Dunsop Bridge - Middle Knoll
When was the last time you used a public telephone box? There used to be over 92,000 of them giving landline coverage to every part of the country. They were marked on OS maps. Now they have been completely superseded by mobile phones to the point of redundancy. These days if they exist at all they are more likely to be locations for the village book swap or defibrillator. This may be the fate of the telephone box at Dunsop Bridge. When it was located there in the 1980s it was in fact the 100,000th kiosk. It was proudly unveiled on behalf of BT by Sir Ranulph Fiennes to mark the fact it was in the settlement closest to the centre of Great Britain as had been determined by the Ordnance Survey. The Centre of Britain is a much disputed claim but do not be taken in by Haltwhistle in Northumberland – the heart of the country is in Lancashire. This walk will put you just over a mile from that spot which is for the record slightly to the west of Whitendale Hanging Stones at Grid Reference SD64188 56541

Start: Village car park Dunsop Bridge BB7 3BB

Fact File:

Distance: 8 miles

Time: 4 - 5 hours


Grade: Distance apart most of the walk is very easy indeed but crossing the saddle between Brennand Farm and Whitendale is strenuous especially in wintry conditions.

Maps: OS OL 41 The Forest of Bowland.


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions: From the car park cross the road to the phone box to have your photograph taken there if the phone box still exists.


Continue along the road passing Puddleducks and then turn right


onto a broad track alongside the River Dunsop. Keep on this as it passes a children's playground on the right and then after a cattle grid enters a broad field inhabited by an isolated barn and in all probability some sheep.


Keep on the track as it brings you to a terrace of cottages. Behind these enter woodland on a footpath leading to a footbridge


across the River Dunsop. Cross and turn right onto a tarmac service road.


The road leads deeper and deeper into the valley. After passing to the right of Bishops House an estate property keep on the road until you reach a cluster of utility buildings connected to the business of water collection.


You are now 1 ½ miles from where you joined the road. Beyond the buildings re-cross the river over a broad vehicular bridge


and follow the road as it climbs the lower slopes of Middle Knoll. Note this feature as the route circles it. When you reach a junction go left towards Brennand Farm.


The road climbs gently for a couple of hundred yards and then descends into what feels like (at least to me) a lost valley. How could such a place exist in crowded Lancashire? The road passes by Lower Brennand Farm


before continuing to Brennand Farm.


If you ever find yourself on the run from the Russian Mafia bear this place in mind!

The next part of the walk crosses the col between Middle Knoll and the high moorland leading up to the roof of Bowland. At the farm keep ahead on a farm track


leading down to bridge across the Brennand River. On the far side follow the track indicated by the attractive signpost of the Peak and Northern Footpath Society in the direction of Whitendale and Dunsop Head.


This will take you up to the saddle.


As the track levels out another sign close to a gate in a wall show you are still on track.


But here the track ends. Traversing the saddle will be easier after prolonged spells of dry weather. After and during wet weather diversions will be necessary to avoid swamps. The OS map indicates you go through the gate and turn right to follow a wall to another gate in a wall at right angles to your direction of travel. Just after the gate a short boardwalk


leads to a path with a small tarn to the left. Keep on the path across very marshy ground to climb over a rise and then descend to Whitendale.


After a kissing gate in a wall the path becomes steep.


As you near the valley bottom it is disrupted by a recent landslip and a diversion to the left it needed to reach the bridge over Whitendale River.

Whitendale is another place the Russian Mafia will never find you. The main farmhouse dates back to mid-19th century and is set back from an attractive green. The way back is right on a service road of surprising quality - after all you are over three miles from Dunsop Bridge.


The road leads alongside the slopes of Middle Knoll rising gently to an impressive height above the river bringing you back to the waterworks at the top of the Dunsop Valley.


From here retrace your outward steps.