The Three Fishes - Great Mitton
The Ribble Valley is another part of Lancashire that is almost unknown by people living outside of the county. In its middle section it is dominated by the huge bulk of Pendle Hill. This short walk will introduce you to a lovely reach of the river with the great hill as a backdrop returning by quiet meadows with scattered woods.
Start/finish: Close to the Three Fishes Inn, Great Mitton, opposite Church Lane.
Distance: 6½ k 4½ miles
Time: 1½ - 2½ hours
Summary: Flat and easy with a short climb away from the river at Edisford Bridge. After Edisford Bridge there is a road section of 1 kilometre (1,000 yards) Readers are advised to walk on the right facing oncoming traffic.
Map: OS OL 41 The Forest of Bowland.
Map by kind permission of the Blackpool Gazette
Directions. With the Three Fishes on your right walk slightly down hill passing the church opposite and the Old Hall.
Both church and hall have histories stretching back to antiquity. The road leads down to Mitton Bridge which crosses the River Ribble. From it there is a delightful view of the river.
Cross the bridge passing the Aspinall Arms pub and then turn left through a wooden kissing gate.
Close to this spot there is a sign showing that from the start of the walk you have been on the Ribble Way.
This seventy mile Long Distance Path follows the Ribble from its source in the Yorkshire Dales to its estuary near Longton to the west of Preston.
Of all the major rivers that have their source in the Yorkshire Dales the Ribble is the only one to flow west.
The footpath follows a fence on the left and soon offers a splendid view of the church and hall across the river.
Follow the field boundary as it leads gently uphill to a stile in a wooden fence.
Over this bear left and then after a kissing gate
enter a large riverside pasture. Beyond a small service building join as riverside track leading up to a utility bridge spanning the river.
Here continue through a wooden gate
on a track that soon brings you to Shuttleworth Farm.
After passing outbuildings on the right go through a kissing gate
to diagonally cross a small meadow to a second kissing gate in its far corner. Turn left onto the farm road.
This quiet lane briefly separates you from the river in 500 metres. After the river bends away
keep ahead for another 500 metres to reach a junction immediately beyond woods on the left.
Here turn left and the right onto a track a short distance from the junction. Almost immediately go through the kissing gate
that leads to an enclosed path. This soon reunites you with the river.
The path passes close to a camping and caravanning site to enter the Riverside Park before Edisford Bridge. This is an attractive and popular amenity especially in the summer.
Keep ahead through the playground
and car park to join Edisford Road (B6243).
There is no pavement over the bridge to be aware of traffic advice all the harder to follow if admiring the charming riverscape on both sides of the bridge. Now keep firmly to the right side of the road as it climbs up past the Edisford Bridge Inn.
Keep on the main road past the junction for Balshall
and continue for another 800 metres. The prominent height to the right is Longridge Fell. Where the road bends sharply right cross to the drive of a farm.
Turn right onto a farm road. After crossing a stile next to a metal gate
continue on the tarmac to the next gate. After this bear slightly right to cross a stile leading into a large field.
Follow the hedge to your left as its leads you across fields by a series of wooden stiles.
After the way crosses a culvert the next stile leads into a vast field.
Keeping parallel to the hedge on the left begin to cross this
and then a short distance beyond a small enclosed pond
turn left over a stile
onto a narrow path known as Malkin Lane. After the vast open fields Malkin Lane is very much enclosed.
Keep on it for 300 metres until it brings you onto a quiet lane opposite a house.
This is in fact Church Lane. Turn left and you'll soon arrive in Great Mitton.