It is the idyllic town on the West Lanx Canal side that has proven a hit with families, merchants and visitors alike.
The picturesque town of Borskoog in West Lancashire, which has been rated as one of the best places to live in the UK, attracts visitors from all over the world. The picturesque canal town known for its rural scenery and attractive architecture has quickly become one of our region’s busiest spots for visitors and residents alike.
North of Ormskirk and near Rufford, on a lively railway to Manchester and the A59 to Preston, the wonderful city has the best of both rural and urban settings. It also ranked the 20th best place to live in Britain in a 2015 survey by financial firm OneFamily, based on local amenities, affordable housing, green spaces and education.
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And it’s not hard to see why. As I walked out onto the canal boardwalk on a rainy September afternoon, I was greeted by the sight of colorful canal boats, barges, hikers, and dog walkers cruising the waterway. Not what you’d expect on a humid Monday afternoon near the Leeds and Liverpool Channel.
Keith Valentine, of Adlington, pulls his canal boat to the side. He loves life on the channel, joked: “It’s like a marmite, you either hate it or love it!” Borskog is so nice that he stayed for 18 months, although the pandemic and lower waterways during hot summer waters have also limited movement, he says.
He says, “I love him.” “I like it because I just finished working, driving a truck, and then I come here and spend some time relaxing. I’ve been here for 18 months, because of the pandemic, we got locked up.”
A stroll through the brick walls lining the canal takes me to the restored industrial-era Borskov Pier where cozy cafes and restaurants are lit up with twinkling lights in the courtyard. Milkie Bar owner Rachel McGregor tells us how the company took off at the height of the pandemic, selling made-to-order milkshakes, pancakes, biscuits, crepes and desserts. She adds, “He went crazy; we took over my father’s factory in the industrial area, and then we found this place in late August 2021.
“Grown; Burscough has never had anything like us. We found it kept growing and growing and we really enjoyed it. Everything we sell and make is made in-house; nothing has been brought in. That’s what we’re proud of. It’s all freshly made to order and people can Choose from the options to prepare a dessert of their choice.
Borsko as a destination is “really beautiful,” she says, adding, “It feels really great – it really feels like family here. When we first opened, we were targeting kids, but now we have all kinds of people, coming in to order Mr. Webby’s ice cream or kids coming in for a bite to eat.” milk shake “.
Down the road at the Queen’s Court Hospice Charity Store, a candlestick-like wedding dress greets you as you walk in and it takes a while to remember that this is not a designer store. Manager Liz Birch agrees that the shop has “nice clothes” and “great support from the locals,” although they are always on the lookout for volunteers.
She tells us: “We have some great support from locals who bring their favorite things beforehand – it’s really amazing in terms of local volunteers and we’re always looking for new volunteers if anyone is interested in that.. If people aren’t sure if it’s for them, I would say, why don’t you just call and take a look to see what you can find?There is new stock coming out every day and we rotate big on stock every week so there are always deals.
Liz, who was a manager of Ormskirk previously, said she was “sad” when that store closed, but is happy to be based in Burscough now, adding, “I was so sad when Ormskirk closed. It was a really tough time. We know tough times with The high cost of living, so giving away their stuff is amazing.People still help out – and that makes a big difference.We have stores in Meols Cop, Formby, Southport and Churchtown, but Burscough is last in West Lancashire;We do all in Our best but these are tough times.”
Dating back to Roman times, Burscough traces its agricultural roots back to the Vikings, with the arrival of an Augustinian monastery in the 12th century, giving its monks the right to a weekly open-air market in neighboring Ormskirk. Unfortunately, the abbey was dissolved during the reign of Henry VIII, with very little left.
However, change followed when the Leeds and Liverpool Canal brought in goods, passengers and coal in the 18th century. An old flour mill looms over the canal, something of a relic of its industrial past, while Burscough Wharf, once a stable and veterinary center for canal boat horses, now hosts retailers and entertainment such as a music school, arts center, yoga, hair salons, and children’s check-up.
Another feature that has long since disappeared is a huge lake in the north, dating back to the Ice Age. In 1579 this extended from Rafford to Mere Brow, Scarisbrick and Tarlscough, but was drained in the 19th century, leaving today Martin Meer. Legend has it that the spot of great beauty, now a wetland nature reserve, was the waters where Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was thrown.
However, some fear that the city could lose its luster, raising concerns about new housing developments as in many of the nearby wonderful rural towns and villages in West Lancashire, saying its population has doubled in recent years. Burscough West Lancashire Council member George Clandon said: ‘Burscough can get really busy in the summer months with a visit to the canoe. The Canal Trail offers plenty of activity, running, walking and fishing to name a few.
“Like many places, it has built its fair share of new homes recently – the population has nearly doubled in a 12-year period.” He says traffic issues are also a problem, adding: “This obviously brings more traffic into the area, as well as utilities and what appears to be endless works on the A59, the main motorway through town.
“The concern for the older generation who are familiar with recent history, is to build homes on green belt lands. People need to find homes but not at the expense of the food we produce.”
But the general consensus among traders and visitors is that Burscough is a destination to be enjoyed. Mason Bernstein, who works at nearby Mersey Vapor, tells us how he enjoys Burscough’s diversity of restaurants and entertainment. The 24-year-old says: ‘I’m from Skem but I’ve been in and out of Burscough a few times;… I absolutely love it and everyone here looks really nice.
“There are a lot of places to eat here, and this is something I personally enjoy, along with all the things going on at Wharf. I still haven’t been to all of them since working here.”
Elizabeth Fletcher, co-owner of Cactus Ray’s Bar and Graze at Burscough Wharf, which offers live music every weekend, told Lancs Live, “We have live music every weekend and we’re excited to support upcoming musicians, talented people in Burscough and beyond. So far. We have some great talent and that’s why we’re getting the attention of the music community across the region.
“We have a lovely intimate environment for special occasions. BBQ is over but we will be serving home made stews, jacket spots, custard and custard… comfort food all winter long. Our motto has been and always will be ‘There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met yet.’”
She runs the family business with hubbie Gary and her son Keale, and adds, “We have a few local musicians who work with us and they always get up on the mic, even the local ukulele band comes in on Thursday nights for jam! Great fun.”
Meanwhile, an activity of a completely different kind is taking place at the thriving family martial arts club in Borskog. Karate, self-defense and family classes are conducted in McKinstry family martial arts The newest martial arts school on Osprey Place, where students are recently taking grading exams.
Senior Instructor Ian McKinstry told Lancs Live, “Karate isn’t just a fun way to freshen up your heart. It’s also a great way to build family bonds, and our martial arts classes provide the perfect opportunity for the whole family to share the many benefits of the Korean style of karate known as Su bak do teaching at our school. .
“It’s very rare to find a family-oriented activity, here at McKinstry Family Martial Arts we specialize in teaching all family classes – all ages and abilities are catered for. Benefits of training together as a family builds a foundation of confidence and fitness, you can set goals and support each other in reaching them. .
“Exercising together as a family not only makes things more interesting, it makes them more appealing overall. Even when you don’t exercise in the same class as your loved one, you still have the same fun and you can compare the experiences.”
West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire County Council have been contacted for comment.
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