Alternative Stage 24 of the Lancashire Way

Walk Leader: Neil Harwood

Number on Walk: 6

Distance: 18 miles

Weather: Decent walking weather with some sun from time to time

The original Stage 24 of the Lancashire Way from Slaidburn to Dunsop Bridge takes a route via Croasdale House up to the Hornby Road and then over Croasdale Fell before dropping down to Dunsop bridge via Whitendale. However, the path just beyond Croasdale House is a poor one and it is a bit of trudge up the Hornby Road. So, I set about creating an alternative route incorporating the often beautiful Stocks Reservoir, Gisburn Forest and a visit to the very northern parts of the Bowland Fells that were missing from the current route. My aim was also to include White Hill, which at 544m is one of seven summits above 500m in Lancashire and the only one not visited by the Lancashire Way – a notable omission.

My five willing volunteers to test the route arrived at Slaidburn for the start at 9am. After the obligatory group photo at the wonderful War Memorial we headed north to the Stocks Reservoir via Hammerton Hall. From there we followed the Stocks Circular Path up the eastern side of the reservoir as far as New House – not so new anymore! On the way I discovered my pay and display ticket in my pocket – what would be waiting for me when I got back to the car. Try to forget about it, I said to myself!

It is then a little used path up hill to Pike Side before taking the good track to the road at the Bowland Knotts. This was my scheduled lunch stop but we were already about an hour ahead of schedule after just two and a half hours walking. So, we pressed on heading west along the Lancashire/Yorkshire Border for another mile and a half and had lunch at Ravens Castle, which at 486m was the second highest point of the day and is one of nineteen “Bowland 1500” peaks. The views were stunning both north and south but especially north with the Three Peaks of Yorkshire very prominent.

Ten minutes after lunch it was over a stile back into Lancashire, as we had been just on the wrong side of the boundary for the last two miles, and down to the remains of the Cross of Greet. Next stop was White Hill, our ultimate destination. Whilst it is a bit of a climb up to 544m, it is quite a manageable gradient and with all the recent dry weather it was much better under foot than I had advertised. A quick talk about the three “Towers” and views across to Morecambe Bay, it was down to the Hornby Road, where we joined back up with the original Stage 24 of the Lancashire Way. Our journey was not now on to Dunsop Bridge but we started our return to Slaidburn via the original Stage. Croasdale Fell is always beautiful in my mind but the doggy path before Croasdale House did not disappoint especially as I decided to cross Croasdale Beck without the use of the bridge!

The final stretch back to Slaidburn is a lovely section as we are now back down to the fertile fields in the valley created by the underlying limestone geology. We were back by four o’clock, an hour ahead of my most optimistic finish time, and best of all no parking ticket!

For full details of the route click HERE -