Trough of Bowland

Here is a challenging walk in the wilds of the Forest of Bowland. 

Start/Finish: Small car park on the summit of the Trough Road between Abbeystead and Dunsop Bridge.BB7 3BJ
Fact file:
Distance 11 miles 18k
Time: 6 - 8 hours
Grade: Strenuous - nearly all of it!
Map OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland


1. The walk starts benignly enough with a downhill walk towards Dunsop Bridge.


At the bottom on the hill after the road levels out turn left onto a bridleway


at Trough Barn. This quickly begins to climb on a broad track. After half a mile the track reaches open moorland 

to climb more steeply to a wall. After this the gradient eases as you cross the saddle of Whins Fell to arrive at a wooden gate in a fence. Through this and with a fine view of Brennand Dale 


below follow the track as it descends steeply towards Brennand Farm. This path is unusual in that it has a name - Ouster Rake. "Ouster" is the old English name for "Bloody steep track". Decency prevents me from giving the Anglo Saxon version.


The path is obvious all the way to the farm. Here after passing the farmhouse


turn left on another bridleway which after going through a couple of gates crosses the Brennand River and then commences a steep climb towards Whitendale.


This takes you up to a col between below Middle Knoll. When you reach a wall junction close to a small tarn and before the bridleway descends into Whitendale - stop!


2. You'll need to pause to contemplate the next and steepest climb of the day before you as you turn left. With the wall on your right commence ascent and at a rusty gate go through it and continue up the steeper slope without a path to assist you. As it levels out the wall disappears to be replaced by a fence. For the remaining part of the walk fences and walls will be an invaluable navigational handrail as you tramp across these wild remote moorlands. Follow the fence across a broad ridge which after prolonged spells of wet weather can be excessively boggy. After ¾ mile you reach a scattering of wind eroded rocks - Whitendale Hanging Stones which happen to be close to the geographical centre of Great Britain as determined by the Ordnance Survey.


You may want to spend a little time deciding which tuft of heather marks the actual centre - to the left of the fence. Grid reference SD64188 56541. After this interlude follow the fence up to the next feature - the scattering of rocks at White Crag presently the site of a seagull colony.


¼ mile after this meet a junction close to a wall. After passing through a wooden kissing gate follow the wall up to the trig point of Wolfhole Cag set in field of large boulders.


3. On a clear day you will be able to view much of the route back to the car park. If it looks a long way that's because it is - over 4½ miles. Continue along the ridge with the wall to your right.


In just under ½ mile reach a fence and a stile over which you enter Clougha Access area. Unusually there is a sign post to help you here.


Turn left in the direction of Miller's House and Tarnbrook. The first section of this walk is rather awkward


as you negotiate frequent bogs and peat hags but after crossing a stile the fence to the left is replaced by a wall and as you cross Brennand Great Hill the walking becomes easier underfoot - a welcome respite. You may wish to make a short detour to examine the Elephant Stone (not marked on the OS map)


to the right of the route. Back on the path follow the wall down to Millers House. If there ever was a house here no trace can be seen now but you will be able to pick out the shape of mill stones that were made here in the distant past.


At Millers House there is another sign post but not helpful to you. Your way is ahead following the fence


without the aid of a path to the summit of Whin Fell. ½ mile after Millers House you reach Brennand Tarn - an almost secret patch of water and little visited because of this.


With the aid of a gate to its left by pass it to resume the line of travel to the summit of the fell - most certainly easier written than done. At the summit there is a junction of paths. The trig point is a little further


if you want to bag it but the way down is through the kissing gate and follow the fence to the right down to the Trough Road.