Pendle from the Nick


This time of year is a time of resolutions. Here’s one for you – climb Pendle Hill. Reason 1: It’s a great hill. Reason 2: It is Lancashire’s most famous hill. Reason 3: It’s a hill that can be seen from many points in the county so whenever you see it you will derive a great deal of satisfaction pointing it out and saying to your friends or family, “I’ve climbed that”. The classic ascent starts from Barley village. From the car park turn right onto the main street walk past the Pendle Witch on the left and just before the Methodist chapel on the right turn left onto the Pendle Way. From this point the route is well marked and soon becomes obvious. It takes you up to Pendle House and then on a steep path the slants across Big End to reach the summit ridge. Here switch back for the trig point. Simples! Well…simple but not easy. There are walkers who do not enjoy slopes and quickly become dispirited whenever they see one. Well I have good news to impart. There is a way to the top of Pendle that avoids steep climbing. It does this by starting at the Nick of Pendle and following the route described below. 


Start: Quarry car park on the summit of road connecting A59 with Sabden Nearest postcode BB7 9HN

Fact file: 

Distance 7miles (11k)

Time: 3 - 4 hours

Grade: Moderate and far less strenuous than going up Pendle at the sharp end.

Map OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


1. Cross the road to join a broad track that starts below a recently placed memorial to servicemen who died in plane crashes on Pendle Hill.


Over the next hour the route crosses Pendleton Moor followed by Spence Moor and then dips down to join a path coming in from the right and steep sided Ogden Clough. 

2. There is not much by way of feature to assist you here but look for a faint trodden path to the left. As you gain height a ruined wall appears on the right.


Using this as a handrail follow it as it crosses the ridge to intercept a path above the escarpment of Mearley Moor. As you turn right a prominent cairn will be seen on the high ground before you. This is Scout Cairn placed there to commemorate the special anniversaries of the Scouting Movement in Clitheroe and District the most recent of which was the centenary in 2014.


From the cairn follow the broad path taking you up to the next feature - a circular stone shelter.


Keep ahead to a stone wall which is crossed by a ladder stile.


From here bear right as the track swings round to a second ladder stile over a wall. Now on the summit ridge the way to the top is clear and on most days of the year will have lots of other walkers who have come up from Barley.


The view from the top is one of the best our country has to offer. Since Pendle Hill stands alone there is a 360 degree panorama. To the north lies the Ribble Valley with Clitheroe centre stage. Beyond the town swells the upland of the Forest of Bowland with Waddington Fell and its radio mast to the left of Grindleton Fell and its plantations of conifers. To the north east you will be able to pick out the Yorkshire giants of Ingleborough and Pen y ghent.  At your feet the Black Moss Reservoirs and Blacko Tower. Across from Colne and Nelson the bulk of Boulsworth Hill with Lad Law as its summit and the South Pennines behind. Lokking south and west Hambledon Hill rises beyond Burnley. 


3. From the trig point turn south to quickly pick up a flagged path


which is soon joined by a stream that helps to form Ogden Clough a steep sided valley which will come into view to the left. The path leads to a wooden kissing gate and then crosses the stream. Now continue on a path alas no longer flagged. Where the path forks stay right and soon after arrive at the junction of your outward leg. From this point retrace your steps back to the Nick O' Pendle a little over two miles distant. 

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