For the past four years Lancashire Dotcom Walkers have held a bowls contest in July. With a strong contingent from Burnley and equally strong contingent from the Preston area this has produced a classic East-West clash of civilisations. The first contest was held at the Plough at Grimsargh and the next two years we were treated to the fine facilities at Bretherton. By now the Burnley contingent were bitterly complaining that West were enjoying home advantage. So when by chance we enjoyed the benches and use of facilities at Sabden Crown Green Bowling Club for a picnic last summer it was arranged we would hold the 4th Annual Lancashire Dotcom Walkers Bowling Contest there. Little good it did the Burnley Contingent who lost again. Nevertheless everyone was delighted to have visited the club. Several reasons: 1. The situation within “the Hidden Valley” that runs from Whalley to Blacko is lovely. You lift your eyes from the pavilion onto the wooded and enduring hills. 2. The hospitality shown by John Pilkington the secretary and other club members made us feel completely at ease even though most of our group only pay bowls once a year and don’t know one end of a bowling green from another. 3. The amenity itself it outstanding with a beautifully maintained green set in neat grounds with an attractively designed pavilion. It was established in 1991 after Alan Whalley a local businessman saw the potential in an area of waste ground in the village centre. What followed was a great amount of community effort and fundraising supported by local government funding to create a vital asset for the villagers (and Dotcom Walkers) to enjoy. That community spirit is something much needed today as other services in the village are threatened by local authority cutbacks– the library and the bus in particular. The walk described below is an adaptation of the walk we did following the bowls match. We discovered a varied and charming countryside which did much to lift the spirits of the Burnley Contingent as it nursed its wounds following another crushing defeat!


Start/finish: Sabden Village car park BB7 9EW

Distance: 3 miles 5k

Time: 1½ - 2 hours

Grade: Moderate

Map: OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


From the car park turn left onto Padiham Road


and then at the War memorial turn right onto Wesley Street. At the end bear left before the church


onto a service road. Keep on this as it bends right in front of Cockshotts Farm.


There is now a steady climb up a lane towards the next farm marked New York on the map. Just before it turn left onto a United Utilities service road.


After a climb the road levels, goes through a gateway and after passing a valve house continues below the embankment of Church Clough Reservoir. With the embankment on your left


keep on the road passing a handsome property on the right to arrive at a wooden gate close to the reservoir.


Pass through a kissing gate to its right and follow the track that skirts the edge of this attractive upland water. On the northern edge of the reservoir turn eastwards keeping on the track


until you reach the dam end. After a wooden gate in the retaining wall


keep ahead to the next wall on a grassy path leading alongside the slopes of Calf Hill prominent to the left. Through a metal gate or over a wall stile keep ahead over a rise and then angle slightly right to a metal kissing gate


leading onto a substantial track. Keep on this for the next ¼ mile and then where it bears left keep ahead on a less obvious track (or at least it was less obvious to me when the route was checked) that will take you to Clitheroe Road. Go straight across to a broad farm track accessed by a metal gate.


After a farm building


and a wall end take a narrow footpath on the left


which begins a descent through rough pasture to a gateway (with wooden stile).


Continue the line of descent which follows a small stream and then a wall coming in from the right


bringing you to a wooden gate


before a wooded dell. Through this continue downhill with a fence on the right and keep on the path as it bears right soon arriving at the edge of Higher Whins.


Pass a farmhouse on the left and then turn left through a metal gate


crossing rough ground in front of a derelict stable building to reach a drive.


Turn right. Follow the drive pass impressive properties


and then at the next junction turn left onto The Whins which curves round to meet Whalley Road.


Turn left for the village centre.

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