Nelson Centre to the Colne Clarion House via Nelson ILP Socialist Institute, Walverden Reservoir & Catlow Bottoms. This is a moderate walk of about 5 Kilometres - mainly uphill.
Starting Point – The Broadway at the bottom of Railway Street and near to Pendle Rise Shopping Centre, NGR SD 860 377.
Image (24 KB)
Proceed south east along Railway Street, (take care at the roundabout after approx 100 metres). Turn right into Vernon Street after a further 300 metres. On the right hand side of Vernon Street is the former Nelson ILP Socialist Institute. Image (36 KB)
Retrace your footsteps to Railway Street and continue south east for 650 metres to Pilgrim Street where in the distance Jimmy Nelson’s Sports Club imposes on the Landscape. The building was built as a memorial to all the workers of his factories who were killed during the First World War.
Continue on Railway Street for 80 metres where the macadam surface terminates, head for a path to the left of the continuing lane, which is between the lane and some factory gates. The path continues through a garage site at the end of which is Boston Street (factory buildings) and Walverden Farm Cottage. Turn left (northeast) into Boston Street and at the next Junction turn right (southeast) into Brunswick Street. Bear to your right onto the lane and follow the river to the dam wall of Walverden Reservoir.
Bear left (east) on to a surfaced road passing Thaw House, a grassy lane leads you to an open field with the path following the left hand wall. At the top of the field next to a gate is a stone stile. If you pause here for a few moments and turn around you can see (weather permitting) the “whaleback” of Pendle Hill rising above the town of Nelson. Image (24 KB)
Continue up the lane until you reach another path that crosses at right angles, some wooden poultry sheds are nearby. The way ahead is to the right (southeast) over the wooden stile.
You may take a short detour from the route at this point by carrying straight ahead, to visit the unusually situated Southfield Methodist Church and the historic setting of Southfield Fold (it is a 10 minute walk from here to the Shooter’s Inn).
From the wooden stile continue on the path until you reach an obvious lane, turn left (east) to Catlow. Turn right (southeast) onto a local road down into Catlow Bottoms. Image (33 KB)
Cross the ford (stepping stones) and follow the road for 30 metres, turn left (east) through gateway and follow the lane near to the river. On reaching the river crossing ignore the Pendle Way turning to the right over a footbridge.
This is the site of a former stone quarry; cut stone from this quarry was exported as far away as South Africa.
Continue on the lane which ascends a short hill to a rough meadow. Immediately at the top of the climb bear left (north) across the field crossing Pathole Beck to a stile in a stone wall.
Continue heading north to a way marked stile and then northeast to the top right hand corner of the field (and farm buildings), follow right hand wall to a stile at the corner of a garage.
Continue up the lane (northeast), Walton Spire appears on the skyline to the north east, pass through a gateway and then bear right (north) to a stile in a high stone wall.
This stile is at a cross roads on the Nelson/ Hebden Bridge Road.
Head east towards Hebden Bridge (with Boulsworth Fell rising in front of you) for 300 metres. Turn left (northeast) at footpath sign, the route is on a lane heading towards some farm buildings.
Pass through a waymarked stile at the corner of the building and another stile comes immediately into view.
Continue through this stile and follow partly flagged path to the wall corner.
Continue northeast across a boggy meadow. The path climbs up a short ascent and the Colne Clarion House comes directly into view.
Continue through the stile to the road.
This former Colne Clarion House is now a private dwelling and the occupant’s privacy should be preserved. Image (33 KB)
A Narrative history of the Colne ILP Clarion House can be downloaded here (PDF 1.52MB)
Weather on the Lancashire Moors can quickly deteriorate.
Please avoid the moorland sections when visibility is poor.
The only safe way to keep your feet dry on sections of this walk is by wearing a pair of waterproof boots.
Colne Clarion House to Swinden Bridge via Coldwell Activity Centre, the Thursden Valley and Clough Croft (formerly used by Burnley ILP). This is a moderate walk of about 6 Kilometres over undulating terrain.
