Higham
There is nothing quite like walking in snow and providing you are suitably shod and wrapped up tramping over miles of the white stuff is an invigorating experience. However difficulties can arise in reaching the countryside especially as narrow country lanes are usually the last to be gritted. Here is a walk that starts just off the A6068 Padiham by-pass which despite its elevation (over 600ft above sea level) is kept open by the dedication of Lancashire County Council’s Highways department. So providing you are able to dig your car from the drive and manage to get off the estate enjoy this walk in a world transformed by snow.

Start. Higham near the Parsonage BB12 9EU
 

Distance: 6 miles 10k

Time: 3 - 4 hours
 

Grade: Moderate

Map: OS OL21 The South Pennines

 

 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions:

1. From the parking area take a footpath close to the gates of the Parsonage.

 

This leads uphill along a wooded path. As this levels out it reaches open meadows. After crossing a stile to the left follow the fence line to intercept the Pendle Way. Turn right and follow the Pendle Way to reach a lane.

 

Turn left. Walk along the lane for 100yds and after passing between farmhouses take a footpath on the right accessed by a stone stile. Go straight across the field to a stone stile.

 

After crossing this turn right aiming for a distant gate in the valley

 

leading onto Haddings Lane. When you reach the lane turn left and when the road bends to the right keep ahead

 

passing the ancient farmhouse of Lower Houses. After a wooden gate

 

the route passes along an enclosed track to enter an area of marshy pasture. Cross a plank bridge and keep ahead to

 

The Old House. Continue on the drive to Lower Lane continuing in the same direction to arrive at Sabden Fold.

2. As the lane bends right turn left pass between buildings

 

take a footpath along a rutted track

 

which soon leads onto pastureland with a wall to the left.

 

For the first part of the walk the direction of travel was mainly northwards. Now it is westwards to begin with contouring below Spence Moor. The only complication occurs after 700yds when the path dips to cross Wood House Brook

 

in a wooed valley climbing out on a path close to a shed to reach the drive of Wood House.

 

From here a farm road

 

leads all the way down to the village of Sabden.

 

3. There are many interesting sights to detain you in this once industrial village and I will not deter you from exploring it. The key to the return route is close to the place where you entered Sabden - the church.

 

Pass by the old school into the church grounds and then exit onto a track to the left of the building.

 

Follow the track to where it reaches open fields at a gate. Through the gate turn right following the hedgerow to a wooden footbridge. Across this keep ahead to intercept a broad farm track. Turn left.

 

Keep on this for almost a mile. At Dean Farm

 

bear right over a stone bridge crossing Sabden Brook. Follow the track to the wall end on the left, turn left and then climb over a stile

 

now heading east with the wall to the right. On this line continue to Stone Fold a large farmhouse.

 

Follow its drive uphill then part way along turn left through a small gate and take a footpath bearing right taking you to the top of the height and continuing to a lane. After climbing down the embankment cross the lane

 

to descend towards Higham on a footpath that funnels you to a green lane at the side of a building.

 

Though tempting to keep on this to the village look for a footpath on the left leading into meadow.

 

After crossing a brook the path climbs to a fence then soon after intercepts the outward route. Turn right for the starting point.

POI Last week I drew attention to Grasmere's difficult time following storm Desmond in December 2015. Sabden too has had a difficult time in the recent past caused not by the forces of nature but by human agency. Local government cut-backs led to the axing of its bus service connecting it to Padiham and Clitheroe. This might have been the death warrant for a thriving village. Fortunately thanks to a well organised campaign by local people ("SOS - Save our Service") the bus service was restored last month.