Hawthornthwaite Fell
The Forest of Bowland is Lancashire’s best kept secret. I would claim it offers walking on a par with its near neighbours the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Though perhaps less scenic than both is has one undeniable aspect that gives it a special appeal – because it is less well known fewer people go there. If you are out to escape “the madding crowd” walk in Bowland – you will see no one! Malcolm’s route below is a case in point. When he led the Dotcom Walkers last month aside from each other’s excellent company we didn’t see a solitary walker all day. 

Start Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead.LA2 9BQ



Fact file:

Distance: 8 ½ miles

Time 4 ½ - 6 hours

Grade: Strenuous. Good skills with map and compass required especially in misty conditions.

Map: OS OL 41 The Forest of Bowland.


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. If the summit of the Hawthornthwaite Fell is a little dull now that the curious trig point is horizontal a visit to the top can be combined with a valley walk along the River Wyre which would serve as a good introduction to the contrasting landscapes that can be found in the Bowland area.

Starting from Stoops Bridge at Abbeystead head away from the bridge on the Wyre Way. In 200yds after crossing the Marshaw Wyre turn right onto a footpath that takes you towards Abbeystead Lake. A short way from the lane turn left then on a faint path


left that climbs steeply through Hinberry Wood reach a stile


leading into pasture land. Go left to arrive at Hawthornthwaite Farm.


Follow the quiet road up the hill, turn right at the junction


and keep ahead as it crosses a brow to the pretty valley of the Cam Brook which drains our fell. At a second cattle grid the brook can be seen descending the fell side with a shooters track on the eastern bank. This track is followed


as far as it goes which is just under a mile from the valley bottom. . When it ends there is good half mile of trackless but not too difficult walking on an easterly bearing which leads to the fence along the summit ridge


which is the followed to the dead trig point.



2. A little easy walking through a strange peaty landscape


leads to a fence junction which is the key to the descent. Leave the summit fence , cross the left hand fence and head north east following a spur to pick up another shooters path above Black Clough. The way is marked by occassional white tipped posts


(Although some are often horizontal.) Once on the track


follow it down to the Trough Road enjoying the views across to Wards Stone and possibly to the Lakes if the day is kind.


3. Once in the valley the delightful Wyre Way path


will lead you back to the start. The river walking


provides a complete contrast


to the moors and also gives you a view of the Duke of Westminster's opulent country residence as you approach Abbeystead.