From the former Colne Clarion House head south east down Back Lane for approx 1 kilometre to the Coldwell Activity Centre.
From the Activity Centre continue down the road towards Hebden Bridge.
Ignore the first path to the left, after 100 metres; continue on the road which bends left and then right before climbing a slight incline. At the top of the incline is a small lay-by and a wooden gate with a bridleway sign (500 metres from Activity Centre).
Turn left (east) through this gate and follow a good track for 500 metres with Upper Coldwell Reservoir on your right hand side.
The track bears right at the top of the reservoir to a gate.
You have a choice of routes:
Continue on the track (east) for 400 metres and turn right (southwest) onto the Bronte Way meeting a broken wall after a further 400 metres.
Alternatively you can cut this corner off by heading south east from the gate. if you take this alternative route (through tussocks of moorland grasses and several drainage channels) look for a wall running north west from the top of the moor. This is to your right after passing through the gate. The bottom of the wall is 300 metres from the gate and in a collapsed state. Look for two waymarkers between the gate and the end of the wall, this is the route of the path which is best generously described as being indistinct, but it is a slightly more adventurous alternative.
Both paths meet near the wall and continue over a footbridge and through a gate. Continue southwest over a further footbridge and the path climbs up a hillock to a waymarker.
Ignore the path joining from your right and continue to a further waymarker, ignore the cairn ahead, instead follow the path that leads to a stone doorway (this doorway is the most distinctive landmark on this section of the moor and is the remains of a former building called New House). Image (33KB)
Continue on the distinct path to the right (west) of the doorway. The path joins an old wall and immediately there is a wooden stile.
Pass over this stile and continue forward (south) to a gate and stile with a Bronte way sign. Turn right (west) and you will be overlooking the Thursden Valley. Image (28 KB)
Head south down the road and after a short distance the road bends to the right and a footpath sign points down the hill into the valley (at the time we walked this section we had difficulty finding the lane that skirts the house near the bottom of the descent.
The options are to try and find the way through (we did) or to take the longer route around the road.
We have raised the issue with the Access Officer.
From the bottom of the lane head west and then south west for 200 metres. As the road starts to climb the hill there is a footpath over a stile to the left.
The path leads you south west alongside Thursden Brook (the major source of the River Don) which is crossed by the means of a wooden bridge and the path then heads south into Park Wood. As you ascend the hill avoid taking the very obvious path to the right through a wooden gate (this is the Burnley Way) but instead continue up the hill for a further 20 metres and bear right (southwest) at the Bronte Way waymarker.
The path turns to the south as you pass below Low Pike.
A stile leads you on to a surfaced road, continue forward and bear right at the junction, keeping to the surfaced road.
Bear left at the Farm (Sweet Well House) and pass through a stile next to the wall on your left. The path follows the wall to your right and a gate and stile can be seen ahead.
Continue through the stile heading west, the path narrows and passes some derelict stone farm buildings.
Ignore the path to your right (over a wooden stile). The path continues southwest and swings to the south as you approach the hamlet of Ing Hey.
A gate and stile are ahead.
Approx 100 metres before you reach the gate and stile (SD 887 336), the now derelict Clough Croft formerly used by Burnley ILP (see note below) can be seen amongst some trees to the right of the path. Image (30 KB)
Continue over the stile, pass the middle Swinden Reservoir on your left and follow the surfaced access road to Nelson/Worsthorne road, at Swinden Bridge.
The Roggerham Gate Inn is situated 100 metres up the road to your right (north) and is a good pick up point if you are being met by a car, or a taxi can be arranged to collect you here.
The Inn serves meals but prior arrangements should be made for large groups. Further Information
Note: the Clough Croft building as been referred to for many years as "Burnley Clarion House". We learnt in November 2017 that whilst the building was formerly used for a considerable number of years by Burnley ILP, it was not known as "Burnley Clarion House" at that time. We suspect that association with the Nelson and Colne ILP Clarion Houses led to the later use of the name.
