The Hornby Road

 

The Hornby Road has been described as the finest moorland track in the north of England, Once on it you might find it hard to disagree. It is a very ancient route linking the West Riding of Yorkshire with the Lune Valley. The Romans laid a road across the empty moors and for centuries after it was a well used thoroughfare. In 1612 the so called Witches of Pendle were taken to Lancaster for trial by way of the Hornby Road. (There is an excellent long distance path that follows the route of their final journey). With modern roads providing alternative routes the Hornby Road has remained a track – but a wonderful one to walk on and enjoy. 

 

Start: Slaidburn War memorial BB7 3EP

 


Finish: Either in Wray LA2 8QF or Hornby LA2 8JR. 
Obviously as a linear route a plan is needed or at least kind friends or relatives to drop you off and pick you up at each end of the route. There are regular buses from Wray and Hornby to Lancaster. 

Distance: 14 miles 23k to Wray 15 miles 25k  to Hornby 

Time: 6 - 8 hours

Grade: Strenuous

Map: OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland

 

Map by kind permission of Johnston Press
 

Directions:  

1. From the War memorial walk up Chapel Street and into Town End passing Hark to Bounty inn on the right.

 

Continue on the lane through the last of the houses. 

 

2. After a mile now on Woodhouse Lane turn right at the junction with Back Lane.

 

Keep on the lane as it leads you past farm houses and then the substantial farmstead at Higher Wood House and begins to climb towards the high fells.

 

1 ½ miles from the junction with Back Lane reach the point beyond which motor vehicles are prohibited.

 

Through a gate bear right at a signpost on the North Lancashire Bridleway. At this point there is a recently placed memorial to all the wartime aircrews who lost their lives in plane crashes in this area.

 

Put away the map. It is no longer needed. Stay on this track and do not stray from it until you arrive in Roeburndale 7 ½  miles away about 3 hours at normal walking speed. Between the two points enjoy one of the finest moorland tracks this country has to offer. 500yds after leaving tarmac the track swings left on a shelf overlooking Croasdale Valley.

 

After dipping down to cross New Bridge the track climbs up to Croasdale Fell. On the skyline a white object turns out to be a memorial stone to one of the so called Lancashire Witches placed there as part of the 400th anniversary in 2012.

 

For the 10 women and 2 men hauled to Lancaster for trial and execution this must have been a way of tears.

 

As you reach a fence line crossing the track below White Hill you have attained the highest point of the route. Ahead the way is clear as the track rolls out before you. Half a mile further on a marker post

 

indicates the footpath descending to Whitendale on the left. Also to the left and becoming more prominent as the walk progresses looms the great massif of Wolfhole Crag and Ward's Stone the latter being the highest point in the Forest of Bowland (561m or 1840ft). On and on the Hornby Road continues high above the infant River Roeburn. After passing the junction with a shooters track

 

leading down left across the river and up to the col between Wolf Stone Crag and Ward's Stone the track climbs to rock strewn Addlestone Bank before commencing a gentle descent to High Salter. To the right fine views open out of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. A wall on the right

 

seems to presage civilisation but not immediately. A further half mile on the track arrives at High Salter Farm and tarmac. 

 

3. There is a footpath that avoids the road to the east of the River Roeburn by way of Harterbeck and Outhwaite but at the end of a long traverse through the heart of Bowland let's keep things simple. The lane from High Salter

 

drops past Middle Salter and then surprise surprise Lower Salter

 

to come to Barkin Bridge.

 

Then comes the sting in the tail - a climb over a spur of Whit Moor before the final descent to the Lune Valley.

4. At the road junction comes the moment of decision whether to continue to Hornby 1 ½ miles further on or turn right for Wray nearer by ½ a mile. 

 

 

For information check out www.thependlewitchesway.co.uk 

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