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Lancashire walk - Barnoldswick and Castleber Hill

PUBLISHED: 10:57 14 November 2015 | UPDATED: 14:41 04 April 2016

Climbing Castleber Hill

Climbing Castleber Hill

john lenehan

John Lenehan takes his passport and criss-crosses the border into Yorkshire for a surprisingly pleasant hike

The Greenberfield LockThe Greenberfield Lock

Sometimes a walk is a surprising experience. When my friend John Serjeant suggested this walk all I knew of Barnoldswick was that it is the home of Rolls Royce and not a place that I had thought of as a walking area. How wrong I was, the whole area is beautiful and this walk in particular is a really pleasant easy amble with a lot of history, and the start and finish is particularly good for those with a hearty appetite. Just one more thing - the route briefly crosses the border into Yorkshire...but we survived.

1. Leave the Greenberfield Lock picnic area and follow the road back to Skipton Road. Just before reaching the road a track runs left and parallels main road towards the Rolls Royce factory. As the track joins the main road and just opposite the factory cross the road right to a footpath sign and stile marked Pendle Way.

Note: The turbine blades for Rolls Royce jet engines are made here. The company used to suffix its engines with RB for example RB211. This stood for Rolls Royce Barnoldswick.

The Holy Well at Thornton ChurchThe Holy Well at Thornton Church

2. Cross the stile and climb uphill towards the church St Mary Le Gill. It appears the path goes through a rather uncomfortable hole in the churchyard wall but on reaching it there is a hidden stile to the left of this. Once in the churchyard turn right along the path then left in front of the church tower towards a gate with a Commonwealth War Grave plaque on it. Reach the gate then turn immediately left down a narrow path the leads down some steps to a stone footbridge then uphill to a stile into the golf course.

Keeping a lookout for golfers and golf balls cross the course going straight on from the stile towards a copse of pine trees. Keep to the left of these but keeping the same line and there is a yellow footpath sign pointing through the trees ahead to an iron gate stile. Once through this keep straight on slightly left of a telegraph pole eventually dropping downhill to a stile leading down to the main road at the corner of a wire fence.

Cross the road and go right uphill past Thornton Church then a row of Alms Houses to the junction of the A56 then turn left by a clock then past a set of stocks into the village of Thornton in Craven. Now you are in Yorkshire.

Note: It is worth taking a look in the churchyard of Thornton Church as there is an original Holy Well. There is an information plaque about this in the churchyard. There is also an interesting plague stone over the centre Alms House.

Smiling Faye at the Lock Stop CafeSmiling Faye at the Lock Stop Cafe

3. Follow the A56 as it enters the village centre and there is a yellow sign for a school. Turn left immediately at the sign onto a narrow tarmac lane. There is a footpath sign but this is slightly hidden. Follow the lane past houses until it reaches open fields passing between wire fences on either side.

4. A single steel gate appears on the left, go through this then diagonally right crossing a stream on a stone slab to a stile at the foot of Castleber Hill. Climb to the summit of the hill and admire the beautiful view then bearing slightly left head down towards a gate at the canal.

5. Join the canal towpath back in Lancashire and keep straight on with the canal on the right.

6. Cross the canal at the changeover bridge and continue on the towpath with the canal on the left.

Note: Changeover bridges were designed so that when the towpath had to move to the opposite side the horse pulling the barge could cross over without the need to have its tow-rope removed.

Pass two sets of locks then under a bridge and reach Greenberfield Lock. The picnic area and finish are just to the right.

Note: From Greenberfield Lock canal-wise it is all down hill as this is the highest point of the Leeds and Liverpool canal to either Liverpool going west or Leeds going east. The canal is 127 miles long and in June 1985 Ted Southworth a Clayton-le- Moors Harrier ran the whole length of it in 28.5 hours.

Watering Hole

Sometimes walks come with problems and the problem with this one is that it is too tempting to stay at the wonderful Lock Stop Café at the picnic area.

One local produced bacon and sausage butty could easily be followed by a second. However it is worth forcing yourself to do the walk and, around the top of Castleber Hill, start dreaming of a chunk of homemade cake served by the ever-smiling Faye and Sue. There are of course many cafes and pubs in Barnoldswick.

Compass points

Greenberfield Locks and a foray over the border

Start and Finish: Greenberfield Lock picnic area on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and is off Skipton Road in Barnoldswick.

Terrain: Easy walking on decent paths, open fields, and canal bank. Light boots or walking shoes are quite adequate.

Distance: 3.65 miles/ 5.87km

Map: OS Explorer

Facilities: Toilets at the picnic area.

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