with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
The Corporation Arms on the edge of the ever expanding metropolis of Longridge has become something of a clubhouse for Lancashire Dotcom Walkers in recent years. It is where this year’s annual awards will take place on Tuesday an occasion of fun and frolics which means an excuse for a splendid slap up meal. Given that this will be the eighth year in succession we have held our bun-fight there one might have thought that we have exhausted all the possible routes. Not a bit of it as this delightful walk shows.
Start: The Corporation Arms Longridge PR3 2YJ
Time: 2 – 3 hours
Grade: Easy with gentle inclines
Map: OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors
1. From the car park turn right along Blackburn Road and walk along it for a little under 300yds and turn right through a wooden gate onto an enclosed path. With a new housing estate on your left and the embankment of Spade Mill Reservoir on your right follow the path up to where it meets a drive close to a large house on the right. Keep ahead now on Tan Yard Lane to where it bends left. Here turn right continuing between two imposing gate posts to arrive at a grassy open space that serves (or served) as a caravan park. Bear slightly right crossing a shallow ditch at a culvert to enter a thicket of trees by a gap and then crossing a stile into a field with a fine view of Spade Mill Reservoir before you. Turn left. Following the hedge on left pass between two ancient but redundant gate posts, keep ahead to arrive at an awkward stile in front of a picnic area for a nearby holiday home site. Over the stile continue on a path leading alongside a copse of young trees to arrive at a gate into a holiday home complex neatly landscaped around a quarry lake. Turn right on the drive. On the far right corner of the complex go through a wooden gate onto a green lane. This is Written Stone Lane which leads to - surprise surprise - the Written Stone which is even more astoundingly close to Written Stone Farm (see below). On reaching a farm drive turn left for Cottam House Farm. Keep ahead through its yard (and a cleaner one you are never likelier to see!) and go through a metal gate at first following a track which begins to fade after it bends to the right between trees. Follow a fence that appears on the left past an enclosed plantation across a field to a metal gate leading onto the B6343 Clitheroe Road.
2. Cross the road turn right and locate a stile in the hedge close to an old bus shelter. After crossing it keep ahead to the next stile and then bear left through a metal gate to a stile in a wall. Still angling left drop to a stile in a fence in front of a wooded valley. After crossing it turn right to follow a firm track through beautiful woodland. After 200yds look for a flight of steps on the left. Descend these which bring you next to a cottage (The Old Smithy) and a hidden settlement not given a name on the OS map. Now on Mill House Lane pass Springs Farm and keep ahead on a narrow path leading alongside Cowley Brook to reach a ford and footbridge. Turn right on the lane and almost immediately right again onto a short drive leading to a metal gate. Through this bear right climbing a rise to locate a stile in the hedge to the right of a building on the far side. Once over the stile keep ahead passing by a bus company’s depot. Now on Ward Green Lane turn right and then left after 60yds onto a broad track leading to a large barn. Cross a stile to its left and then another close to a hedge soon after – this one being of the awkward variety. Angle slightly right to locate a footpath leading into a planted leisure lake area. (Lake Cocker) On exit at a stile bear slightly left to a stile in a field boundary. Keep ahead to a gateway and go right following the fence on the left to a substantial property. Cross a stile on the left to reach its drive passing across a lawn of statues to do so. Turn right and then closer to the house go left to follow a drive to the B6245. Turn right for the Corporation Arms.
Points of Interest The Written Stone: It is said that this substantial elongated slab covers a boggart’s hole - a boggart being a mischievous sprite. In 1655 the farmer Rauffe Radcliffe placed the stone to lie there “forever” after an outbreak of irritating incidents at the farm – milk turning sour and apple pie beds -that sort of thing. You may scoff but when the stone had to be moved in the 1930s for some change on the farm there was a rash of mischief which did not abate until the stone was moved back to its original resting place. The Written Stone is a short distance to the right as you reach the drive of Cottam House Farm.
- Bob’s walks are now available as digital guides on the iFootpath website and App (see iFootpath.com).