Distance: 5 ½ Miles (8.8 Kilometres)
Above Rishton and Great Harwood there is some excellent walking countryside with far-reaching views. This walk starts from Rishton and visits the lovely area around Dean clough Reservoir where once again there is an abundance of bird and animal life.
- START: Rishton at the canal bridge on the Great Harwood Road, near Norden School.
A detailed map of the walk can be found at the bottom of this page.
Walking in the direction of Great Harwood, cross the canal bridge and turn left, descending to join the towpath. Walk along the towpath towards Blackburn, the industrial fringes of which you can see on the skyline ahead of you at Whitebirk.
Continue as far as the first bridge, go under it and turn immediately right to go through an iron gate and onto a track. Turn left and head towards the farm of Lower Cunliffe with a distinctive large mound in the field directly behind it. If you do this walk in spring or summer you will probably be accompanied by lapwings on this section.
Follow the track as it meanders towards the farm, crossing the course of an old disused railway. Keep to the left of the farm buildings, passing the last building on the left to enter a field and to shortly go over a stile. Over the stile, turn immediately right and walk behind the farm buildings to go over a stile by a metal gate. Walk ahead on this track only as far as the end of the buildings on your right and at a stream which flows down from the hillside to disappear under the track, turn left and head uphill following the course of the tree-lined stream which is now on your right. You will pass the huge grass-covered mound of earth that you saw earlier.
Continue uphill. A look behind you now will reveal many of the towns of Hyndburn with the slopes of Great Hameldon and Oswaldtwistle Moor rising above them.
Rishton Reservoir is the area of water you can see in the foreground. Follow the line of the stream to eventually pass a telegraph pole and go over a stile in a boggy overgrown section in the top corner of the field. Head towards the right hand of buildings you can see ahead - Tan House - passing a couple of oddly placed boulders as you follow the line of telegraph wires to go through a squeeze stile in the stone wall to the right of the buildings in the top corner of the field.
Continue ahead between a breezeblock style shed and a stone wall to shortly go through another stile, following the stone wall on your left (which very soon becomes a fence). Take time to look behind you at the extensive views of East Lancashire. Go over another stile and cross this field, heading towards the left hand side of buildings you can see across the field, crossing another stile and taking the short path which leads you down to the road.
Walk downhill, past the front of the Shepherd’s Rest Pub (formerly The New Inns), following the road round to the right when it forks. Take care along this busy road. Over to the left as you proceed along this road is Parsonage Reservoir. The road begins to dip and ignore the first public footpath sign to Great Harwood which you pass but keep on ahead as the road begins to rise again. Look over to your right and you will see Dean clough Reservoir, our next destination, with Pendle rising majestically beyond.
Carry on uphill to a sign on the right which merely says ‘Bridlepath’ and go through a wooden gate onto a well-defined grassy track and proceed along this track with the reservoirs now down to your right in the valley.
This area is popular with walkers and ornithologists alike. The scenery around here belies its close proximity to the towns of Hyndburn - from here all you can see is countryside and the birdlife in the vicinity is varied and plentiful. Moorhens, coots and grebes are just some of the birds which the area plays host to.
The path slowly descends to pass a wood on your left, with fantastic views of the countryside directly ahead. Past the wood the track continues clearly eventually picking up the line of a broken stone wall.
This brings us out eventually at a wooden gate. Through the gate turn right and head downhill to shortly go through another gate onto a track that leads us along the edge of the reservoir. At the end of the track turn right and head towards a conifer plantation, going through two kissing gates in fairly quick succession. Walk along the path which follows the edge of the plantation uphill, the reservoir now just a short distance over to the right.
The path climbs steadily with the conifer plantation over to the left to bring you out at Blackburn Old Road. Cross over the road and turn right. Take the first track on the left. Continue through a gateway by a house, turn immediately right to go over a wooden stile and walk along the top of this field by a stonewall with good views down to your left. Go over another stile in the same direction but just before reaching the next gate turn left and follow the line of a fence downhill. Over another stile continue downhill to cross a stile in the bottom right hand corner of the field.
Head uphill keeping to the right of a line of telegraph poles. You will shortly reach a stile that brings you out onto the Wilpshire road by a bench.
This is an area of great geological interest. Close by are the sites of former quarries that have been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest - S. S.S. I.. Good examples of rock strata can be seen in them and even the fossilised remains of the roots of a tree in Harper Clough (Star Delph) Quarry.
Turn right on the road and head uphill, going over a stile over on the left by a Public Footpath sign when the road bends round to the right.
Follow the line of a stonewall across a field with a scanty narrow wood over the wall to the left. At the end of the wall turn left to go through an iron gate and initially onto a grassy track, following the line of the stone wall on your right downhill towards the buildings of Dunscar Farm.
At the farm turn right through a gate and almost immediately left downhill to pick up and exit by a farm track which leads to Lower Cunliffe, the farm you passed earlier on the walk. (Indeed if you look up the hillside as you progress along the track you will see the huge grass-covered mound).
Continue past the back of the farm buildings of Lower Cunliffe to reach the stile you traversed earlier. Over the stile follow the track back down to the canal and retrace your steps along the towpath to Rishton and the beginning of the walk.