Walks Hike: Barley to Downham over Pendle Hill

Hike: Barley to Downham over Pendle Hill

— Route provided by the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – see all routes

  • From the bus shelter walk up through the village past Barley Mow restaurant and Meadow Bank Farm to where a path, signed the Pendle Way (look for yellow witch logo), leads off to the left. This follows a shallow valley over two footbridges, turn left onto the tarmacced lane.
  • Continue up the lane past a white house, Ings End, and go right at the fork, then right again behind the house on what starts as a cobbled way. Keep following Pendle Hill Circular Walk signs, now following the stream and fence uphill to Brown House. Follow the clear waymarked path right towards Ing Head Farm, then sharp left after 20 metres through a gate.
  • A steady climb now accross an open field, bearing right up and alongside a fence towards another farm, Pendle House. The path goes round and behind the farm before joining a steep cobbled way, through a kissing gate. To avoid the steps, look for the left hand side track which zigzags up the hillside, before heading southwards, climbing steeply up the shoulder of the hill. This is a long, tough ascent, so take your time to enjoy increasingly rewarding views!
  • When you reach the top of the ascent, follow the path to your right, leading towards the summit.
  • This is the summit of Pendle Hill, known as Pendle Beacon – one of a chain of beacons, which in medieval and tudor times was used to carry messgaes of great events, most famously the arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588. If you are lucky enough to be on the summit on a clear day, you will enjoy a magnificent panorama of the hills across Craven and into the Yorkshire Dales. Pendle Hill also features in many of the stories and legends of the Lancashire witches and the notorious show trials that took place in the 17th Century. Continue directly ahead to a kissing gate.
  • Cross through the kissing gate and remain heading in the same direction over open moorland. Care is needed as you cross the brow of the hill, meeting another path, which comes in from the right before descending to a waymarked post.
  • The path now curves right and then left in an S-shape, following what appears to be an old peat cutters’ sledge track. This finally turns sharp right and crosses a low, boggy area, gradually descending Downham Moor. This is all across public access land (permissive path) – the path crosses two stiles and then through a kissing gate onto the road to Downham at Lane Head.
  • The route into Downham is a pleasant, easy to follow public right of way. Go through another kissing gate directly ahead across the lane, which leads to a gravel path through trees. Ignore the tall guidepost ahead and bear left across a little gully, then over a stile on the right. This leads into a long field. The path initially runs downhill alongside a narrow plantation to a stone stile. Cross the stone stile and continue down hill keeping the plantation to your right until you reach a farm track.
  • To the west of Clay House Farm cross the farm track, then stile/kissing gate, then a gravel track by trees to a footbridge, then field path. After more stiles and gates it bears left to emerge at a kissing gate on to a narrow lane. Once through the kissing gate turn left until you meet the road. Turn right then bear right over the bridge and head uphill towards the church, just below which, by the telephone box and bench, is the bus stop.