Happy New Year! It may not have escaped you that the benefits of walking were highlighted in several official reports that came out in the old year. One study in particular found that there is just about nothing better than a brisk 20 minute daily walk. Let me tell you a secret…a brisk 20 minute walk is absolutely free! Here’s how to do it. Put on a comfortable pair of outdoor shoes and walk out your front door, check your watch, walk in any direction for ten minutes. Turn round. Walk back. I will not decry gym membership and regular exercise on a machine will have positive health and fitness benefits but that will cost you £200 - £300 a year. Once you are in the walking habit you may want to go further afield to explore the lovely countryside of Lancashire. I know of no better short walk that the one below to introduce the novice walker to the delights of our county. 


Start: Roddlesworth Car Park, Tockholes BB3 0PA


Fact file: 

Distance 5 ½ miles (9k)

Time: 2 ½  - 3 ½  hours

Grade: Moderate

Map OS Explorer 287 The West Pennine Moors


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press 


1. From Vaughn's Country Café and information centre exit the car park onto Tockholes Lane turn left past the bus stop and then continue towards a terrace of cottages


turning right onto a broad track leading out onto the moors. Quickly the elevated nature of this part of the route will become obvious with wide views to the north.


After 600yds the track passes through a small wood. On the far side bear left where the track divides and then cross a stile on the right


leading onto a narrow path that climbs steeply up the flank of Darwen Hill. As it levels out it joins a broader path that continues above the escarpment to reach Darwen Tower one of the county's most prominent monuments.


Inside a spiral staircase will take you to the top for an exhilarating view. Viewing over return to the base and follow the wide track heading north.


Keep ahead on this as it leads to the edge of Darwen and brings you out opposite Sunnyhurst pub. 

2. Turn left and then right through the lychgate leading into Sunnyhurst Park.


Where the path divides take the right fork as it descends into the densely wooded vale. In a little under 500yds you reach the bottom of the valley at a junction of tracks. The visitors centre, toilets and café are to the right - use all three if you like - bur return to this point. After passing an elegant bandstand


the path crosses the stream and turns right.


Keep ahead on the main path with the stream on your left. The path gradually climbs to reach the end of the wood(and park) at a kissing gate close to the Earnsdale Reservoir.


Keep ahead on a narrow stony path that climbs away from the reservoir. After 150yds it reaches a junction. Here turn right.


Soon on a broad track with an open aspect keep on this until it swings round to reach Tockholes Road and a cluster of houses. 


3. Turn right.


After 50yds turn left towards Silk Hall Farm. After passing the farm take a footpath on the right


that leads across two fields to descend to Chapels Lane.


Turn left. After passing the United Reform chapel on the right


follow the lane as it bends first to the right and then to the left passing a terrace of cottages on the left. Keep ahead at the next cross roads to follow an ancient path passing the pinfold on the left to reach other cluster of cottages. At Rose Cottage on the right

turn right on a drive heading towards an imposing house. Before you reach it take a footpath on the left and continue the descent towards Roddlesworth Woods (with  the imposing house to the right). The path is not clear but a direct line will bring you to the metal gate on the edge of the woods.

A short path leads to the main track. Turn left.  In 200yds the track reaches the end of the upper reservoir. Keep ahead through a kissing gate and bear right onto a path that edges near the shore.  


This reunites with the main broader track.


Keep on this for 500yds to reach a junction where a path branches left towards Roddlesworth Information Centre. This will take you back to the starting point.

Printer friendly version