Not far from the A6, between Garstang and Preston you will find Brock Bottom picnic site. It’s a name I remember from my childhood and I’m sure I must have been there before but I don’t remember it. We are always looking for new places to explore with the boys so armed with a picnic and the camera we set off on Sunday to see what was there.
Unfortunately the information board which should have been on this stone was missing but if had been there it would have told us that this was the site of Brock Mill, a cotton mill built in the 1790s, along with 20 workers’ cottages. We actually didn’t see the remains of the mill as we set off in the opposite direction but I’m sure we’ll find them next time.
There is quite a small (but free) car park at Brock Bottom which was full when we arrived. We didn’t have to wait long for someone to leave so we could get a space though. There are a fair few picnic tables around the edge of the car park, and they all have a metal plate on the end where you can use disposable barbecues. On the disposable note though, there are no bins in the picnic area so be prepared to take your rubbish home with you.
We ate our picnic lunch and then set off down the path alongside the river. Toby ran ahead as he loves to do. He’s so happy when he is outdoors.
Gabe was eager to run off after his brother but I managed to keep a hold of his hand (for a while at least) as there was quite a drop from the path down to the river in places.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and although there were plenty of other people using the path it didn’t feel overly busy. Toby delighted in hiding behind this tree and then sticking his head out.
And Gabe found a stick and followed his brother…
A little way down the main path it split off into the woods and we found some bluebells! I’m really allergic to rapeseed so we’re never going to get those pictures that so many bloggers do, in fields of yellow but I can cope with bluebells!
Toby loves flowers at the moment so he was keen to have a closer look…
We even managed to get a picture of both boys together. If I can get Toby to stand still for long enough to take a picture, Gabe will now happily go and stand next to him. And somewhere he has learnt to say cheese which is very cute.
After running in the bluebells for a bit we found a bench to sit on. Toby does sit still occasionally…
The bench had loads of coins buried in it. I don’t know why they were there but it was pretty cool. And not too uncomfortable to sit on either!
We all shared a Kit Kat on the bench before we carried on exploring. Well, Toby, Barry and I enjoyed a Kit Kat – Gabe got chocolate all over his hands and dropped most of his on the floor!
After our snack we went down to play in the river. It was very low as we’ve not had much rain lately.
Toby and Gabe both loved throwing stones into the river, and remarkably neither of them fell in.
We moved a bit further up the river and had another little play in the section close to the car park. There were a lot of people with dogs around, which can be an issue for Toby. But he seems to be getting over his fear a little bit and didn’t freak out as long as none of them came too near.
All in all we had a lovely day at Brock Bottom and I can see it becoming a regular haunt for our family. It just goes to show you don’t always need to spend a lot of money, or have lots of facilities, to have a really enjoyable family day out.
Seeing the boys play side by side, if not quite together, gave me another glimpse of what is still to come. Maybe one day we will come back here and they will be chatting and having fun together, rather than just tolerating each other in the same space!
Do you have any favourite places to explore with your family? If you know of any other hidden gems in the north west I’d love to hear about them.
I filmed a little video of our afternoon out too if you’d like to see more…