Following on from Leyland, we returned to Preston to explore some of the cities most scenic locations…
This beautiful square just off Fishergate, the main shopping street running through the city, contains a variety of listed buildings and is a great place to stop and relax. There are various blue plaques around the square, at the sight of important houses or old schools, and in the centre is the large square mini woodland.
Around the outside is a statue of Sir Robert Peel (1788 – 1850, once Prime Minister of the UK, who was born in Ramsbotton near Manchester), and you will find signs of local wildlife, such as the squirrel we spotted jumping down from one of the trees.
You can find a wealth of information about the different houses around the square, by visiting the Winckley Square website here.
Moving down to the twin parks of Avenham and Miller past Winckley Square down by the River Ribble, the scenery just kept rolling in. The parks were laid out in the 1860’s, and other additions include the 1930’s Japanese Rock Garden in Avenham Park, as well as a new cafe that has been built near to the riverside. There is a statue of the 14th Earl of Derby Edward Smith-Stanley (1799 – 1869, British Prime Minister) on the steps leading down to the main part of Miller Park, with a fountain that changes colour in the centre.
In and around the parks are the Belvedere (an open stone pavilion like building), and the Boer War Memorial. Up above the parks Avenham Tower House is visible, but we will get back to that later.
At the edge of the parks is the River Ribble, which has already made its way through Yorkshire to Lancashire, and travels around the outside of Preston into the Irish Sea. You can walk quite a distance along the river here, and we went up to the Replica Tramway Bridge from the 1960’s. It leads to the far bank of the river, out of the Preston District and into South Ribble. From here you get great views up and down the river, and can see as far as the old disused East Lancashire Railway Viaduct, and the West Coast Main Line/Local Routes Bridge which Virgin Trains and various others regularly cross heading to and from London/Manchester/Scotland etc.
Various types of tree and flowers grow around here, and we had perfect weather to do the walk in. The sun shone off the river and reflected off at the trees and lit them up spectacularly. From the riverside we climbed the steps to the next section of the parks, and some historic structures…
Sevastapol Cannons and Avenham Tower House
Climbing up from the river, you are greeted by the twin Sevastapol Cannons, which are replica’s of two cannons from the Crimean War, pairs of which were went to various important towns and cities all over the then British Empire. The original cannons rusted away by the 1960’s, but the replicas are very convincing and are still a good record of history.
Past the cannons is Avenham Tower, which was built in 1847 for the Threlfall Family. Walking up this part of the parks you will genuinely feel like your in a foreign country, the beauty of the area is unmatched and with the architecture and the ornate cannons guarding the entrance it’s almost like taking a trip to the Mediterranean. Far below you get a better view of the tram bridge and out along the river itself.
The benches in the area all have lambs heads at the front, as the Paschal Lamb appears on the Preston. The lamb is the lamb of St Wilfrid, the Patron Saint of the City, and appears on Preston’s logo on signs and the Guild Celebrations. At the end of the road is the Harris Art Institute, which was founded in 1828 and moved from it’s home on Cannon Street to the current premises in 1850. The building itself was constructed between 1844 and 1849.
That brought our long day out to a close and we had definitely left the best until last, but we enjoyed everywhere else we visited as well. Find out more about what Preston has to office in the City Centre, from the impressive Harris Museum, to St Walburge’s Church (Third tallest church spire in Britain! Tallest on a non Cathedral), Preston Minster, the Town Hall/Court Buildings and the redeveloped Docklands, by visiting my previous post here.