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Lancashire walk - Newchurch in Pendle

PUBLISHED: 18:08 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 18:09 26 October 2018

Newchurch is famous for the witches but its location is spectaular

Newchurch is famous for the witches but its location is spectaular

john Lenehan

John Lenehan grabs his broomstick and takes us on a journey through some of Lancashire’s loveliest countryside.

The view back to the village of NewchurchThe view back to the village of Newchurch

I planned this walk as a friend and I had to be back early to watch a football match and, as he lives in Padiham, I pored over the map looking for a shortish route near his home. I also knew the Fence Gate had a reputation for excellent food and good beer so the start was pretty much decided on.

It has been years since I had visited Newchurch in Pendle so I decided the circular walk had to visit the village and devised what I thought would be a pleasant route. What I didn’t anticipate was just how beautiful the walk would be.

1. Leave the car park and turn right heading towards Padiham and pass Church Cottage on the right then turn right and follow the track up to a footpath sign and a stile. Cross the stile and follow the path as it goes between the village hall and what appears to be a school to a gate stile. Go through and carry on up the field with a small stream on the right. Keep on and about two thirds up bear diagonally left to the corner of the field and cross the stile in the fence then keep straight on towards a white house that is Meadow Top and a gate with a stile on the left. Cross the drive of the house bearing diagonally left to a stile in a wall. Cross the stile and turn right and follow the wall. Then, as it turns right, keep straight on but bearing right to a stile on the right in the corner of the field. Cross the stile and carry on uphill bearing slightly left. There is a new looking house ahead and there is a stile to the left of it, head for that and reach a lane and cross the stile opposite and go uphill towards the cottages of Bank House and a white gate with a stile. Do not go through but turn left at the gate and, with the corner house on your right, keep on but bearing diagonally right to a wooden electricity pole and a stile on the right in a fence. Cross the stile and bear diagonally left up to a gate stile in front of the white buildings of Haddings Head.

Go through the stile into a track and turn left and follow the track down to a steel gate and go through this onto the main road opposite Stump Hall Road. Turn right and follow the road uphill and pass the road to Roughlee on the right.

St Mary's Church has thre 'Eye of God' carved on the steepleSt Mary's Church has thre 'Eye of God' carved on the steeple

Note: In medieval times the village got the name Fence as there was fenced enclosure to confine the King’s deer.

2. Just as the road starts to go downhill there is the corner of a stone wall on the right with two big boulders in front of it. There is a gate stile in the wall; go through this and start bearing slightly left and contour the hillside on the right to reach a post with a footpath marker on it follow the direction arrow stile bearing diagonally left. Below on the left is Higher Town farm with a horse exercise yard. Reach a gate stile in a wall and go through this and downhill keeping diagonally left reach a stone wall and then turn right and with the wall on the left keep on to a metal gate with a stile up some stone steps to the left of it. Cross the stile and head straight for the buildings of Tynedale Farm eventually reaching a wall corner on the right with a wire fence coming down hill to meet it. Cross the stile in the wall and turn left and with the wall on the left keep on to a wooden gate and into the yard of Tynedale farm then keep straight on and follow the track out of the farm.

3. Keep on to a track for about 20 metres and on the left in front of a small cottage is a track with a steel gate with a stile to the left and a footpath marker saying Pendle Way. Cross the stile and follow the track onto a steel gate with a stile on the right. Cross this and carry on following the track all the way up to the road then turn right towards Newchurch in Pendle. Follow the road until it joins the main road into the village and turn left and follow the road passing the gates of St Mary’s on the right.

Note: It would be impossible to visit Newchurch in Pendle and not think about the Pendle Witches. Witches Galore, the only shop and tearoom in the village, sells virtually anything to do with the Pendle Witches ranging from dolls to a good range of books. The village itself was the home of the Demdike family. Old Mother Demdike was supposed to be one of the leading witches. Below the clock on the tower of St Mary’s CofE Church is a stone carving depicting the all-seeing ‘Eye of God’. There is also a grave of one of the Nutter family.

4. As you reach the village centre there is a road sign saying ‘Roughlee 1 Mile’ pointing down the road ahead that forks right. On the same post there is a footpath sign saying Public Footpath to Playing Fields and Spenbrook. This points across a little courtyard in front of some houses to a path to the right of No 27, a white painted cottage. Follow the path over some cobbles and downhill past some playing fields on the left and with a stone wall on the right keep going passing the gate into the churchyard on the right then as the path forks keep right. Keep to the right of the football pitches and follow the path and wall passing behind some new looking houses on the right. Now with a hedge on the right reach a metal gate stile, cross this and follow the path past the sewage works and enter a tarmac road then turn left and almost immediately on the right is a gate stile and footpath sign.

Cross the stile and go straight onto another stile, cross this and carry on going steeply uphill with a wire fence on the right that eventually turns into a wall and reach another stile in a wire fence. Cross this and then as the path reaches behind a farm building of Higher Spen Farm turn right then cross the stile in a wire fence and bear diagonally right to the far corner of the field and cross the stile and carry on with a wooden fence on the right. Cross another stile and keep on until a metal gate on the right with a wooden gate stile. Cross the stile and turn left and with the wall on the left pass behind the radio mast then follow the wall as it turns right downhill to a stile that leads into a small farmyard. Cross the stile and the yard and go through a wooden gate into the farmyard proper and onto the main road. There are some metal gates at the main road and the footpath is to the left of the left gate post wall through a small ginnel. Join the road and turn left and follow the road as it bends right then left to a point where a smaller tarmac road joins from the right. There is a sign saying Borough of Pendle Old Laund directly in front.

5. There is a footpath sign and stile on the right just before the small tarmac road. Cross the stile and follow the path with a hedgerow on the left and then bear right and follow the wire fence on the left that goes behind Rigg of England Farm then go through a gate stile and follow a track for a few metres then turn left and cross a metal stile by a wooden gate and go across the field to a stile in a wire fence and cross that.

Bear slightly right through a steel gate and onto a small footbridge, cross this and the stile opposite and keep straight on downhill towards Higher Fencegate Farm. Cross a stile by a steel gate onto a road at the farm and turn right and follow the road. Do not be tempted to take the first stile and footpath sign on the left.

Note: The name Rigg of England is the name of the farm and this is taken from the nearby hill with a triangulation pillar at 922ft.

6. Follow the road and there is a sign saying Higham and almost directly opposite on the left is a footpath sign and a stile. Cross the stile and head downhill with the hedgerow and a wire fence on the right to reach a stile on the right. Cross the stile and go down some steps into a stream bottom then climb out up the opposite steep bank and turn left and go downhill with the stream on the left until the path joins the path that set off from the Fencegate and the start. Retrace the route back to the car park.

Compass points

Start/finish: The Fence Gate car park. Please ask permission as there may be a wedding or function.

Distance: 4.3miles/6.9klms

Terrain: easy walking on footpaths with some short road sections. One steep uphill out of Newchurch in Pendle. Good boots will be fine.

Refreshment: The Fence Gate and the White Swan

Facilities: Public toilets in Newchurch

Map: OS Map OL12 South Pennines

Watering Hole: The Fence Gate

An excellent pub and brasserie with real ale and one of the best steak pies I have eaten. Not far away is the White Swan, now holder of a Michelin star. The Sparrowhawk in Fence also gets good reviews as does The Forest. You’re spoilt for choice.

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