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Neighbour to the Tawd Valley Park with its rolling grasslands, deep mixed woodlands and patchy wetlands is the stunning Beacon Country Park, which has everything a nature lover, rambler, cyclist and equestrian could wish for.

Nestled between Skelmersdale and Wigan, the 260 acre park boasts a year on year Green Flag Award and rightly so.

The park is situated on high ground and offers panoramic views all around – Look across Liverpool, Tawd Valley Park, the Welsh Mountains, Blackpool and onto the Irish Sea to the West. Then turn around and you’ll discover Greater Manchester and the Pennines to the East. The views are breath-taking and you won’t be disappointed.

There a number of areas to explore. Why not start at the small carpark up the road from Dalton St. Michaels Church. Here you can watch as golfers enjoy 18 holes on the Beacon Golf Course or test your legs and walk Ashurst Hill to find the historic tower of the Ashurst Beacon Point. The point was built in 1798 as a watch tower to warn of a French invasion in the lead up to the Napoleonic War. Close to the point is a small map/compass structure indicating the direction of landmarks in the North West. On a clear day, most landmarks will be easily visible from here.

Further along Beacon Lane is the Elmers Green Lane carpark. Here you will find Beacon Golf Club, toilets, children’s play areas and the WLBC Ranger Service Visitors Centre. The rangers are usually hard at work with the on-going maintenance of a variety of sites within West Lancashire, but if you’re lucky to see them, make sure to say hello and let them know what a great job they’re doing. They’re a fantastic asset and greatly appreciated.

Next up are Carr Lane and Harts Lane carparks. This is where you better have your wellies at the ready as it can get messy. Muddy trails, ponds, swampy grassland and wooded areas are awaiting to be discovered. The kids will love it and if they’re quiet they may even spy the Gruffalo. Why not bring a packed lunch and make use of the benches and picnic tables in some of the lovely secluded areas (during the summer months an ice-cream van can be found in the carpark. Treat yourself to a lolly-ice).

Looking to see wildlife? Then the country park will not disappoint. Deer and fox roam the woodlands, frogs, newts and toads swim in the wetlands and owls, buzzards and an impressive variety of smaller birds take flight in the skies above. Wildlife corridors and cloughs connect both the Beacon and Tawd Valley Parks together, so the deer you are lucky to witness down the Tawd may well be the ones you see up the Beacon.

Make sure to add the Beacon Country Park to the places you want to visit in 2022! You’ll be glad you did.