50th Anniversary walk- Hurst Green to Downham via Whalley & Pendle Hill

Tuesday 31 May 2022         LDWA 50th ANNIVERSARY WALK DAY 1



Walk Leader – Neil Harwood

Number on walk – 18

Distance – 13.5 miles

Weather – some sunny spells but largely overcast and some heavy and prolonged downpours including hail.


From the meeting point in Downham we took our coach to the start in Hurst Green, a very pleasant journey through the Lancashire countryside. With a poor weather forecast, perhaps we should have just hired a coach for the day to complete the 50 mile journey that we were about to embark upon?

The day begins with a decent to the River Ribble and over the relatively new and impressive footbridge that replaced the old suspension bridge, a favourite of many of us. We then have to head away from the river through pretty fields, which were at that point bathed in sunshine. Then it is down to Dinckley Brook and up and around the perimeter of Brockhall village, which was once the site of a large mental hospital. It is now more famous for housing the training ground of Blackburn Rovers and we pass their Academy. We then head down through Hacking Wood, which brings us back to the Ribble. We are all quite familiar with the path on the opposite bank but are rarely on this side. A quick refreshment stop at the confluence of the Ribble and Calder, before passing Hacking Hall and on to a quick road section.

A few more fields including a crossing of the A59 and we find ourselves in Whalley. Over the Calder, under the railway arches, through the Gateway and past the Abbey to the centre of this pretty small town. We decide to stop and have lunch. There are a few raindrops as we finish and the sun has disappeared.

Onward up to Spring Wood where we leave Whalley and begin our climb up to the summit of Pendle Hill via the Nick of Pendle. This section has an ascent of almost 1,600ft, but with it being 5.5 miles it is largely a gradual ascent. No it is not I hear you say! Not far on from the start of this section the heavens open and we all scramble to put on our waterproofs and then shelter under trees until the short storm passes. When we get to the Nick another torrential storm hits us but by this point most of us have given up on trying to remain dry. The section from the Nick to Ogden Clough demonstrated the vagaries of the weather that day. To our left the Ribble valley was bathed in sunshine whilst to the east you could hardly see a thing as the rain swept through East Lancashire.

We managed to miss most of the rain for the rest of the day and the views from the trig point on the summit are as magnificent as they often are when you are not in cloud. A short stop at the nearby shelter and then it is the steep decent back into Downham, one of the prettiest villages in Lancashire. End of day 1, dominated by the weather. A shame but that is part of being in the LDWA!


Photos can be seen 'here'