Clougha Pike
High on the fell below Grit Fell in the Forest of Bowland there is an arresting sight. Three stone boxes stand in line as if ready to accommodate guardsmen from Buck House. These were constructed by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy who studied at Preston Polytechnic (now UCLAN) in the 1970s. On closer inspection you realise that they would be quite unsuitable for sentry duty or even chairs  but nonetheless they make for a worthy objective on this exhilarating walk on the edge of Bowland.

Start. Little Cragg Car Park LA2 9ET GR545617 [Please note that the postcode is an approximation!] There is an element of challenge in this week's walk - finding the location. Confusion will arise due to two elements 1. The postcode covers a wide area. 2. There are a number of "Littledale Roads".

Distance: 7miles 11k

Time: 3 ½ - 4 hours

Grade: Moderate with strenuous bits. Unless proficient with map & compass or GPS do not venture onto the heights in misty conditions.

Map: OS OL 41 The Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale.


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. Walk along the road towards Cragg Farm and at the cattle grid


turn right onto a footpath leading downhill towards a substantial barn.


Soon after passing it turn right alongside a small stream and entering open access land.


Keep ahead to a ladder stile leading onto moorland.


Here pick up an indistinct path that keeps parallel with the wall on the left and climbs steeply at first through peat and heather.


After 500yds the path turns away from the wall and begins to ascend the fell gradually. Keep on it as it passes between grouse butts to reach a substantial landrover track. Turn left.


In less than a quarter of a mile bear right to reach the Goldsworthy boxes which in clear weather would have been in sight for quite some time.


2. Having viewed the boxes, climbed inside them or played at Buckingham Palace sentry duty return to the main track and turn right. Keep on it for the next mile as it passes a junction on the left (to a grouse butt)


and then a shooting hut (a sheltered place to eat your butties)


to reach the broad col between Ward's Stone and Grit Fell. Just before a marker post


turn right on a narrow rocky path that takes you to the summit of Grit Fell.


Besides a cairn and peat and heather there is not much else to see. Continue along the path to a ladder stile.


Once across follow the wall on the right and at the point it becomes a fence cross a stile


and continue across open and at times very boggy moorland in a north-westerly direction.


After a second stile in a fence continue to the trig point.


3. From the trig point turn right on a path that follows the escarpment


to reach a gap in the wall on the left just before a fence coming in from the right.


Continue the descent with the wall to your right and then after a kissing gate


in a dog leg kink carry on with it on your left - but for only 200yds. Before dropping into Little Windy Clough turn right onto trackless moor to reach a conjoined triple cairn. (You'll know it when you see it!)


You may be led to believe this is another expression of Mr Goldsworthy's work. A little distance beyond it is the landrover track you intercepted earlier in the walk.


Turn left and follow it down hill passing through a wooden gate


and soon after crossing a stream to cross


a property on a drive bringing you to Littledale Lane. Turn right for the car park - sorry this entails a bit of a climb!

Note: While the Bowland uplands may have all the characteristics of wilderness they are in fact heavily managed as grouse shooting areas. Until the Countryside and Rights of Way Act of 2000 access to these fells was restricted to just a few permissive paths (such as the one crossing Wards Stone, Grit Fell and Clougha Pike) Sixteen years on from the Act and the Bowland Forest still seems pretty well undiscovered by walkers outside of Lancashire. This may account for the fact that when Malcolm and I checked out this route in September we did not meet a single walker.

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