Swinden Bridge to Colne Road, Burnley, via Lea Green Reservoir, Swinden Water, the River Brun and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. This is a moderate walk of about 5 Kilometres - mainly downhill.
From Swinden Bridge face south west (Nelson to your right and Worsthorne to your left)
Turn down the lane to the left of the bridge, there is a kissing gate after 20 metres, the route runs down a grass covered lane (heading west).
Lea Green Reservoir comes into view on your right.
Turn right (northwest) along the dam wall, Extwistle Hall cbe seen on the hillside above.
At the end of the dam climb over the stile and turn left (southwest) and continue along the well defined path. The route passes through a mixture of woodland and water meadows Image (37KB) arriving at a bridge near the confluence of Swinden Water with the river Brun.
Do not cross the bridge, instead carry straight on.
At Nether Wood bridge the Brun is joined by the river Don.
To your right you will see a stile and a waymarked path, this is the Burnley Way leaving the Bronte Way.
Ignore The Burnley Way path and continue on the broad unsurfaced access road following the river south west and then northwest, passing a lake and several factory buildings. As you pass the last building and the road bends to the right, keep straight ahead following the river.
Ahead the road is bridged by Heasanford Road.
Pass under the bridge and arrive on the landscaped site of the former Bank Hall Colliery. Image (20 KB)
Turn left (southwest) to follow the river and you have joined the route of the former train line that took the coal from the colliery (a short distance down this path a foot bridge crosses the river. The Queen Vic, a Brewers Fayre pub can be reached via this bridge). Queen Vic information
The Leeds and Liverpool canal is ahead, continue along the path and pass under the bridge; after 40 metres turn sharp right and ascend to the towpath of the canal.
The Queen Vic should be in view. Turn left (northwest) along the towpath for 500 metres, arriving at the access to Colne Road, Burnley.
If you wish to break your journey here leave by the path before you pass under the bridge.
A bus stop for Nelson is 100 metres right (north) of this point.
Turn left for Burnley centre (south) walking along the main road to the bus station.
To reach Burnley Central railway station walk down the road for 50 metres cross the road with care and follow the path through the trees.
Colne Road, Burnley to Higham via the river Calder and Pendle Hall. This is a moderate walk of about 5 Kilometres – with a descent to the river Calder and an ascent to Higham.
Following the towpath you will pass a gas holder and a distance marker of 75 miles to Liverpool and pass under a railway bridge marked 132A. Image (30 KB)
300 metres past the bridge look out for a short flight of stone steps leading down from the tow path towards a housing estate. There is a footpath sign at the bottom of the steps.
From the steps that descend from the canal turn right to walk downhill along Lower Manor Lane (housing estate).
Pass Lower Mead Drive on your right and at the bottom of Lower Manor Lane cross the road and take the path that runs between two houses (northwest).
The path is well defined and passes through Heald Wood.
You will hear the M65 before you see it!
Ignore the first path that joins to your right.
Ahead the path splits and reunites at a metal bridge, cross this bridge over Pendle Water (which joins the River Calder 1 kilometre downstream from this point).
Cross the bridge, through the kissing gate and down the flight of steps.
Follow the obvious path which continues on a metalled road passing a house named Riversmead. Ahead turn left (northwest) under the motorway and follow your nose to the Water Treatment Plant.
Pass the Water Treatment Plant and on reaching Wood End Farm take the farm road signposted to Moor Isles Farm, crossing a cattle grid.
After 200 metres turn left (west) at a waymarker on to a path that crosses a meadow to another waymarker, just ahead is a wooden footbridge with Pendle Way and Bronte Way Markers, this leads to a further wooden footbridge.
The path passes a pond to your left.
Cross over a stile by a stand of trees and follow the River Calder passing over a further wooden footbridge and stile until you reach a large wooden bridge which spans the river.
On reaching the bridge you will encounter a double stile, cross the first stile and turn back on yourself (right) and cross over the second stile finishing up on the opposite side of a wire fence.
