Walks: Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill.
Pendle Hill.

We have said before that we consider it almost a sacred duty for every fit and abled body Lancastrian to climb Pendle Hill. For those of you familiar with the main tourist routes from Barley and the Nick, here’s an interesting variation from Downham, one of Lancashire’s most attractive villages.

1. The first part of the route is the most intricate. From the car park turn right onto the lane and immediately turn right onto a footpath indicated by a sign post.

This leads across fields towards the distinctive hump of Worsaw Hill and the village of Worston.

After passing Longlands Wood on the right the path enters a broad field through a squeeze stile. Keep ahead to a corner in the hedgerow opposite and then continue to a squeeze stile by a gate.

Through this with a hedge now on the left walk to a kissing gate. Once through, drop to a grassy track to the left that leads past a field barn to arrive at a lane.

Turn right and then follow the lane as it bends sharply left. At the next bend keep ahead onto a lane marked as a no through road. Keep ahead as this lane downgrades itself into a rough track as it climbs to a kissing gate leading out onto the fellside.

2. From this point wayfinding becomes easier but the walking considerably more strenuous – at least until to reach the summit plateau.

Follow the waymarked path at first directly ahead and then bearing right to cross Burst Clough. On reaching a wall turn left and follow it upwards over Worston Moor.

After a wall corner bear right on a well-marked groove to ascend up the steep flank to reach the summit plateau south west of Scout Cairn.

From Scout Cairn a broad path continues to a well-built stone shelter (ideal for a refreshment break) and then a wall crossed by a tall ladder stile.

In another half-mile you may experience déjà vu with another wall and tall ladder stile to cross before completing the trek to the trig point.

3. This is a wonderful place to be in clear weather. The view takes in a great chunk of Lancashire with a fair bit of top for good measure. After savouring all this turn back towards the wall recently crossed but bear right on a path that leads to a stone stile at the top of the tourist path coming up from Barley.

Cross the stile and almost immediately begin the descent towards Downham. The path crosses the north facing slope completing the descent with a hairpin to reach the broad shelf of Downham Moor. The way continues straight to a wooden gate and keeps ahead to a ladder stile over a wall. With a gully to the left follow the path down to cross a stile a short distance above a lane.

4. After the drama of the wild summit plateau the walk ends with a pastoral idyll on its final stage to the village. Go straight across the road to pick up a path that drops to a gully.

After a wooden stile climb left to a stone barn – nearby benches making this another ideal refreshment stop.

Cross the wall in front of the barn and gently drop on a path that skirts a long field on its right hand side. After a farm drive the path becomes more distinctive; when it reaches Downham Beck it becomes less obvious.

Don’t cross the beck but bear left and follow it back to the village.

Points of interest: Scout Cairn. This landmark, clearly identifiable from the Clitheroe side of Pendle, was built to commemorate 75th Anniversary of the Scouting Movement in 1982.

Last year an additional plaque was unveiled to mark the centenary of the Clitheroe and District Scout group.

No other movement has been more influential in introducing millions of young people world-wide to the pleasures of outdoor activities. In Lancashire there is a strong tradition of scouting.