Walking the Eastern Side of the Ribble Valley – the unknown bits.

Mellor Brook  –  Sabden.

The LDWA web site is a good source of information on potential walks. You can search in whichever area and for whatever length, maps are displayed. Looking for a two day local trek, whilst the good weather holds out, I unearthed the 26mile ‘Walk the Eastern Side of the Ribble Valley’ from Mellor Brook to Gisburn. A booklet is available from the author Trevor Headley, though I managed without it. I’ve sent off for it as I feel there will be useful information for some unanswered questions en-route.  Some of my climbing friends have gone off to Kalymnos, I declined from lack of fitness, and it was strange that I parked up almost outside one of their houses in Mellor Brook this morning.SAM_6223

I walked out on the original A59 through the village…SAM_6225 … now thankfully bypassed, and climbed back up to the village of Mellor. The village loos have been sold… Further on the way I passed the Methodist Church which has been tastefully rebuilt after the old one was demolished, probably an improvement though I can’t find pictures of the original. Next up was Mellor Moor, one of Lancashire’s best kept secrets.  At the top there are 360 degree views, well not today, of the whole region from the Lakes to Yorkshire and to Wales. Uniquely this modest hill, 223m, has a defunct Royal Observation Nuclear Blast and Fallout Monitoring Station from the cold war era . The monitoring post was opened in July 1959, and was decommissioned in October 1968. Many local people still believe that this was a nuclear shelter for the use of the  population during times of war. A millennium viewpoint pillar has been more recently erected.

Local field paths were followed with ancient stone squeeze stiles, agricultural paths or inter- village routes. I speculated on the traffic in the 18th century or before.   Going past the barking dogs of Hagg’s Hall I came upon a row of derelict and abandoned wooden homes, ?weekend retreats. They formed a nostalgic link with the 50’s and 60’s but I can find no information on them.

PS May 2016        https://hutters.uk/2016/05/03/chalets-at-haggs-hall-fields-blackburn/

Enclosed paths through the gardens of suburban Wilpshire brought me out onto the well groomed Wilpshire Golf Course, there has to be one on every long walk. I walked through in under par despite the low drizzly cloud. Open moorland had me scanning for bulls – this one looked quite friendly.

Another new area to me was the delightful path above Dean Clough reservoir with views opening up towards Pendle as the weather improved. Sitting on a bench on the outskirts of Great Harwood I ate a banana. Lanes led me to the surprisingly active Bowley Scout Camp, another of Lancashire’s hidden secrets. Acres and acres of camping and adventure activities. An ancient scout helped me navigate out of the site down to the River Calder.

I had no time for a drink at the Game Cock Inn with it’s inscription –  ‘House of Massey’ –  a defunct Burnley Brewery. Crossing the river at Cock bridge I was soon entering the impressive grounds of Read Hall. As I walked up the drive way I couldn’t but help notice the wrought iron railings, in my street all that remains of these are stubs in the stone walls after they were removed for the moral boosting war effort of the 40’s. I asked myself why not here?

In the lanes above Read some farmer had a sense of humour…More local [?original] humour seen on the way…

After many fields of horses I climbed up into lovely autumnal woods and a surprise stone base of a cross – unknown origin? After that it was all downhill to the secluded village of Sabden in the bosom of Pendle Hill. The Nick of Pendle, tomorrow morning’s  objective was plain to see way above.I couldn’t find accommodation here so I caught a bus to Clitheroe and spent a comfortable night [I was knackered] at The Inn at the Station. Recommended.



9 thoughts on “Walking the Eastern Side of the Ribble Valley – the unknown bits.

  1. McEff

    I thoroughly enjoyed that account. It’s packed with interesting information, such as the underground nuclear observation post. I wonder how many of those are scattered around the country. And I love that sign about the leaking cocks.
    Cheers, Alen

    1. bowlandclimber

      Thanks Alen,
      I’m still trying to find the history behind those wooden bungalows in the middle of nowhere. Hoping someone will tell me. I remember at the start of The West Highland Way outside Milngavie a row of similar ‘cottages’ which were in good condition as they were apparently listed. A throw back to the 40’s and 50’s – fresh air for the workers.

  2. Pingback: Chalets at Haggs Hall Fields, Blackburn | Hutters.uk – Iain's blog about hutting

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