You are now on the Pendle Way and heading northwest towards Higham.
The path ahead is waymarked with kissing gate access between the six fields that are crossed.
The final gate 1,200 metres from the river joins a farm lane. Continue on the farm lane which is metalled after a short distance.
On reaching a farm on your right, turn left through a stile and head northwest towards a church spire.
At the top of the field pass over a stile and down four steps onto the Padiham by-pass (take care).
Turn left (southwest) down the by-pass for 50 metres and at a 50 MPH sign cross the road with care and continue up some steps ahead of you.
Continue through a stile and emerge through the snicket in the wall ahead on to the main road through the village of Higham.
Across the road is the Village Hall. Image (36 KB)
100 metres down the road (southwest) is the Four Alls Inn where food can be obtained (Telephone 01282 778063).
Higham to the Nelson ILP Clarion House via Newchurch-in-Pendle. This is a moderate walk of about 5 Kilometres - mainly uphill.
The path is to the west of the Village Hall, head north, a small gate adjoining the church wall leads you on to the path which ascends the hill between gorse bushes.
The path swings northeast passing along the western edge of four fields that connect with kissing gates.
At the top of the final field go over the stone stile to the right of the gatepost.
Turn right onto a local road and at the next junction (50 metres) turn left (northwest) towards Sabden Fold.
Pass Croft Top Lane on your right and after 50 metres ascend the stone stile on your right, the path heads northeast.
Sabden Hall and Sabden Fold are 500 metres away across the valley, to your left as you follow the path above Higher Town farm. Image (25 KB)
The path gently descends to a wall which is followed to a wooden stile in an adjoining stone wall.
Over the stile a modern mill chimney at Spen Brook Mill comes into view with Blacko Tower directly above it on the horizon.
Newchurch–in-Pendle can be seen high up on the left hand side of the valley. This valley is sometimes referred to as The Hidden Valley presumably because it is not traversed by a major road.
As you walk to the end of this field an older stone built mill chimney comes into view at Spen Brook.
Pass over the stile in the wall corner and Tinedale Farm is ahead.
Pass the farm and immediately ahead is Tinedale Cottage, climb over the stile to your left and head down the lane.
The lane enters a sheepfold below Bull Hole.
Do not take the stile directly ahead, instead turn to your right at the corner of the sheepfold and pass over a stile in this corner.
Follow the path by the wall heading northeast through two further stiles to the buildings at Moss End.
As you pass the last building a grass path to your left takes you over a stile and through a gate onto an old grass covered lane which leads to a wooden stile to the left of a gate. Bear right and cross over the second stone stile. Image (59 KB)
Continue straight on (northeast) to a wooden stile that leads you onto the local road near to St Mary’s School.
Turn up the road (north) to the village centre passing the Old School House and St Mary’s Church (telephone box).
The Public House marked on the OS OL21 map is now a private residence and there are no other facilities for food or drink (but the Clarion House is nearby).
There are Public Toilets and the Witches Galore shop selling toys and memorabilia of the 'Pendle Witches'.
There have been many books written about the “Witches” including accounts and novels by Thomas Potts, Harrison Ainsworth and Robert Neil. It is more likely however that Kate Mulholland’s “Cry of Innocence” and Jonathan Lumby’s “The Lancashire Witch-Craze” offer a more balanced view, of the folk medicine, religious persecution and greed that led to the accusations of witchcraft. Image of Pendle Hill (18 KB)
Continue up the Barley Road from Witches Galore and opposite a house named Forest Forge a path leads up the banking on the right hand side of the road to a stile.
Having crossed the stile follow the footpath that bears to the right (east) to a stile in the wall ahead.
Continue over the stile into the wood, keeping to the lower path to the right.
A pleasant but short walk through this wood ends at a stile.
Over the stile and bear left onto the path that passes close to the buildings at Barley Bank.
The path continues along the bottom of the wood to a stone stile.
Cross over the stile and keep to the top of the field.
