Downham

 

As you enter the main street of Downham with St Lawrence’s church on the right you are presented with one of the most beautiful views not just in Lancashire, not just in England, not just in the world but in the entire Universe! The stone cottages little altered in the past couple of hundreds of years slope down to the beck melding into a pastoral landscape of vivid greenery dominated by the brooding presence of Pendle Hill. (Pendle Hill always “broods” by the way – it possesses no other emotion.) First time visitors – especially Southerners – are nearly always lost for words at a scene of such sublime loveliness and if they do manage to articulate it will be in the form of a question – “Is this really in Lancashire?” The good news dear reader is yes it is. So if you have never been to Downham do not wait long and if you have you will need little persuasion to return.

 

Start: Downham Village Car Park BB7  4BS SD 784441

 

 

Fact file:

 

Distance:  3 ½ miles 5.5k


Time:  1 ½ - 2 ½  hours

Summary:  Mainly easy. A delightful circuit close to one of Lancashire's most attractive villages and below Pendle Hill.

Map. OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland

 


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

 

Directions

1. From the car park turn right

 

onto West Lane and almost immediately right onto a footpath.

 

After a gate the path leads across fields at first with the fence line on the right.

 

After passing Longlands Wood (also to the right) go through a kissing gate leading into a wide meadow. Here bear slightly left to pick up a waymarked fence end

 

and then continue to a kissing gate in a corner.

 

Through this continue  over the next field aiming towards the end of Worsaw Hill. After a kissing gate the path follows a stone wall on the left. Just before Worsaw End House turn left through a metal gate

 

and cross diagonally left to pick up a farm drive.

 

Follow this to its junction with West Lane.

 

2.Turn left and then right onto a farm lane

 

which leads up to Barkerfield Farm.

 

At the farm follow the lane as it bends left towards Hookcliffe a large farm complex a little over 300yds beyond Barkerfield.

 

Where the track bears left towards the main buildings go through a kissing gate to the right of a wooden gate

 

to follow a broad grassy track below the open fellside. After the next gate the track ceases to be grassy -

 

keep on it until it brings you to Pendle Road.

 

Turn right and keep on the road for 200yds

 

before turning left onto a footpath

 

opposite a small car park.

3. The path soon leads steeply down into a gully

 

before climbing up left to a broad grassy shelf close to a stone barn  and a pair of benches.

 

(A more inviting place for a picnic we do not know!) Cross a stone stile in the wall below the barn

 

and keep ahead close to the right fence line to cross a large pasture

 

to its far right corner.

 

Continue in the same direction crossing

 

the drive of Clay House (to the right) and after a footbridge

 

keep ahead to the broad meadows close to Downham Beck on the right.

 

Follow the stream to reach the edge of Downham Village.

 

When you arrive on Main Street

 

turn left for the car park.


Points of Interest.
 

Little has changed in the village of Downham since it was used as the main location in the 1961 film "Whistle Down the Wind" starring Bernard Lee, Alan Bates and Hayley Mills. The plot centres on a group of children who in the mistaken belief that an escaped convict (Alan Bates) is Jesus, protect him from the authorities. Hayley Mills (14 at the time the film was made) played Kathy the eldest of the children. However many of the others came from local primary schools nearby - especially in Chatburn. More recently Downham featured in the TV series "Born and Bred" starring James Bolam.

 

Useful websites

www.downhamvillage.org.uk 
 

Where to eat and drink

Village post office, shop and tearoom. Tel: 01200 441242