Cuerden Valley Park is a country park on the border of South Ribble and Chorley. It follows the path of the River Lostock, from Whittle-le-Woods to Bamber Bridge.
The park offers a variety of landscapes and attractions including woodland, meadows, farmland, a lake, ponds, and gardens.
The northern section of the park is the most interesting. It was originally the estate of Cuerden Hall. Restoration projects have restored original features such as the Walled Garden, American Garden and Pinetum. Cuerden Hall, a mansion built in the eighteenth century, is now a Sue Ryder specialist neurological care centre.
Cuerden Lake lies to the east of Cuerden Hall. It’s a manmade lake but looks completely natural. It is surrounded by woodland and is very picturesque.
The Barn is also at the northern end of the park. The eco-friendly building is the headquarters of the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.
The Cuerden Valley Park Trust, the charity that owns and manages the park, is based in the park and has recently moved into a newly constructed ecological visitor centre overlooking the park. The dedicated centre provides toilet facilities and also houses a cafe.
The park is popular with walkers and boasts more than ten miles of footpaths. The main path is tarmacked and runs the length of the park. It forms part of the National Cycle Route 55, the cycling trail linking Preston to Ironbridge in Shropshire.
The remains of Lower Kem Mill can be found at the southern end of the park. The bleaching and dyeing works was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was destroyed by fire in 1914 and today only sections of the wall and foundations still stand. Information boards at the site explore the history of the mill.
Cuerden Valley Park is easy to reach by car. It is bounded by three motorways; the M6 to the east, the M61 to the west, and the M65 to the north.
The park offers visitors a choice of five car parks. From north to south they are:
- Stag Lodge – At Bamber Bridge, close to the junction of Lostock Lane (A6) and Wigan Road (A49).
- Wigan Road – On Wigan Road (A49), between the M6 and M65 motorway bridges.
- Berkeley Drive – Situated next to The Barn (postcode PR5 6BY) and close to most of the main attractions (The Barn, Walled Orchard, and Cuerden Lake etc.).
- Town Brow – This car park is located on Town Brow (B256) opposite Clayton-le-Woods Church of England Primary School (postcode PR6 7EU).
- Kem Mill – Located at the southern end of the park on Preston Road (A6) in Whittle-le-Woods. Next to the Whittle-le-Woods Church of England Primary School (postcode PR6 7PS).
At the time of our last visit (2020) parking cost £1.10 for a day. The money raised from parking fees is the main source of income for the Cuerden Valley Park Trust.
The closest train station, Bamber Bridge, is approximately three quarters of a mile from the northern end of the park. The station lies on the East Lancashire Line.