Continue on the edge of the wood to a further stone stile.
From this stile Blacko Tower can be seen with the moors of Craven in the distance and Boulsworth Fell.
Follow the path running east towards Thorny Bank Farm.
Cross a further stile, the path is indistinct, but head downhill for the house which is to the right of the farm.
Soon you should be able to make out a stone stile in the wall ahead, head for this stile and cross into the next field.
Turn left (northeast) and head for the wooden stile at the field corner (follow the stream).
Through the stile and continue following the stream to the field corner, turn right, up the field and head for a green clad building.
Climb over the stile by this building and immediately turn left into the grounds of the Nelson ILP Land Society Clarion House. Image of Nelson ILP Clarion House (bottom right) and Newchurch (21 KB)
The Clarion is open on Sundays and some public holidays, further information can be obtained by navigating the main Clarion House web site
If you visit when we are closed please use the outside facilities.
If you are enjoying the walk and feel like making a donation to the renovation fund please post it through the letterbox.
The Nelson ILP Clarion House to Pendle Heritage Centre via Roughlee and the Water Meetings. This is a moderate walk of about 5 Kilometres – with moderate uphill and downhill section.
Leave the Clarion House by walking down the path to the field corner by the local road (east).
Over the stile and turn left, walk down the road (east and then northeast) to the cross roads at Happy Valley.
The left hand turn heads for the village of Barley and Pendle Hill, the right hand turn is a very direct route to Nelson if Sandy Hall Lane is followed from Noggarth Cottage and shop.
Our route is straight ahead on Blacko Bar Road. The route shown on our overview map simply follows the road to Roughlee, a distance of about 0.5 Kilometres.
A more interesting route when the visibility is good, that takes in views of both Pendleside and Boulsworth is as follows:
From the crossroad proceed along Blacko Bar Road (northeast) for 100 metres to a bridge across Pendle Water, immediately before the bridge turn right (southeast) on to a path that follows the river downstream for 150 metres. The path then climbs a hillside heading east through three fields meeting a stile above a stand of trees adjacent to a caravan site.
Over the stile follow the path that runs alongside a hawthorn hedge until the path swings to the right and heads uphill to a stile in a stone wall, which leads onto a lane adjacent to the earthworks of a reservoir.
Once on the lane turn left (northeast). Pass one more field on your left and 50 metres more to a stile to your left and a path that leads you down the next field (northwest). At the bottom right hand corner of the field is a stile that leads to a road that enters the caravan site.
Walk straight ahead and downhill across the grass to a paved path after 50 metres. Turn right onto the path which after a few short strides joins Pasture Lane. Turn left for 200 metres to the road junction.
The Bay Horse Public House is situated on this junction and serves hot and cold food. Telephone Number: 01282 613683
The road from Happy Valley joins to your left and our route turns right and follows Pendle Water downstream.
200 metres from the Bay Horse pub there is a turning to your left onto a private road named Old Hall Close. At the head of the close is Roughlee Hall, the home of Miles Nutter at the time of the Witch Craze. The Hall is now divided into three private dwellings. Image (21 KB)
From Old Hall Close continue for a further 50 metres and opposite a farm lane, turn right through a stile that leads down to the river and the stepping stones. Pause at the stepping stones and look at the skyline ahead for a waymarker. Cross the stepping stones with care and head (northeast) for the waymarker.
At the waymarker follow the grass track over the remains of an old lane southeast and uphill to a waymarked stile in a stone wall. Do not cross this stile, instead turn left (northeast) and follow the path that runs alongside the wall.
The stile ahead offers a good opportunity to pause and turn around to view the vista of Pendleside and Blacko. Pendle Image (23 KB)
Continue by the wall side passing the remains of a former field wall on your left after 300 metres and after a further 50 metres you should encounter a stone in the field marked FP turn right to cross over the adjacent stile and immediately turn left to follow the wall northeast.
Within 100 metres the path splits. Keep to the left following the wall down to the field corner and a stile.
