Darwen Tower
The Jubilee Tower above Darwen is a well-known Lancashire landmark looking somewhat like a Dan Dare comic book rocket. (Readers under the age of 60 google!) It was built to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria and the victory of local people for gaining access to the moors. As such then it makes a worthy objective for a walk. 

Fact file
Start/finish: Car park and information point Tockholes Road near Darwen BB3 0PA

Distance 5 ½ miles

Time: 3 - 4 hours

Grade: Strenuous in parts

Map: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press


1. From the car park turn right on Tockholes Road


and then opposite the Royal Arms take the right of two footpaths.


The path taken leads downhill into Roddlesworth Woods.


Keep onto it for 300yds until it reaches a broad woodland track. Turn right. Almost immediately at a fork stay right. Keep on this track providing easy walking for half a mile. At first seen through trees to the left Roddlesworth Reservoir will provide a reference point.


Keep on the track as it climbs up an incline and after levelling out reaches a footpath on the right. (Approximately 100yds after passing the end of the reservoir if it can still be seen some distance below.) The path leads to a metal kissing gate


and a boggy field. Cross the boggy field as best you can aiming to the right of Higher Hill Farm seen ahead steeply uphill. Past through a gate on the left close to the farm, cross a paddock and then a stile


to arrive on the drive of the farm. Turn right passing between dwellings to reach a junction. Turn left and then stay left on a bridleway passing close to a white (off-white? Cream? You decide!) outhouse.


This descends gently to Chapels Lane passing the village pinfold on route. Keep ahead on Chapels Lane as it bends to the right and then left to bring you to the front of the United Reform Chapel.


2. "Chapels" is not a sign-writer's typo - the plural is deliberate except on this walk you will not see the second chapel. Instead turn right into Long Lane


which climbs steeply to return to Tockholes Road. Cross straight over into Weasel Lane.


Now on the Witton Weavers Way keep on this for a little over half a mile. Soon it downgrades from tarmac to a rough track swinging right (south) between fields with great views of Darwen Tower ahead and the surrounding countryside.


After the track dips steeply towards Earnsdale Reservoir it arrives at a junction. Turn left. This ancient track is called "Donkey Brew" perhaps given a hint of past usage.


Follow it as it takes you to the north corner of the reservoir. Still on the Witton Weavers Way keep ahead to enter the upper part of Sunnyhurst Wood. In 200yds a choice is offered when the track divides. Left will keep you high on the edge of woods.


It reunites with the main track after 500yds and then descending steeply to reach a bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left passing a handsome bandstand.


3. Approaching it as you have the bandstand may seem like an isolated folly placed there on the whim of a Victorian grandee but in fact it is an amenity of Sunnyhurst Park the main part of which is just to the north of the route at this point. Incidentally this is the lowest point of the walk and the next part of the walk will take you to the highest point Jubilee Tower in a little under a mile if you choose the direct line or a little over a mile if you take the route described. Just after the bandstand turn right on a broad track leading uphill for ¼ mile bringing you to an attractive lych gate on Sunnyhurst Lane. The direct route to the tower is obliquely left opposite - a footpath between properties quickly leading to the moors. For a less steep approach turn right on the lane


which is a service road for Sunnyhurst Hey Reservoir. After 300yds just before water board houses turn left


and continue for another 100yds. On a slight bend keep ahead on a footpath which crosses a pasture to deposit you on the main route to the tower.


Turn right and keep climbing until you have reached it.


Having completed all the rituals demanded of you when attaining such an objective - selfies, eating you butties, breaking open the bubbly - and having climbed the tower to the very top resume the last part of the walk taking the path to the right of the trig point. This puts you on the escarpment of Darwen Moor.


Keep on this for 700yds where it descends steeply into a wooded valley. Join the track at the base and turn left and then right as it takes you through trees and then onto the starting point.