Towneley Park

Last summer the Guardian newspaper published an article comparing the housing market in Kensington London and Burnley Lancashire. You can see where this is going – Kensington was the most expensive area in the country and Burnley the cheapest. Yet the housing market in Burnley was buoyant thanks to its pool of affordable housing for first time buyers and a recently reopened train link to Manchester making it an ideal base for commuters. I have long advocated it as a centre for walking. From just about anywhere in the town the countryside is only a short distance away and good quality countryside at that as this walk from Towneley Park shows.

Start: Towneley Park, Burnley Riverside (Pay & Display) car park BB11 3RQ


Fact File:

Distance: 6 ½ miles


Time: 3 ½ - 4 ½ hours

Grade: Moderate. There is a long and steady ascent to the Causeway and a shorter one after Holme Chapel.


Map: OS OL21 The South Pennines.


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


1. First time visitors must allow time to explore Towneley Hall and grounds. With that out of the way starting at the rotunda toilet block go left and cross the stone bridge across the River Calder heading in the direction of the Hall.


After 100yds turn left on a pathway that passes playing fields to reach a gate dividing the more formal park and a broad expanse of pastureland.


Keep ahead to leave the park to enter a residential area along Park Road.


Immediately after crossing the River Calder again turn left on what becomes a drive leading to Barcroft Hall.


Keep to the left of the hall crossing a stile with two waymarks. Keep right following a grassy path that climbs past the corner of the property and continues for the next half mile on a steady climb uphill. After a wooden stile near a wall junction


continue with a wall to the left. Go through a gate and with a wall to your right cross a step stile in the wall still climbing to reach a ladder stile.


After this pass through a squeeze stile and on reaching a wooden gate turn right over a stile to follow a broad grassy track to arrive on Red Lees Road in front of the Kettledrum Inn.


2. The Inn is named after the 1861 Derby winner which was owned by Charles Towneley. Given this local connection the horse was hugely backed by the townspeople of Burnley as indeed by his patron who used his winnings to build the catholic chapel of St Hubert's in Dunsop Bridge. Turn right and after passing Nino's (Formerly the Fighting Cocks) turn left between Nino's and a neighbouring property


to reach School Lane. Turn right and follow School Lane as it passes a very contemporary building


on the corner and bends left to reach the Long Causeway. Turn right and then turn left onto a farm drive


in the direction of a cattery. As you reach Near Pasture Farm keep ahead passing the buildings on the left to join a path leading through rough pasture


to a small gate next to a metal wire gate. Now in rough moorland keep ahead aiming towards an electricity pylon. After passing beneath the cables continue for almost 200yds and then turn right through a wooden gate


at the corner of an enclosure. The path beyond leads through Far Pasture Farm and onto its drive.


Go through a wooden gate on the right and follow the field boundary to arrive once more on the Long Causeway close to Causeway House.


3. Turn left. In 100yds turn right onto a broad drive leading towards a riding centre. Before reaching it turn right through a pair of gates


crossing rough pasture to reach a track leading down to Merrill Head.


Keep right and then turn left on a track that edges to the far side going left.


Keep on the path when it swings right to reach a sign-post on an enclosed track. Turn left on the track that heads downhill


into the Cliviger Gorge. In a little under half a mile turn right onto a farm track leading slightly uphill towards Helley Platt Farm.


In 50 yds turn left over an awkward stile - that is just a wooden slatted fence and descend on a grassing path crossing a gully


and then continuing behind properties to reach a leafy corner. Cross a stile and follow the enclosed path downhill to reach the A646 Burnley Road on the edge of Cliviger.


4. Cross to a farm drive


and follow it towards buildings. Just as you reach them turn right on a grassy path leading across three fields to a cluster of buildings. Turn left just past these to go beneath the railway.


On the far side cross a stile to the left of a metal gate following a path through marshy ground to a waymark at a gap in the fence. Now bear right to a stile in a wall


close to an enclosed wood called locally the Fireman's Helmet. Over the wall the path descends traversing a large field


to bring you back to the railway. After joining a track pass once more under a bridge


and descend


to the A646. When you reach it turn right and then left into Park Road to return to Towneley Park.