LOWER HODDER BRIDGE.

Back in time, the River Hodder was a boundary between Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire in these parts. The Upper and Lower Hodder bridges are inscribed accordingly and tonight I tread both sides.

My evening stroll starts from the Higher Hodder Bridge and follows the woods on the south side of the river. To be honest you don’t get good views of the river when the trees are in full leaf. I do however spot a fly fisherman wading in on the opposite side.

My path goes up and down to eventually arrive at the Stonyhurst Park Cross and on down to another cross which has been decapitated. Here a side stream is crossed by an ornate bridge and down below on the river banks are the remains of bathing huts used by pupils of Stonyhurst and the preparatory Hodder Place in past times. The river here has several natural weirs creating suitable bathing pools. It looked tempting today but I think a special trip is called for with support from like-minded friends.


Bathing Huts, Early C20.

There is a steep little climb away from the river towards Hodder Place [now residential apartments] but I didn’t think it was that steep…

A mile of easy walking alongside the Hodder brings one to the Lower Hodder Bridge and of course its historic companion ‘Cromwell’s Bridge’.  He is said to have marched his army over on the way to Stonyhurst and on to fight the Battle of Preston in 1648.  I do have to admire its shapely three arches. Across the bridge, a stile leads me into fields on what would have been the Yorkshire side. You climb high above the river which is not visible at this time of year through the trees. All is peaceful. This is all lovely walking country, green fields, grazing sheep and Lancashire hills. A contrast to the woods I’d walked through on the other side. The medieval Mitton Church could be seen across the way, that’s where I walked a couple of weeks ago by the River Ribble. The rivers meet less than a mile away.

A short stretch of road and I’m back in fields heading down to the Hodder again under Kemple End the eastern limit of Longridge Fell. The Higher Hodder bridge brings me back to my start point – I could almost walk it again.

The Hodder upstream.

                                                            HIGHER HODDER BRIDGE.



  1. Michael Graeme

    That is a beautiful stretch of river, and a gorgeous part of the Lancashire countryside.


    My Memory Map has a marker at SD 682 608 (The Cross of Street) which I have labelled as “Start of the Hodder Way” at some time in the past whilst daydreaming of routes to do. Having checked it out I see it is only 27 miles and I am sure you will either have walked it as one, or more than likely, the whole thing in bits and bats of other walks.

    1. bowlandclimber

      Yes, it starts up there somewhere.
      My mate Pete, the Lytham photographer, set about writing a guide 15 years ago. I walked it as a checking exercise. Unfortunately, he was beaten to the post by Clitheroe Ramblers who produced an illustrated guide book.
      You have done bits of it on Wainwright’s Way and Stocks reservoir walks.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Thanks for your kind comments and for the link to that lovely 1900 picture.
      The bathing huts are still recognisable on the ground, as one of my photos shows. but disappearing under the vegetation. Shame that some at least couldn’t have been preserved for posterity. I imagine the Stonyhurst pupils being marched down their early morning dip. One can see remains of steps, but the river is slowly eroding the banks. The shallow weirs look natural slowing the flow and creating the bathing pools. I had a swim down there this summer, a bit midgy.


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