Pendle Hill from the Nick
With Halloween approaching it is difficult not to think about Pendle Hill – home of the Lancashire Witches. By far the most popular route to the summit is from Barley; a route so well trodden that you could do it in the dark; which is what many people do on Halloween. Less popular by very rewarding is to set out from the Nick of Pendle, 300m above sea level.
Start: Nick of Pendle highest point on the road connecting Sabden to the A59. From Junction 31 of the M6 take the A59 towards Clitheroe. As you approach the town take a road on the right signposted for Sabden. The car park will appear on the right in two miles.
Factfile: Distance: 14k 8 ½ miles
Time: 3 ½ - 4 ½ miles
Summary: Most definitely a walk in two halves. First half a fine uncomplicated moorland yomp. The second half a walk through a succession of farms along the northern flank of the hill. After Mearley Hall there is a stiff climb back to your vehicle.
Map by kind permission of the Blackpool Gazette
Description: Opposite the car park take a track that soon puts you on the ridge.
Keep on the track as it crosses Pendleton Moor.
The way ahead is clear and little by the way of feature to distract you apart from the odd sheep. Underfoot the track becomes less obvious as you proceed. When in doubt take the line that keeps you close to the highest point of the ridge. After Mearley Moor the way begins to drop towards the upper reach of Ogden Clough coming in from the right. At a broken wall coming in from the left 2 ½ k (40 mins) from the start turn left.
Follow the wall over the brow of the ridge to reach a boggy track that follows the edge of the escarpment. Turn right aiming for a prominent crafted cairn ahead. This is Scouts' Cairn built to commemorate the service of a local scout leader.
Continue along the escarpment passing a stone shelter to reach a ladder stile over a wall.
Cross this and continue for a further 15 mins to a second ladder stile.
The track beyond this leads up to the summit and its trig point 557m above sea level.
The views from Pendle are superb and you may spend some time there picking out features and places near and far. Once done walk north along the escarpment towards the wall you crossed earlier. Turn right and descend a short distance to the point where the steep stepped path comes up from Barley. Here there is a stone stile with a marker indicating Downham.
Cross the stile and commence a long descent towards the village. When the track reaches the bottom of the escarpment it crosses a stretch of boggy ground to a fence.
Keep ahead to drop through pasture to a lane.
Turn left. 200m further on, turn left onto a concession path signposted to Hookcliffe.
The main now is to walk along the flank of Pendle. For the most part the route is waymarked as you pass through or by a succession of farms. In about 15 minutes you reach the first of these - Hookcliffe. Keep ahead past the farm to join a substantial track leading towards Barkerfield. Before you reach the farm bear left on a grassy track
that will bring you to Moorside crossing a brook to enter a farmyard.
Bear right and follow the farm drive to a junction just past a cattle grid.
Here turn left onto a footpath that crosses a field and skirts Angram Green with its rather fine house.
The path continues with a fence on your right.
Cross into the next field and turn right over a wooden stile (or through a gap as the fence here was in a ruined state when the route was checked).
Turn left and with the hedge on your left walk to the corner of the field.
Walk diagonally left in the next field to arrive at a gate.
Keep ahead past a wood come to Little Mearley Hall. Here the right of way is not clear. Walk alongside a long barn passing through side gates to an enclosed yard.
After a metal gate turn right onto the drive.
After 100m turn left onto a track that leads across to Lane Side approximately 500m further on. From Lane Side the route takes a farm road through a farm close to Mearley Hall. Just beyond these cross a cattle grid and then look for a waymark sign on the left.
The way now is most definitely up to return to the car park. The footpath climbs at first with a fence on the right.
On entering a large pasture aim for the ruin of a large barn on the skyline.
Keep to the left of this to locate a ladder stile over a wall behind it. The route now crosses rough moorland and then dips to a footbridge beneath Howcroft Barn.
Across the stream turn left to keep to the outside of a wall which you follow towards the road. Keep ahead after the corner of the wall and in 200m reach the road.
Turn left for the car park.