Dunsop Bridge and Whitewell


Earlier this year we described a walk that went north from the village which is reckoned to be the closest to the centre of Great Britain. Here’s a route that heads south providing wonderful views across the Hodder Valley. 


Start: Dunsop Bridge village car park (pay & display) BB7 3BB. [Note: As this route uses stepping stones across the River Hodder at Whitewell it would be advisable to check the river level there if there has been a spell of wet weather.] 

Distance: 7 miles 11k

Time:  3- 4hours

Grade: Moderate but with a strenuous climb to the col below Mellor Knoll

Map: OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland


Map by kind permission of the Johnston Press 

1. From the car park turn right passing the commemorative BT phonebox on the left


and Puddleducks Post Office and café on the right.


Cross over the eponymous bridge and walk up the brow pass the war memorial


to turn right onto a water utility service road. Follow this for a little under half a mile and then at the farmstead of Closes Barn


turn left on a bridleway (unsignposted) that crosses pastureland


to the Trough of Bowland road. Turn right.


Keep on the road for a little under half a mile and then turn left onto a farm road leading into the substantial farm complex at Hareden. Follow the drive as it bends right to cross Hareden Brook and then in front of a farm house bends left to re-cross it. 

2. Next comes the most strenuous part of the walk. The scale of the task will be obvious as you cross a ladder stile


a short distance from Hareden Brook. The way is up. The bridleway climbs steeply to another ladder stile and then continues just as steeply keeping parallel to the wall on the right until it reaches a ladder stile next to a metal gate at a corner. Cross this onto the open fellside  with the summit of Mellor Knoll to the left. (climb it if you want to but return to this point). After a further gentler and short climb to the brow turn right to cross the broad saddle


below Totridge to a ladder stile. Turn left over this and follow the wall to a wooded corner.


Cross a stile or go through a gate and continue through mixed woodland to climb a stony track


leading up to the edge of a conifer plantation. (Harvesting operations were taking place at the time of writing so it may be this plantation will be much reduced by the time you walk it).


Follow the track and after negotiating an area of wind-blown trees


which will test your flexibility exit the plantation at a wooden gate.


Keep ahead to reach a farm road.


Turn left. Follow this as it leads round below limestone outcrops to Tunstall Ing


and continues to a lane. Turn left. 


3. [If the water levels of the Hodder are high keep on the lane to Burholme Bridge cross it and resume directions from there.] Keep on the lane for 250yds then turn right onto a footpath


close to old quarry workings. Keep on this as it leads downhill to New Laund Farm.


When you reach its drive (at a cheese press)


turn right pass through the farm


and continue through sloping pasture to arrive on the banks of the Hodder. The way ahead is obvious - a set of 56 stepping stones (we know this because Max Mitchell counted them!)


take you across the river. This is a particularly beautiful reach of the river so take time to admire it. On the far side the path takes you into the rear car park of the ancient Inn at Whitewell.


As you reach the main hotel pick up a concessionary path leading from the patio area to the right of the main building.


This takes you through woodland parallel to the road. After crossing a footbridge


it enters fields. Keep close to the right on a path that will bring you to a stile putting you on the road a short distance from Burholme Bridge.


At the bridge turn right onto a farm track


leading to Burholme Farm.


 Pass through the farm and cross a brook by a footbridge. Keep ahead to reach fields


and follow the path with Hodder on your left


all the way back to Dunsop Bridge. As you reach Thorneyholme Hall turn left over a bridge to reach the village.


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