Dunsop Bridge 


The Forest of Bowland is Lancashire’s best kept secret. Here is a landscape in its own way as magnificent at the Lakes or Dales but relatively unknown outside the north west of England. This walk introduces you to the best of it starting at the village identified by the Ordnance Survey at the centre of Great Britain.


Start/Finish: Dunsop Bridge Village car park BB7 3BB

Fact file: 

Distance 9 ½ miles 15k

Time: 4 - 6 hours

Grade: Moderate-Strenuous

Map OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. To begin with you may decide to have a photo taken by the phone box opposite the car park.


There is not much to distinguish it from other phone boxes at first glance but closer examination will reveal it was set there by BT to mark the centre of Great Britain. Walk back towards the bridge and turn right onto a tarmac track just past Puddleducks Café.


Follow this as it leads across fields to reach a row of cottages.


Keep ahead on a path as it enters woods. After 50yds turn right onto a footpath


as it climbs a steep embankment to reach pastures. Confronted with a huge field


bear slightly left aiming for a row of telephone poles and follow these towards a farm, Beatrix. Cross a stile by a wall and then turn left on the farm drive.


After passing the main complex the drive bends right. Immediately after this turn left


onto a footpath leading into pasture. Cross to a fence to the left and then follow this for 700yds on a well waymarked path


to Oxenhurst Clough a deep wooded valley. Cross the stream


and climb up


through trees on the far side. After a kissing gate


keep ahead over rough pasture following a fence to the right. The path meets a farm track at a metal gate. Turn left onto the track.


This leads at first to


The Hey and then continues to Burn House.


After Burn House the farm drive turns sharply right. On the corner immediately after a metal gate with no real clue to assist you cross a broad field


bearing slightly left from the drive aiming for the lower of two conifer plantations. As you reach the wall before it cross a stile


and follow a waymarked path


to the far side.  Close to a wind turbine


now aim to the right of another conifer plantation which will bring you to a fence on the right leading to a ladder stile. Cross a track to a stile and then following a fence on the left cross a stile


to the next field. Here aim for a rooftop to the right. This will bring you to Back Lane in front of holiday cottages at Laythams. Turn left. After 350yds turn left


onto a bridleway. 

2. In one respect the walk becomes easier in that all the tricky navigation is behind you. In another respect it becomes harder in that the really strenuous part begins. The bridleway leads to Burn Side Cottages.


As you near the house go through a gate on the right which soon leads onto the open fell. After crossing a stream the track swings right


and then keeping parallel to a wall on the right


reaches open access land. Keep on the track through a gate and then follow it as it turns sharply left to follow a spur taking you to the top of Wisket Hill.


As the track levels out a wall comes into sight before you. The track swings to the right to eventually converges with the wall and another bridleway coming up from the Hornby Road. Go through the wall at a gate and follow the track in the direction of Whitendale (indicated by a signpost).


This leads across very peaty ground


 and then in 600yds commences the descent to Whitendale gently and first and then more steeply.

As you reach the farm go through the main complex to reach the farm road. Turn left.

3. The walk finishes with a long, but easy walk out back to Dunsop Bridge.  


After a mile the way arrives at the junction of Whitendale and Brennand Valley with the waterworks. After Bishops House and its trees continue for 700yds to a footbridge on the left. Cross this and quickly pick up the path back to Dunsop Bridge.

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