Over the stile the path traverses the hillside Image (36 KB) descending to the confluence of Pendle Water and Blacko Water. This is known locally as the Water Meetings. Image (24 KB)
The path descends to a rough meadow.
Follow the obvious route ahead to Water Meetings House. A stile to the left of the double gate leads onto a lane.
Turn left (north) onto the lane, a short distance ahead is a bridge across the river.
Be aware of the dogs that are kept in a compound here (they tend to bark a lot) and turn right immediately before the bridge. The path follows the river downstream (northeast) until it joins a surfaced road; Barleydale Road which is in a residential area. You are now in Higherford, an area of Barrowford.
200 metres down this road you should arrive at the Packhorse Bridge. It is the oldest bridge in Barrowford, dating back to the end of the 16th century. It formerly lay on the old main road to Gisburn which was superseded by the Turnpike road built in 1804.
Cross the river over this bridge and take the obvious route that circumnavigates the church ahead.
Cross the busy A682 (Gisburn Road) with care and turn left (southwest) down the road passing the Old Bridge Inn. Telephone number : 01282 613983.
Within a few metres and just before Higherford Bridge, turn left on to a path by Pendle Water. Follow this path alongside the river for 400 metres passing the Pendle Heritage Centre Car Park.
The path leads to Colne Road adjacent to Barrowford Bridge.
Turn right over the bridge to visit the George and Dragon Inn Telephone number : 01282 612929 or cross the road to Pendle Heritage Centre.
The Centre has a pleasant cafe selling hot and cold food, an art gallery and a shop selling books and local produce, tourist information is also available here. The Centre is well worth visiting. Pendle Heritage Centre
The Centre was formerly called Park Hill and was occupied by the Bannister family, ancestors of Dr Roger Bannister, who ran the first four minute mile.
Pendle Heritage Centre to Nelson Town Centre via Barrowford Locks. This is an easy walk of about 4 Kilometres with 2 modest uphill sections and most of the walking on the flat on good paths and pavement.
Leave the Heritage Centre by heading up Colne Road (southeast). There is a good raised path for most of the way.
The M65 runs next to Colne Road for the latter part of this road section and the earthworks of Barrowford Reservoir and Barrowford Canal Locks will come into view after 700 metres. The road is carried over the canal by a bridge.
As you approach the bridge look out for a waymarked wooden gate to your right.
Once through the gate turn left (east) with the M65 on your right. After 200 metres the canal is reached as it passes beneath the M65. Turn to your right (with the canal on your left) and follow the path for 150 metres to a gate and wooden stile.
Through the stile the path threads its way through a new plantation and rejoins the canal between two locks. Image (31KB)
At the second lock cross over the overflow (bridge) and canal (lock gate) and continue southwest on the towpath, approaching Swinden Aqueduct, the canal turns south. The aqueduct passes over Colne Water as the river heads west to join Pendle Water.
The canal then bends sharply to the west below a housing estate and Swinden Bridge comes into view. One of the purposes of the bridge was to take the horses that pulled the barges (and now you) onto the opposite bank, where the towpath continues.
Cross the bridge and continue on the towpath for 800 metres passing Hodge House allotments. A business park comes into view heralding your arrival at Reedyford Road Bridge (141d).
Under the bridge the canal opens up into Dixon's Wide (for countless decades the legendary lair of a giant pike).
Continue under Scotland Road Bridge (141c) and Pendle Street Bridge (141b).
50 metres after the bridge and near the back of Morrisons Supermarket leave the canal to your right into Norfolk Street.
Turn left (south) for 200 metres arriving at Carr Road.
Turn left (southeast) and uphill over the canal bridge and the final 350 metres of the route to return to Nelson town centre.
The town centre has several public houses, cafes, restaurants and takeaways.
We hope that you enjoyed the walk and would appreciate any comments that you would care to make to improve the walk and this guide.
Our investigation of the route took place in October and November and the images on these pages reflect the weather conditions. If you would like to send us alternative images we will credit those that we use.