Pendle Hill walk
by Northern Life
The immense presence of Pendle Hill has drawn people for centuries as a place of mystery and pilgrimage.
Pendle Hill is just 51 metres short of being a mountain but has a huge presence
This is the high point of the Pendle Way, famous for its breathtaking views and a fascinating history reaching back over 400 years.
Pendle rises above a wild and beautiful corner of Lancashire. On a clear day you can see the sea, just as George Fox did in 1652 on his visionary climb to the summit.
From the top looking North East you can see the Yorkshire peaks of Penyghent and Ingleborough and by walking a little way north west off the summit, you can make out Blackpool Tower.
On a few rare days in the year you can even see as far as the Penmaenmawr headland in Wales.
This 5½ mile (9k) walk can be enjoyed as a circular walk, or as part of the 45 mile Pendle Way and can be downloaded for free from Visit Pendle.
You can buy a Pendle Way pack from the Tourist Information Centre at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford, telephone 01282 677150 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ordnance Survey Explorer map for this route is OL21 South Pennines.
- Start at the centre of Newchurch and take the signposted footpath to the left of the public toilets. After 40 yards turn left over a stile. Cross the field towards a gateway in the middle of the wall, and staying in the field, turn left to another stile in the corner. Follow the field boundary on the right to the corner of Fell Wood.
- Turn right over the stile just before the wood and follow the wall downhill. After 200 yards turn left over a stile into the wood. Take the path down to cross the footbridge, turn right and left, cross the overflow channel and climb the stile into the lane.
- 3. Turn left and continue over a stile past the wood. Where the track bears right, follow the wall to the dam. Take the path up the right-hand side to reach Upper Ogden reservoir.
- Follow the path alongside the reservoir and up the valley to a stile near the stream. Bear right uphill until you reach Boar Clough.
- Climb up the left-hand bank, following the cairns to the top of the clough. Cross the stream and follow it, keeping to the right where it forks.
- After passing two cairns (about 150 metres on) look for a line of cairns slightly to the right and follow these for about ½ km. At the large cairn, turn left, heading northwards to the triangulation point at the Big End of Pendle Hill.
- Continue in the same direction north from the summit. Just before the wall, the path doubles back on itself to begin the steep descent down a cobbled track with steps.
- At the bottom of the track bear right across the field to the right hand corner of Pendle House Farm. Turn left and follow the wall on the left downhill. Bear right across the next field, through the gully and over the stile to pass Brown House Farm. Follow the path near the stream down to the lane at Ings Ends and turn left.
- Turn right on to the footbridge, then left, and follow the path leading to the road at Barley. Turn right along the road to the bus turnaround where a stile leads into the children’s playground. That path takes you through the picnic site to Barley Cabin café and information centre.
- From the entrance to Barley Car Park turn right onto The Avenue and cross the bridge over Barley Water. Turn left at the road junction and then take the next left uphill onto Heys Lane in front of the cottages. Continue uphill for approximately 200 metres and take the stile on the right hand side of the lane. Take the path uphill as far as the farm buildings and then turn right following the farm track up to the road. Turn left taking the road into Newchurch.
Places of interest
The village takes its name from St Mary’s Church, established as a chapel of ease in 1544 to serve the outlying parts of Colne Parish.
Look out for the mysterious eye of God on the church tower, said to represent the all-seeing eye of God.
In 1612 the Pendle Witches confessed to stealing bones from the churchyard to use in spells.
Originally a weaving and farming community, Newchurch has changed very little since the 19th century, as it was too remote for mill development in the industrial revolution.
In splendid isolation, broken off from the Pennine chain and rolling Bowland hills, Pendle Hill is just 51 metres short of being a mountain but has a huge presence.
Its summit – known as The Big End or the Beacon – is the site of a Bronze Age burial mound and was used as a beacon hill to warn of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
The mysterious summit is most famous for its associations with the Pendle Witches of 1612 who lived in its shadow. Their trial at Lancaster Castle is one of the best documented witchcraft trials in the world.
Later, in 1652, George Fox climbed Pendle Hill and had a vision which moved him to found the Quaker movement. The hill is now an international place of pilgrimage.