Barrowford, Lancashire Sunday 4th January 2015

NB. The public conveniences at Barrowford have also been closed so once again we will travel on the M65 and will call in at Blackburn services for a quick comfort stop. The toilets are still open at Barley apparently so there might be the opportunity to use them there if your walk passes that way.

Many thanks to Selwyn and Sue for organising our successful Christmas meal and walk.

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader: Dennis Cookson     Distance: approx. 9 miles

Starting from the heritage centre this walk follows Pendle Water initially but before long we start to make a gentle gradual climb towards Malkin Tower before making our way on a series of paths and quiet country lanes to reach lower and higher Briercliffe, and eventually the Black Moss reservoirs. Shortly afterwards we arrive at Barley (toilet stop here if needed). Most of the return journey follows the Pendle Way through woodland to Offa Hill, Roughlee and eventually rejoins Pendle Water on our way back to Barrowford for a well-earned cuppa and mince pie. Expect the paths to be very muddy in places with both poles and gaiters recommended.

Moderate Leader: Cynthia and David Prescott     Distance: 6.5 miles

This walk has been chosen to suit both moderate and leisurely walkers and to get back before dark. The fields at this time of year are very muddy so we have found a walk that reduces the amount of field walking: so, we start by walking past the Heritage Centre on the flat, through the park and then beside the canal which has a tarmac path with grass verges. We pass the locks and Barrowford Reservoir up to Wanless Bridge and then head towards the village of Beverley where we intend to have lunch in the park as there is some seating there. After lunch we go to the back of Blacko and return on the Witches Trail of the Pendle Way which we found to be a nice path. There are good views but we do not go up really high or too steeply, but enough to make it a good moderate walk.

Leisurely Leader:     Distance :

There is no leisurely walk today

Easy Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 5.0 miles

We leave Barrowford through the park and playing fields then join the canal towpath as far as Barrowford Locks. Here we turn off through Greenfield Road Local Nature Reserve and make our way to Boundary Mill for lunch (and no doubt more costly activities!). We then continue northwards following the line of the former railway as far as Wanless Bridge where we rejoin the canal and follow it most of the way back to Barrowford. Most of the route is on hard surface tracks but for a lot of the way there is a green verge for more comfortable walking.

Notes On The Area

The characterful charming village of Barrowford pronounced with the emphasis on Ford, is in Pendle District and sits on the confluence of two rivers, Pendle Water and Colne Water, where trout can often be seen leaping through the clear waters. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside that is great for walking or cycling, and so it’s perfect for the Pendle Cycling Festival. It is also full of history, including the story of the nearby Pendle witches, and is now an upmarket place full of attractive 17th and 18th century farmhouses and pretty handloom weavers’ cottages. The independent boutiques that line the high street are jammed with smart designer fashion, attracting some of the North West’s most affluent customers including footballers and their other halves. David Beckham has even been known to drop in for some shopping in Barrowford!

The village is on the Leeds to Liverpool Canal. The canal has 91 locks, seven of which are in Barrowford. The oldest bridge in town, the Packhorse Bridge near Higherford Mill, dates back to the end of the 16th century. Pendle Heritage Centre is home to the two oldest buildings in Barrowford, the Fold and Park Hill, which date back to 1550. The buildings have been extensively altered over the last 200 years as you’ll see at the exhibition inside.

Barrowford is now part of Nelson. Although originally dependent on farming, it expanded rapidly as a textile town during the 19th century. A few mills were built at that time but mechanised production moved to nearby Nelson, which had better rail and canal facilities.

Roger Bannister, who ran the first four-minute mile, is a descendant of the Bannister family, a dynasty of local farmers, who lived at Park Hill. At the rear of the house is a walled garden containing organic fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

On the corner, across the bridge, stands the Toll House. This small building was designed so that the road could be seen in both directions. This ensured that no one on the old Marsden to Long Preston turnpike could slip by unnoticed. On the front of the 1803 house is the renovated board indicating the various toll prices. In 1774 John Wesley, the Methodist leader, had to hide in what is now the White Bear Inn on Gisburn Road, when he was chased by a local mob. Built in 1607, its name is thought to be connected with bear baiting.

In 1964 a disastrous fire devastated the church of St Thomas in Church Street. The remains of the original 1841 building are found in the Remembrance Garden. Bank Hall, otherwise the Lamb Club, stands further east from the church along Church Street. It’s a Jacobean house dating from 1696, with mullioned windows on the second floor and a porch on the second floor which is wider than the lower one. At the bottom of the carved finials are faces, which were thought to act as a protection against witchcraft.

At the western end of Summit Pool, east of the town at Barrowford Locks, seven locks take the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in a descent of 65.5 ft to Burnley Pool. The reservoir nearby was built in 1885 to take the overflow from Foulridge Reservoirs.

So there are lots for the visitor to see in Barrowford,