-1968 Cross – upper part medieval, lower part a 19th century restoration

Lydiate Bridge Pilling Lane II 17-01-1986 Bridge over canal – c.1770

Looking through Pilling Lane canal bridge at boats moored outside Mersey Motor Boat Club.

Lydiate Hill Bridge Approx 40m from Southport Road II 17-01-1986 Bridge over canal – c.1770

Lydiate Hill (also known as Billy’s Bridge) Bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Meadow View Farmhouse Pilling Lane II 17-01-1986 Farmhouse – datestone inscribed 1753

Remains of Lydiate Hall Southport Road II 11-10-1968 Remains of Hall – 15th & 16th century, with 19th century additions

Rose Hill Pygon’s Hill Lane II 17-01-1986 House – 18th century

Scotch Piper Public House Southport Road II* 11-10-1968 Public house – said to date from 1320 but probably 16th century

The Scotch Piper. Recently re-thatched after a serious fire.

St Katherine’s Chapel (Lydiate Abbey) Southport Road II* 11-10-1968 Ruined chapel – late 15th or early 16th century

St Catherine’s also known as Lydiate Abbey

I hope this posting helps fill in some gaps about Lydiate’s history, I know it has filled in some of my own.

Lydiate – Pilling Lane has been closed for road works

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Pilling Lane, where it crosses the Leeds Liverpool Canal, has been closed this week as road works have been taking place on the rural side of this canal bridge.

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The works, at least as far as I could tell, were associated with putting new curb stones in along the Lane.

Not sure when it will reopen but hopefully soon.

Lydiate – Leeds Liverpool canal bank collapse

I posted about the collapse of part of the bank between Lollies Bridge and Lydiate Hill Bridge (otherwise known as Billy’s Bridge) back in June:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/06/20/lydiate-damaged-canal-banking-an-update/

This is how the scene looks now:-

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Seems that the Canal & River Trust still can’t afford to do the repair work so have erected a substantial wooden fence around the collapsed banking. Lydiate residents will recall that a similar situation occurred back a while ago when significant repairs were required around the Pilling Lane stone bridge. There it was many months before they could find the money to do the work.

The bottom line here is that the Trust’s bottom line is no money. They operate in a similar way to the National Trust but don’t have anything like the same resources.

Lydiate – Pilling Lane steps – A job well done

An 'Australian' chap inspects the new steps

An ‘Australian’ looking chap inspects the new steps

After a long campaign may I congratulate the Canal & River Trust for the work they have done to restore the historic Pilling Lane stone bridge and the steps that lead up from the canal tow path to Pilling Lane, in Lydiate. This is right next to the headquarters of Mersey Motor Boat Club.

I have commented on this project quite a number of times over the past couple of years so it is great to see it all come to fruition. Below is a shot of the huge bolts that run from one side of the bridge to the other to stop it ‘spreading’ sideways.

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Pilling Lane canal bridge, Lydiate – Latest news

Repairs works to the bridge and canal are going well with the canal being open once again.

However, on 17th April the road over the bridge was still closed pending completion of the works.

These two photos show recent activity. The first one is of the canal empty of water on 31st March with a digger where water would normally be. The second was taken on 17th April as work progressed.

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This last shot shows the new pedestrian steps taking shape.

Almost there after months of campaigning for the work to be done.

These photos are also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/