Monday. 15th February. 6.5 miles. Longridge.
Somewhere I have a small tatty leaflet from many years ago detailing a walk around the outskirts of Longridge with a sketch map showing the route. I might yet find it.
Anyhow, I felt I knew the way so after lunch today I ventured out to join the circuit. The walk keeps to the rural edge of the village for most of the way and hasn’t been encroached upon in too many places by the new housing developments. Below is a more than detailed description of the route with photos of the obvious sections which I intend to provide for local usage.
A good place to join the circuit is on Higher Road near John Smith’s Playing Field and the old Quarryman’s Arms pub where there is parking. Round the corner you go down a cutting, Tan Yard, into old quarry workings. There are some stone houses here, one looks as though it could have been the quarry master’s house, there are good views over the reservoirs to West Lancashire.
On down Tan Yard lane to reach the busy Lower Road.
Almost opposite is a farm lane with elaborate gate posts. It leads to a cheese and meat packing plant. A stile leads ahead, and then you bear right to another stile giving access to a green lane going south. At its end cross the field diagonally towards the far right corner.
Finding a footbridge down on the right and up to the sturdiest stile in the Ribble Valley. A field to Alston Grange Farm.
At the farmyard go round to the left of all the buildings and then rightwards to a stone stile on the Alston Grange farm access lane. Go left here.
At the next lane you turn left onto a path past a collection of eco lodges. At its end go over a stile turn right and follow fields north of the reservoir.
At the end of the field a lane goes left around the reservoirs and then right onto the tarmacked Pinfold Lane. Along here are some bird watching hides on the redundant Alston 3 reservoir.
At the end of the lane [notice the old stone cross base in the field on the left at the corner] you join the busy Preston Road and cross over to follow the pavement past the Franco’s Italian Restaurant and Forshaw’s Yoghurt Dairy until opposite the White Bull Inn a concreted track, the left one, goes towards Daniel’s Farm.
Once through the farmyard a rough track goes across fields over a stile and footbridge to follow the hedge until a metal gate on the right gives access to the football pitches. Go straight across to the car park and then go left through the gates, across the old railway and Shay Lane.
Directly opposite a path goes alongside sawmills to cross a small stream and then turn right up Green Nook Lane.
This comes out onto Whittingham Road near new housing. Follow it left until a turn into Halfpenny Lane. Halfway along you pass the historic Old Rib Farmhouse on the left and a little further take a footpath diagonally left to join Inglewhite Road where you walk up the pavement out of Longridge.
From Inglewhite Road you branch off into Clay Lane. This has been a droving route into Longridge in the past and there was once a clay brickworks along it.
You emerge onto the Chipping road at a bend and walk on until you can take Mile Lane leading up towards the tail of Longridge Fell. I have come this way many times.
At the top bear right and go through trees on a narrow path, which had been a rail line to a small quarry, and then head left up through the park to pass a children’s’ play area and the old tunnel, now blocked, taking a branch rail track into the major Tootle Heights Quarry, You emerge from the park and go left to Higher Road and your starting point.
After a lot of searching I’ve found the piece of paper with a map of the route. It is marked as page 12, but I’ve no idea where it originated from. Perhaps some of my Longridge readers may have a similar copy. I suspect its vintage is 40 years ago. I notice that I didn’t quite follow the suggested route at Pinfold Lane, so I returned to walk the leaflet way past Bury’s Farm. It is poor with broken stiles, indistinct paths and a horror of a farmyard at Bolton Fold, so I think my Pinfold Lane is better despite a little further by the road. I have shown both routes on my map below.
Some years ago a Longridge Partnership Action Group alongside Ribble Valley Borough Council produced an attractively illustrated pack detailing 6 walks in the area, One of these is the same route as the one I walked above.
Another leaflet you may come across details Heritage Walks within the town itself.
These may still be available. The Railway Café Heritage Centre is a good place for information, in more normal times.