Your weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
The Pennine moorlands around Burnley must rate as the most under rated countryside in the UK. Yet as this thrilling ascent of one of the high hills shows the area provides everything a walker desires – a sense of challenge, wide spaces and tremendous views.
Start 1. Walk Mill A646 Burnley Road BB10 4SL
Start 2. Holme Chapel A646 Burnley Road BB10 4SU
Finish: Portsmouth! A646 OL14 8PY
Distance: Start 1: 4 ¾ miles Start 2: 4 miles
Time: Start 1: 2 – 3 hours Start 2: 2 hours
Grade: One strenuous climb to summit of Thieveley Pike and from start 1 add a moderate climb to Dyneley Farm.
Map: OS OL21 South Pennines
The logistics of this walk are best achieved by using the 592 Burnley to Halifax bus service.
Start one: From the edge of Walk Mill go south passing a service station on the right and White House Services on the left. Just before crossing the River Calder turn right onto a driveway which is a public footpath. Follow the drive past houses and into fields towards the railway. Pass under it and then go right to pass through a gate to the right. With a wall on your right keep alongside it as you climb slightly right of a wooded knoll known locally as “The Fireman’s Helmet” but marked on the OS map as Spring Gardens. After a stone squeeze stile arrangement the path crosses a brow and then after passing through a gap descends towards Dyneley Farm. As you reach the edge of the complex go left at first through a gate and then turn right to enter the yard. Cross to the entrance drive on the far side and follow this to a junction with a broad track. Turn left. Now on the Burnley Way follow it for a little under half a mile to its junction with the Pennine Bridleway coming down from the right by Stone House Fold. (Lady Mary Towneley whose tireless efforts helped create the Pennine Bridleway lived in this part of Lancashire). Keep ahead passing a ruined farm into fields. After Scout Farm keep straight and then below Dodbottom Wood go under the railway and soon after reach the junction with the track coming from Holme Chapel.
Start 2. From the Church cross to the Ram Inn and turn right. Just pass a memorial garden with a shelter (built for “the benefit and comfort of the aged” – I think that includes me!) turn left onto a broad track which in ¼ mile arrives at the junction with the Burnley Way coming in from the right.
Whatever start you started with the idea now is to ascend Thieveley Pike (449m 1475ft and steep.) The track passes below two bridges – one practical for the railway the second appears to be ornamental. Continue as the track swings left and then just before the entrance to a farm turn right onto a narrow path that climbs a flight of steps through Buckley Wood. As the path reaches more open ground the views become stunning. To the south east you will see why Cliviger Gorge lives up to its name with the steep sided escarpment running towards Yorkshire. To the north west Pendle stands majestic and timeless above the urban sprawl of Burnley. The path is clearly waymarked as you follow the spur of Dean Scout with a fence to your left. Cross a grassy track on a narrow grassy path and on a less steep approach continue for a further ¼ mile until the trig point comes into sight.
Thieveley Pike is the highest point on the Burnley Way. There will be ignorant people from outside of Lancashire who might scoff at the idea that Burnley might have a long distance path of any merit and certainly not one possessing enchantingly lovely countryside. Well let them continue to scoff and enjoy your moment on top of one of the North’s most under rated hills. From the trig point go left along the fence to cross a stile and the follow the path along a broad moorland ridge. At this time of year and after the wet winter we have endured so far this will be boggy in places and may require bogtrotting or diversion but the way is clear. In ¼ mile go through a gate in a wall and then continue over Heald Moor aiming towards wind turbines on the far side of Green Clough. At the end of the ridge the path turns left and then after a stile pick up a track that will lead you down to the A646 on the edge of Portsmouth – not Hampshire but West Yorkshire. Turn right for the nearest bus stop to take you back to the start.
Point of Interest
“Nobody notices when things go right” might have been the motto of General Scarlett buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Holme Chapel. He led the successful but uncelebrated “Charge of the Heavy Brigade” at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 when his force of 800 cavalrymen thwarted a much larger force of Russian horsemen. Everyone remembers the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade which seemed to epitomise a very tawdry war. Things did not go right for Jerry Dawson the Burnley FC and England goalkeeper in 1914. Having helped his team through to the FA Cup Final days before the match he realised he might be unfit to last 90 minutes so he asked his manager not to play him thus sacrificing his chance of a cup winners medal. His selflessness came to the attention of the FA which awarded him one anyway. At the time this was unprecedented. Jerry is buried not far from General Scarlett.
- Walk checked by Andy Walker and Joe Brennand of Norwest Fellwalking Club.