Three Sisters to Wigan Flashes Heritage Loop 7miles /13.2km

Heritage and Culture Walks

Three Sisters to Wigan Flashes via the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and Viridor Woods.

The Three Sisters to Wigan Flashes heritage loop is a wonderful way to explore the local nature of Wigan. Whether you interested in walking, wildlife or history, this trail has it all! Complete this 13.2km (7 miles) heritage loop and be amazed at what you discover along the way.


    • This loop is 13.2km (7 miles) in total
    • Free parking is available at the Three Sisters Recreation Area
    • The route starts and ends at the Three Sisters car park
    • Refreshments are available at the Hamlet Café
    • Toilets are available at the Three Sisters (Please note that these are not always open)
    • Please ensure that your wear sensible footwear and clothing
    • Stay hydrated!
    • This route is avaliable on Strava 

    Three Sisters

    Starting at the Car Park of Three Sisters Recreation Area, head out onto the Bridleway marked with a Trails Lollipop waymarker. Walk for 890 metres in a broad northerly direction until you reach Bryn Gates Lane.

    From here, take a left and continue along here, crossing over the railway bridge on Landgate Lane. 200m after the railway bridge look out for a steel metal gate on your right and take this footpath across fields. After 470m, at the junction with Park House Farm go straight ahead to bear left around the farm buildings and then head east towards the edge of the Nature Reserve.


    The Leeds-Liverpool Canal  is 680 meters from the farm but it is possible to take a left detour at the 400m point towards Ochre Flash which is a nice picnic spot for you to stop, have a break and watch the ducks.

    Back to the canal, follow along the path that runs along the canal all the way down to the iconic Moss Bridge and enjoy the spectacular views over Scotman’s Flash. Scotman's flash was once a mining colliery that has been reclaimed by nature and is now a stunning body of water surroundied by an abundace of nature and wildlife! 

    Cross Moss bridge over to the other side of the Canal and in effect double back on yourself in a broad southerly direction. Walk along the canal for 2.4km and then cross over the sides of the Canal at Lily Lane road bridge  1.3km and then onto Dover Lock Inn. The public footpath at the roadside corner of Dover Lock Inn is tricky to spot in the roadside car park of the former pub  Over the Heybrook River and bear right on farmland and under the Railway Bridge at the 2km point..

    Viridor Woods

    You now enter Viridor Woods and walk for 880 metres a broad westerly direction until you reach the Viridor Woods public car park  Cross over the busy Bolton Road (taking care) and then into the next section of Viridor Woods with a wooden way marker. Walk initially in a westerly direction then northerly direction which will at 1.2km point bring you to the edge of Three Sister Recreation Area.

    Three Sisters Return

    When you get to Kestrel Drive take a left in a southerly direction for 600 metres. Right turn past the main lake and the Hamlet Nest Café (check opening times) where you can enjoy a well-deserved brew and return to the car park. An alternative route is to take the left on Kestrel drive and go over the bridge with the tree carvings and return to the car park via the bridleway. They are pretty much the same but the former route is more scenic. 


    For anyone wanting to view the route or those of you who fancy the route but don’t have the time to walk it, watch the following video where The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s, Adam Berry, will take you along this incredible route!

    Adam Berry Walks: Three Sisters to Wigan Flashes Heritage Loop - YouTube


    Find this route on Strava by following the link below:

    Three Sisters to Wigan Flashes Heritage Loop with audio | 14.7 km Walking Route on Strava


    To get a printable leaflet of this route, follow the link below:

    Three Sisters to Wigan Flashes Heritage Loop | Carbon Landscapes


    For those of you interested in learning about the incredible history of the area check out the 'A Short History of Coal Mining in Wigan and Leigh' podcast by Ian Winstanley and narrated by Ed Darling.

    A Short History of Coal Mining in Wigan and Leigh by Ian Winstanley



    Family activities