50th Anniversary walk 2- Downham to Newton in Bowland via Sawley, Grindleton & Slaidburn

Walk Leader: Neil Harwood

Number on walk: 22

Distance: 12.0 miles

Weather: A beautifully warm and sunny day to begin with but clouding over from mid-day onwards but still very pleasant especially on the climbs!

From the car park in Newton we took the coach to the start of the day in the lovely village of Downham, one of the best in Lancashire. The local Lord, who lives in the village, is very strict about development including for instance no TV aerials or Satellite dishes so the village is quite un spoilt and very well maintained by the residents.

The first section of the day is a pleasant walk to the village of Sawley on the River Ribble with the remains of a Cistercian Abbey. On the way we pass over a main roman road and the monks bridge, which was probably built by the monks to link the abbey to this long forgotten highway.

A short section along the Ribble and then a stretch of road, but still pleasant takes us to our next stop of Gindleton with its Heritage Trail. More interesting properties including the old bakers and cobblers. Up through the village and past White Hall and then we begin our climb out of the Ribble valley via Gindleton and Easington Fell. Part way up we catch our breath and some sun whilst we take lunch.

At the top we say goodbye to Pendle Hill, which has been a permanent fixture of the walk so far, and begin our decent into the Hodder Valley with its backdrop of the Bowland Fells. Whilst not as well known as the Ribble Valley, its seclusion makes it all the better for me. Next stop is Slaidburn, a favourite of many of us, set by the River Hodder. No opportunity to visit the village today as we set off down the river for our final couple of miles back to Newton. A lovely day and possibly Lancashire at its best.

Photos of the day can be seen 'here'