Are you game to find your Shangri-la?
Your weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
Last month the Lancashire Dotcom Walkers had their annual quiz at the Game Cock, Great Harwood. We had used this establishment before and knew it had a suitable function room as well as meals at good value – especially its carvery. The function room being a matter of the utmost necessity as in the past disputes between teams have led to some ugly scenes distressing for innocent bystanders to observe. Before the quiz we went on a shortish walk into the nearby countryside. There is a wedge of modestly elevated upland bounded by Whalley, Billington, Langho, Wilpshire and Great Harwood that to me seems like some Shangri-la – a delightful miniature landscape that thus far has escaped the attention of rampant development. It was into this delightful countryside that Nigel led us. A highlight was to reach the fields above Great Harwood to view Pendle Hill from the south west. This was follow by the summit of Bowley Hill where a 360 degree vista gave us a superb panorama. One might think that all this would have had a calming effect on the Dotcom Walkers but alas back at the quiz they soon descended into disorder and riotous assembly.
Start/finish: The game Cock, Whalley Road Great Harwood BB6 7UH. As with all pub walks readers must seek permission to use the car park before setting out. Permission is normally granted if you indicate you intend to spend custom at the inn after the walk.
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2 hours
Maps: OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors
From the car park cross the busy A680 and turn right onto the pavement. Follow the road for 300yds and then re-cross Whalley Road to a drive entrance. As the drive reaches open fields the footpath divides. Here go through a kissing gate to the left. With a fence to the right cross a large pasture to a metal gate on the far side to join a drive. Keep left on this and continue as it brings you to Great Harwood’s War Memorial Park and Playing Fields. The War Memorial a simple obelisk lists the names of 372 servicemen killed in World War 1 from the district. A good number of these would have belonged to the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire regiment – “the Accrington Pals” which suffered devastating casualties on 1st July 1916 – the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Having viewed the monument perhaps in a sober mood turn right just beyond it onto Hindle Fold Lane. Follow this uphill bearing left in front of a yellow grit bin and after 150 yards turn right onto Upper Cliffe. Keep ahead to the entrance of the last property and cross a stile on the right. Continuing in the same direction keep right through a gateway and with hedgerow to the left cross to a fringe of woodland and a stile leading onto Tan House Lane. Cross the lane and a second stile and follow the footpath uphill with the wall of a property to the right. Cross a wooden stile and follow the wall to the right to Deane Lane. Turn left. After 150yds turn right on a footpath that quickly brings you to the slopes of Bowley Hill. While there appears no formal right of way to the top the landowner has thoughtfully provided a stile in the fence so walkers can take advantage of this superb summit – yep it is in that category “one of the finest viewpoints in …Lancashire/North of England/the Universe!”
From the top descend to a stile at a field corner to the north. Across this follow the wall on the right across two fields. After the second the path bears left to descend to a footbridge spanning Dean Brook. On the far side go right cross a stile at keep left following the wall up to Shawcliffe Lane. Turn right. Keep on the lane for a little over 500yds. After passing a footpath sign on the left turn right just in front of some farm outbuildings onto a path leading into pastureland. Descend across two fields to reach an enclosed bridleway. Turn right. Keep on this as it takes you into Dean Wood, re-crosses Dean Brook and ascends to the entrance of Bowley Scout Camp.
Established over 50 years ago this facility has provided a training base for young people teaching specialist outdoor skills not just to members of the scouting and guiding movements. As the footpath goes through the centre the reader will gain some appreciation of the scope of its activities as well as it’s beautiful setting. Through the entrance go right passing the main buildings to arrive at a large open space. Keep ahead with Dean Wood across to the left to intercept a track above the River Calder. On reaching it turn right and after a wall drop to the river side. The path here will take you back to the Game Cock. As you near Cock Bridge bear right towards the complex of buildings close to the inn.
- Walk devised by Nigel Hext.