Whalley Nab from the station.

Another walk below 5 miles from Mark Sutcliffe’s excellent Lancashire guide, this will be the last of his easy walks to test out my knee. The train took some of the strain today. I parked up outside Whalley rail station next to the impressive many arched brick viaduct. This is the longest railway viaduct in the county. It has 48 arches and two have been built to reflect the Abbey in architecture. It took seven million bricks, and they were all made on site of local clay. I hope it will show up later on my photos from on high. The platform slowly filled with shoppers and football fans heading to Blackburn. Being a Bank Holiday I was anxious that the trains would be running but the 11.30 arrived almost on time. It trundled slowly across the viaduct with the River Calder way below. Five minutes later I was the only one alighting at Langho station. The village had a small but colourful floral display.

My walk nearly came to an abrupt end on the narrow clough leading on from Whinney Lane. The enclosed path ran alongside a stream and a storm damaged tree blocked the route. I was glad no one was able to see me crawling through the fallen branches. I only just made it and then realised a family above were watching my antics with interest. Somewhat disillusioned the father made an effort to get through but then decided it was too difficult for his wife and children, and they retreated – I pushed on.

Jungle warfare – there’s a man crawling in there somewhere

Lanes then led up to York, a cluster of houses and an inn, which seems to have had a renaissance as a gastropub. Open ground with gritstone outcrops formed a ridge which would have been good to follow, but my way took me over and down to the dam of Dean Clough Reservoir and across to farm lanes weaving through these hidden valleys. Ahead was always the distant Pendle Hill but nearer at hand was a pointed peak which I later identified as Bowley Hill, there was no obvious way up it and as my knee was hurting I didn’t feel like adventuring.

Bowley Hill.

The ongoing lane was closed due to works on the bridge over Dean Brook, more contortions were needed to outflank the blocked way. Fittingly I next passed Sunny Bank Farm as sheep and lambs were relaxing in the warm sunshine. Just emerge yourself into Lancashire’s finest. A bit of naughty signage, Private No right of Way, had me doubting the onward path but there was an obvious track up to a stile and out onto more open moor. I could have reached this point easily, and possibly more scenically, from the reservoir dam. I took the less obvious way through the woods and emerged onto Moor Lane. I thought I had been here before on either Wainwright’s Way or my Lancashire Monastic Way. Pendle was again prominent ahead as was the transmitter on Whalley Nab. Over to the left was Kemple End on Longridge Fell and the hazy Bowland Hills behind.

The lucky young occupants of the cottage above Nab Side Farm were chatty despite being engrossed in their extensive hillside garden. A little farther round the hillside I took a break overlooking Whalley and its viaduct.

An enclosed and steep monk’s trod challenged my knee ligaments on the way down to the elegant bridge over the Calder.

I passed the old Abbey corn mill, now an apartment block and I noticed for the first time the water wheel preserved within. Somehow I missed the Abbey’s gateways and went through the streets, past the ancient parish church, back to the Station to complete my afternoon’s stroll.

Now could I do something similar tomorrow?


12 thoughts on “CICERONE’S LANCASHIRE – Whalley Nab.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Wish I was in Greece! Enjoy.
      Yes it is perfect for an afternoon if you can link into the rail system. Hopefully the tree damage above Langho should get cleared. It can be avoided by staying on Whinney Lane.
      I’m impressed with the Cicerone Guide even though I can only manage the shorter easier walks at the moment.

  1. Michael Graeme

    Not a corner of Lancashire that I know especially well. An interesting ramble though, and good use of the train. I can’t remember if I’ve been up Whalley Nab or not. I do remember walking from Whalley to Barley – a friend and I had parked a car at each end – and that was a fine route up Pendle.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Can you catch the train from your part of the world up to Whalley? Historic church and abbey to explore, plus some excellent coffee shops.
      As you can see great views from Whalley Nab of Pendle, Bowland (in the haze yesterday} and down to the town and its viaduct.
      Parking cars at each end, which we have all done in the past, is becoming an expensive and dubious environmental luxury – hence the train option.

      1. Michael Graeme

        I’d get a train into Preston, then change. But my train is once every hour or so and notoriously unreliable on account of its vintage. Considering it though for other adventures this year. True, two cars isn’t a good look these days, but my mate drives electric now, so offsets my carbon.

  2. shazza

    Parts of the countryside near my hometown there that I’ve never seen, such as the Monks Trod. I like it up at Dean Clough Reservoir.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      The Monks Trod drops down from Whalley Nab right into Whalley Abbey. Thought to have been from medieval times.
      Surprised you haven’t done a review of the cafés in Whalley.


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