Ribble Valley Inns, part of the acclaimed Northcote group of companies, decided they would like to marry the countryside locations of their establishments with the walks on their doorsteps. With this in mind they approached me in 2013 to help write a booklet of self-guided walks featuring routes from each of the five pubs in the group. So popular the booklet turned out to be that the group wanted to develop the idea into actual guided walks which have been organised for the past three years. The next programme of walks will be launched in a few weeks (see for details). If you cannot wait to sample one of these walks here’s one we did earlier from the Clog and Billycock Pleasington. 

Start/finish: The Clog and Billycock BB2 6QB


Distance: 4 ½ miles

Time: 2 - 2 ½ hours


Grade: Moderate. A gentle walk exploring a little visited part of Lancashire with a steep incline or two.


Maps: OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors.


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


1. Opposite the car park take the footpath which leads narrowly past to the left of a garage


crossing two stiles in quick succession. Dropping gently downhill at first with a hedge on the right bear right at a telephone pole to reach a field corner. Cross a stile


and cross the lane passing Westholme School to your right. As you reach Shorrock Farm to the left continue on a track past cottages to the right. Keep ahead edging a lawn


to a stile. Continue downhill with a fence on your left. After 150yds cross a stile on the left next to a metal gate and continue downhill with the hedge now on your right to a footbridge over Arley Brook.


Cross the brook and as you reach the top of the embankment turn left at first following the brook and then after a depression bear diagonally right to a stile next to the gate. Over this follow the hedge on your right past a farm house


to reach Lodge Wood. The path crosses a drive


and then leads up to a stile by a metal gate.


Cross the stile and follow the wall Woodfold Park Estate. After passing the front of the impressive house of Woodfold Hall Stud the path continues alongside the drive leading down to Further Lane. Here turn left.


2. Keep on the lane for 700yds. Soon after passing the entrance to Ravenswing Farm (on the right) turn left onto a footpath


leading down to a stile and enter a large field. Keep ahead to a stile close to a metal gate. Beyond this the path swings right aiming towards Wallbanks House distinguished by a tall radio mast.


When you reach the lane turn left. You are now on Alum Scar Lane which leads down to Alum Scar Woods. 350yds after joining the lane bear left through a wooden side gate onto a broad track.


Soon this enters the dense woodland descending to a handsome stone bridge over Arley Brook.


On the far side the track climbs steeply to emerge close to Alum Scar House.

3. Now on the Witton Weavers Way you follow it back almost to the door of the Clog and Billycock. Turn right onto a drive


leading towards Close Farm.

Just before the farm entrance turn left on a footpath that takes you across fields to Woodcock Hill Road. Here keep ahead onto the drive of Maiden House Farm.


Keep ahead when the drive bends to the right. The path is well waymarked as you cross fields with the hedge line at first to the left. This path has an elevated feel as it give you fine views across to Darwen Tower. After the trail enters woods close to Butlers Delf


it turns left and then before a property turns right on a path leading up to a stile crossing into pastureland. Over this and keep heading up to the top of the hill.


This modest height provides one of the best viewpoints in the whole of Lancashire. Little wonder then that the Wainwright Society should site a view pointer here in memory to one of Blackburn's most famous sons.


From the top keep ahead towards a stile close to a tree. Do not cross but turn left on a footpath that after a patch of woodland drops down to Pleasington Lane next to the Clog and Billycock.


In our view the best of all public footpaths - one that leads to a public house.

POI Alum: Is a mineral salt. Historically, alum was used extensively in the wool industry from Classical antiquity, during the Middle Ages, and well into 19th century as a mordant or dye fixative in the process of turning wool into dyed bolts of cloth. Alum Scar was developed after King Henry VIII's rift with Rome and the continental supply ceased - a situation that was the equivalent of a hard Brexit!