Ribble Valley Walk - Chatburn and Grindleton
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 January 2018
John Lenehan selects a relatively gentle walk to blow away the post-Christmas cobwebs
After the excesses of Christmas dinner and, perhaps, a slight over-indulgence in the wine and beer department, I thought a gentle walk would suit. In my view, this one from Chatburn ticks the box.
1. Approach the church from the Clitheroe direction then turn left immediately before it and go through a gate stile into the cricket field then, keeping the church wall on the right, go downhill. Cross a gate stile in a wire fence and keep on downhill then follow the path as it bears right between two rows of trees to a stile that leads into a small wood. Cross the stile and follow the path to the River Ribble then turn left and cross a footbridge onto a rough track. Follow the track and cross a gate stile then as the track bears left keep right and follow the riverbank.
Note: Before the opening of Clitheroe Bypass, Chatburn was on the main road to Skipton and the Yorkshire Dales and would have reverberated to the heavy traffic coming and going not only from Lancashire and Yorkshire but, significantly, from the limestone Quarries and Castle Cement Works. The village had its own railway station and sidings at one time and although now only the railway line remains, it all points to what was once a busy place.
2. The path reaches a sign saying ‘No Public Right of Way’ although it’s pretty obvious everyone seems to ignore this and keep straight on following the riverbank. The correct way is to turn left at the sign and follow the yellow markers to a stile into the main road but do not go through the stile as, before it, there is a sign post. Turn right and follow the sign that says ‘Concessionary Footpath’ towards Grindleton Bridge. After a few yards this joins the path that you have just left at the ‘No Public Right of Way’ sign. Follow this as it parallels the road to a stile on the left that leads into the road then turn right. Cross the lovely iron Grindleton Bridge and turn left and follow the road up towards the village. Reach the road junction and turn left following the sign to West Bradford and Waddington.
Note: The Concessionary Footpath is not shown on the OS map. It is for the Ribble Way which on the OS map is shown going along the main road. I suspect this diversion is for safety reasons.
3. Turn left at the footpath sign into Ribble Avenue and follow this down to a stile. Cross the stile and turn right with the river now on the left. Follow the path and cross a footbridge then, keeping the wire fence on the left, go straight on to a metal gate with a stile to the left. