with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
It is now widely acknowledged that the countryside around Hurst Green was the inspiration for the Shire, home of hobbits in JRR Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy ‘Lord of the Rings’. It is an enchanting landscape in any season of the year but particularly in early summer. This walk starts in the village and will take you to the top of Longridge Fell for one of the loveliest views in the north of England.
DIRECTIONS When this route was checked in May there had been considerable storm damage to some of the plantations of conifers necessitating a diversion to avoid trees blocking the route. As it is doubtful these will be cleared anytime soon the diversion is described below.
1.Walking away from Clitheroe Road turn left into the Dene opposite the Bayley Arms Hotel. The lane dips and climbs out of a dell not far from the parish church (to the left). Continue along the lane to a cluster of properties turning right onto a bridleway between two houses. Keep on this lane as it gently climbs away from the village. For almost 1/2 mile the road is metalled and then after the turn towards Hill Farm on the right continues as a broad farm track taking you to the impressive and ancient farm house of Greengore. Pass this on your left and go through a gate following a grassy footpath alongside a wall. 600yds after Greengore the path enters an area of open marshy ground.
2. Here bear left aiming for a ladder stile on the hillside above you. Over this maintain the same direction crossing two fields to arrive on Clitheroe Old Road. Turn left. In 300yds turn right onto a bridleway in the direction of kennels. After 700yds the lane turns right but you need to keep going straight up the fellside. Initially the path follows a fence on the right and then crosses open access land bearing slightly right before entering dense conifer plantations on the highest part of the fell. When the path breaks out into the open cross to a metal kissing gate in a wall. Turn right for the trig point.
3. The view from this part of the fell is stunning – especially towards the Bowland Fells. Continue on the ridge path to a kissing gate. Through this keep on a track leading into a dense plantation. Follow the path for about 400yds to its junction with a bridleway. Here turn right onto a muddy forest path. This leads to a wide forestry track. It is near here where the track is obstructed by fallen trees so this diversion is necessary. Turn left and walk for 160yds to where a bridleway crosses the track. Turn right and descend to a forest track with open ground on the far side. Turn right to where a public footpath crosses the track. You have now completed the diversion.
4. Turn left as the footpath continues downhill over open fellside to re-enter trees. The path leads behind Green Thorn farm and then turns left. With open pasture to your left keep ahead through trees to reach a plank footbridge across a stream. Continue to follow the path through an area of young trees. The path leads to Old Clitheroe Road. Turn right and then in 100yds turn left on a farm road that leads down to the large farm complex of Crowshaw. Beyond the farm continue past a metal gate and keep ahead with a wall on your left. This path leads down to Hurst Green and uses part of your outward route. After Green Gore keep ahead on the footpath when the farm drive bends to the right. After crossing Dean Brook bear right and keep ahead to reach the village close to the handsome Shireburn Alms-houses.
Start: Opposite the war memorial, Hurst Green on Avenue Road, off B6243 between Longridge and Clitheroe BB7 9QJ
Distance: 7.3 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Summary: Though this cannot be called a strenuous walk it does involve a long steady ascent that may test some readers’ stamina. The view from the top makes all effort worthwhile. Prepare for muddy sections on the fell itself.
Maps: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors, OS OL 41 The
Forest of Bowland