Some places are not particularly inviting to the countryside walker and therefore tend to be overlooked or (even worse) dismissed. The area close to Clayton-le-Moors is an example of this. Squeezed between large industrial estates and close up and to the M65 it is not outwardly appealing. Yet as this route demonstrates, the area has a great deal of merit to compensate for the intrusion of the 21st century bustle.
Start: Close to Sparth House Hotel and Restaurant, Clayton-le-Moors BB5 5RP SD 748 314
Distance: 5 miles 8.2 k
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Summary: Easy - farmland and canal towpath
Maps: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors
Map by kind permission of the Blackpool Gazette
Directions: 1. Opposite the hotel on Whalley Road is the entrance to The Woodlands. The route does not go into this delightful amenity but crosses to Warwick Avenue and continues alongside the park. Readers who feel they are being cheated need to be patient. (Incidentally Hyndburn Council have made the trails friendly for those with disabilities as part of its "Wheels for All" programme). Pressing on with patient readers keep ahead to where the road turns to the right and join a footpath alongside the woods
on the left and a major pipeline project on the right. A narrow corridor between is the right of way.
(The United Utilities pipeline project started in summer and will continue for another year.) After a kissing gate the walk assumes a more rural character. Keep ahead to a second kissing gate giving out onto a farm track.
Turn left. The track quickly leads to a cottage.
Just before it turn left through another kissing gate to enter woods. Follow the broad track and where is divides after 250yds bear right
following a wall to the right which soon reaches open ground close by playing fields on the left. (These are The Wilson Playing Fields BB5 5SD and might provide an alternative start but the car park was locked when the walk was checked).
The footpath reaches a drive amongst trees.
Keep ahead to follow the path behind properties at first on the left and then between fences left and right. At the corner turn right.
2. Follow the enclosed path to reach a stile leading out into a field.
Skirting the edge of Clayton Hall Farm on the right follow the path to a stile leading onto a track.
Follow the track up to Red House Farm
and follow it as it turns right through the cluster of buildings. In a little over 100yds from the farm turn left onto a green lane.
This leads to Lower Moor Side Farm.
Keep ahead on the broad track
and as it turns left to another farm continue on a footpath through a metal gate.
Ignore the waymark pointing right and continue on a grassy track that leads to Syke Side Farm on Burnley Road on the edge of Altham.
3. Turn right and after 100yds
turn left onto a broad unsurfaced lane. Where this divides go left in the direction of Old Engine Cottage.
This leads to a large yard mainly used for vehicles.
Pass to the left of the cottage and go through a stable yard
to reach the field behind. The path leads up to a stile close by an industrial estate.
Over turn right on a difficult to discern path that leads almost improbably to another stile.
Across this turn left and follow the fence to reach a metal gate close by a pair of large containers.
Turn right and after passing through the gate bear right in the large pasture towards the end of a remnant hawthorn hedgerow.
Here enter a green lane that is not quite an avenue to reach a ruined farm.
Behind the ruins a stile leads onto a path
leads onto a path that soon brings you to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
4. Turn right. In less than 2 miles this will take you back to Clayton-le Moors. Exit at Bridge 114B.
Though very close to the M65 motorway the waterway offers superb views - especially cross towards the Ribble Valley and the Bowland Fells.
POI: Memorial to the 1883 Moorfield Colliery Disaster.
This sombre reminder of the true price of coal can be seen by coming off the canal at the Pilkington Road Bridge No 114c. 68 men and boys (some as young as 10) perished in the disaster.