Bold Loop

7.3 miles / 11.8 km
4h 00m
St Helens Junction Railway Station, Station Road, Sutton
OS Explorer 275 Liverpool
Mostly level but some unsurfaced paths

St Helens rangers: 01744 815586

St Helens Junction Railway Station, where this walk begins, was opened in 1833, three years after the world's first passenger line - the Liverpool to Manchester railway. The nearby Sutton Oak Pub (now converted into offices) used to be called The Boundary Vaults, because it was situated on the old St Helens County boundary.

Shortly after crossing the motorway for the first time, the walk passes through a woodland that was once called Ladies' Walk, because it was a popular walking out stretch for the ladies between Old Bold Hall and Bold Hall. This wood covers the old site of the manor house of Bold family. The family resided in the area before Edward the Confessor (1005-1066), and the earliest record of the manor dates back to a survey carried out in 1212. In 1404, John de Bold and his son Thomas Bold fought with Henry, the English Prince of Wales (later King Henry V) against Owen Glendower, his Welsh rival. In 1415, Thomas again fought with Henry's army against the French at Agincourt. Bold Hall was rebuilt in 1616, an imposing stone building complete with a moat, and was then redesigned in 1730 by Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni who used marble from the Roman villa of Emperor Hadrian in the construction of the fireplace.

The walk also includes a visit to Sutton Manor, the site of the Dream sculpture. At this point, if you make a detour to the top of the wooded hill to your left, you will get an excellent view of Dream by the Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. Dream is a 20m (66ft) high sculpture of a girl's head with eyes closed. People travel from far and wide to view this beautiful work of art.

Finally you will cross the former site of Clock Face Colliery, which opened in 1890 but was abandoned due to water problems and taken over in 1904 as a water pumping pit. It provided 700,000 gallons a day, 500,000 gallons being sold to St Helens Corporation. It improved in the 1930s and 1950s to produce 169,000 tons of coal, but closed in 1966. Now it's a country park.

Photo © McCoy Wynne

  1. Exit the railway station.

  2. Turn right down Station Road.

  3. At the T-junction turn right on to Helena Road and go under the railway bridge.

  4. After 250m turn left on to Bold Road.

  5. Keep a look out on the right for a kissing gate opposite an office building which was the former Sutton Oak Pub, and follow the waymarked path across the fields for about 900m, ignoring the footbridge on the left.

  6. Turn left at the signpost where the paths meet and follow the path along the edge of Abbotsfield Farm 250m to Gorsey Lane.

  7. At Gorsey Lane, turn left and follow the road for 300m.

  8. Turn right into Hall Lane and walk along it, passing Home Farm on your left and Kennel Cottage on your right, for about 600m until you come to Thatch Cottage.

  9. Turn left here through the gate and walk 150m, with Dog Kennel Plantation on your left and Griffin Wood on your right, to arrive at a post and rail fence on your left. With the fence on your left, continue towards Fiddler's Ferry Power Station (visible in the distance) for a further 360m to the M62 motorway.

  10. Cross over the footbridge and turn right. Cross the stile and walk parallel to the motorway for a further 100m.

  11. Take the next left in a southerly direction for 350m, which takes you through open fields into the wooded area in the distance.

  12. When through the wood, turn left between the old gate pillars and along the stone path until it turns right at a road. Follow the road for 1.2km, passing extensive stables and Mersey Valley Golf Course on your left, until it joins Warrington Road (A57).

  13. Turn right on the A57 and follow it for 570m, after which there is a public footpath sign pointing to the right, up a driveway.

  14. Turn right into the drive, over a stile and along the driveway.

  15. As the house comes into sight, you can see a stile just on the left in the corner. Over the stile and follow a series of field paths for 600m, along hedgerows past Tibbs Cross Farm to Tibbs Cross Lane.

  16. Turn left on the road, then immediately right at the public footpath sign and up towards a cottage (80m).

  17. At the cottage, walk at the left side of the hedge to where the path meets a hedge/disused railway line and turn right. Follow this hedge for 240m to Union Bank Lane.

  18. Turn left on the road, then immediately right at the public footpath sign. Take the route under the M62 motorway and emerge in Sutton Manor Colliery. Walk north along the path with the disused railway on the right for 300m until you come to a waymark pointing to the right.

  19. Continue for approximately 400m until you cross the disused railway track and then follow the field edge path which leads to Sweet Brier Court and out on to Clock Face Road (A569).

  20. Cross the road, turn left and then immediately right. Continue along the path for 800m to the car park of Clock Face Country Park.

  21. Continue straight through the car park (parallel to Gorsey Lane), through the gate and over the hill to where there is a fork in the path.

  22. Take the left fork and walk to the road, Gorsey Lane.

  23. Turn right at the road and walk until you are opposite the red brick wall.

  24. Cross the road and enter the path on the left from which you emerged near the beginning of the walk.

  25. Turn right at the junction of paths.

  26. Turn left at Bold Road.

  27. Turn right into Helena Road.

  28. Pass under the railway then turn left on to Station Road.

  29. Turn left into the station.