Storm Christoph causes massive landslide near one of Lancashire's most historic churches

A huge landslide has taken place in woods next to St Mary's Church in Penwortham.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 3:45 pm

Vicar Chris Nelson was alerted to the problem by a local resident, trying to take his dog for a walk in Church Woods, off Church Avenue.

"It's like something you'd see in a film", said Rev Nelson.

"There's trees down, steps of the path have gone and the ground is still very unstable. My main concern is that there's a public right of way through the woods and it's dangerous.

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The landslip has wrecked a path leading downhill to the woods

"It's also only a few metres away from the road and the edges could fall away quite easily."

The woods, which belongs to the Grade II-listed church, are on a steep gradient down to the side of the A59 leading into Preston and over the River Ribble.

Steps leading downhill have been loosened and in some places moved around 15cm by the landslip, which Rev Nelson believes was caused by heavy rainfall as part of Storm Christoph.

He added: "In terms of rectifying it, there's nothing much you can do about a landslide, but the council has been contacted and we will take it from there."

Scene of a landslip off Church Avenue, Penwortham

He said that the last major landslide in the area took place around 100 years ago, and threatened the church building. After that, stone walls were put in place to strengthen the area.

The latest landslip has not affected the church building.

Workmen from South Ribble Borough Council already at the church, working on footpath renewal, said they had been instructed to fence off the landslip area and footpath while the land can be assessed.

Trees have been felled by the landslip
The footpath leading down to Church Woods from Church Avenue.