This is a walk of contrasts, visiting three of Hyndburn’s towns and one of its quietest hamlets, the ancient settlement of Tottleworth.
The coinciding map of the walk can be found at the bottom of the page.
- START: Forts Arms, Rishton Road, Clayton-le-Moors, near Mercer Park.
- Total Distance: 4 ½ Miles (7.2 Kilometres)
- Parking: Parking is allowed on the street.
From the pub, walk down Rishton Road, with Mercer Park on your left. Pass a children’s playground towards the end and when the tarmac ends carry on in the same direction along a track as views towards Great Harwood open up over the fields to the right.
When the track bends round to the right towards a farm do not follow it but keep on ahead in the same direction to go over a stile into a field. The views ahead are of Rishton. Follow a well worn path with a high wooden fence on your left initially. The Hyndburn Brook (from which the borough takes its name) is down the field to your right.
Keep ahead following the line of the fence. Cross a well-constructed wooden footbridge and descend to join the main road the A678 between Clayton-le-Moors and Rishton. (Clayton-le-Moors = ‘Moorland town on clay soil’. Rishton = Place of rushes’). The house by Holt Mill Bridge here used to be a pub called The Petre Arms.
Cross the road with care to go down a track on the opposite side marked by a public footpath sign after several yards. The Hyndburn Brook is now close over to the right, with the grounds of the Dunkenhalgh on the left. With a history going back as far as the 13th century, the present building of the Dunkenhalgh is an impressive structure dating from the early 1800s and is now run as a hotel. It is surrounded by beautiful parkland, known in the past as ‘Dunklaw’, which even claims to have its own ghost! There are some excellent examples of oak, lime and beech trees here.
Follow the track, going over the river by a concrete bridge, over a stile by an iron gate and pass under the M65 motorway.
The track swings round to the left and soon passes Plowtalgh Farm buildings (another site with an ancient history and having a commanding view of the surrounding countryside). Follow the track round to the right when it joins up with the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
(A short way over the bridge ahead - not on our route but worth a detour - is the Parish Church of St. James, Church Kirk, whose origins can be traced back as far as the seventh century. The tower of the present church is thought to date from the 13th century).
On reaching Church Kirk Bridge, do not go over it but instead turn right to pass a farm building. Go over a stile and onto a track. Great Harwood is over to the far right and Rishton ahead and to the right. Continue on the track to go over a stile and carry on towards a bridge over the canal. On reaching the canal, turn right along the towpath and head towards Rishton, crossing over the M65 motorway via an aqueduct.
As you approach Rishton, look out for the Dunkenhalgh Hotel poking out through the trees in the distance over to your right.
Continue along the canal passing under the bridge which carries the main road (A678) through the busy town of Rishton and at the next bridge (No 108) leave the towpath and go down a track to the right, now with Pendle ahead of you, and follow the track down to Tottleworth. The track becomes quite enclosed. At the bottom of the track turn right and walk uphill to the ancient and delightful hamlet of Tottleworth.
Anglo-Saxon in origin, this little settlement is tucked away in a quiet corner of Hyndburn and has some fine old buildings, mostly eighteenth century, although Manor House Farm is seventeenth century. This hamlet is definitely a place to linger for a while.
When your reach a short cobbled section of the track and a letter box, take the second turning on the left to go between buildings and approach the far end of the farmyard.
At the time of writing, the right of way from the farm as shown on the OS Map was difficult to find. However, it seems likely to be re-established and clearly way marked in the near future, at which time it should of course be used. In the meantime, a detour until a correct route has been established goes over a stile at the end of the farmyard by a wooden gate (just beyond a large tree) onto a track. Walk to the end, taking the left one of two metal gates. Follow the line of a wire fence on the right and when it bends sharply to the right, make for the left hand edge of a small wood (Fiddler’s Wood) ahead of you, now rejoining the public footpath.
Pass two redundant wooden gateposts and descend by a dear path to reach a stile by a gate, joining the well-laid track that connects Clayton and Great Harwood. Turn right.
Go over a bridge over Hyndburn Brook and several yards past this take a narrow cobbled path that leads uphill between a building and a stone wall.
At the top, ignore a track that goes off to the right and walk up Lower Barnes Street on the left that leads you back to the Forts Arms Pub.