This walk starts at the northern entrance to Bold Venture Park and follows a route that takes in many of the park’s most prominent features. After reaching the southern end of the park, a footpath leads directly to Darwen Tower. This section of the walk is pretty easy, following established paths. It is, however, quite steep.
The return section of the walk follows public rights of way over farmland, overgrown paths etc. If this is too difficult, just give it a miss and simply retrace your steps to return to Bold Venture Park.
We began our walk at the main entrance to Bold Venture Park. There were parking restrictions in place in front of the gates so we parked the car nearby on Belgrave Road (postcode BB3 2SF).
On entering the park, we came to the Darwen War Memorial, a magnificent monument built to honour Darreners that lost their lives in the Great War. I had a quick look but my daughter immediately made for the adjacent playground.
After leaving the playground we followed the path along the northern side of the ornamental lake. We soon came to the Shorrock Drinking Fountain, built in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.
Continuing south we arrived at a large waterfall. Before the park opened in 1889, the land was the site of several quarries. The waterfall is around forty feet tall and falls over a quarry face. The stream flowing over the waterfall is Bold Venture Brook. It cascades down the park from Darwen Moor to the ornamental lake.
Taking a steep flight of stairs we came to the Labyrinth. This water feature is one of the sculptures on the park’s Huntington Heritage Trail. The trail opened in 2012 and was financed with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund. It is named after James Huntington, a Victorian wallpaper manufacturer and designer from Darwen.
Crossing Manor Road brought us to the southern section of the park. This area is mainly woodland. We followed the path running along the northern side of Bold Venture Brook. On the way we passed Huntington’s Parlour, another sculpture on the Huntington Heritage Trail.
On reaching the southern end of the park, we passed through the gate, and started the ascent to Darwen Tower. The path is pretty steep but is in wide and in good condition. On the way my eagle-eyed daughter spotted a rather large caterpillar.
We didn’t stay long at Darwen Tower. It was a dismal day and the views weren’t that great. We’d also been there a few days earlier on our walk from Sunnyhurst Wood.
From the tower we followed the path northeast. The route from here is a little tricky in some places. You can go back the way you came if you don’t want to tackle them. Before setting off on the return journey we took a well-deserved break.
After walking for about 400 yards we passed through a kissing gate and followed a path through a field towards Sniddle Hill Farm. Just before the gate at the end of the field the track became fairly boggy. We eventually managed to find a dry section of field and avoided wet feet.
We then passed through a gate to reach Sniddle Hill Farm. From here we had a great view of Darwen’s famous India Mill. We then walked down Sniddle Hill Lane until we reached Turn Lane.
On reaching Turn Lane we passed through the kissing gate to Punstock Lane. The name is a little misleading. It’s more of a path than a lane. After passing Holly Bank Farm, the path became quite overgrown in places.
Punstock Lane leads to Punstock Road, a typical Darwen street of terraced houses. At the bottom of Punstock Road we turned right onto Borough Road. This brought us back to the main entrance of Bold Venture Park.
Length: 2.1 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
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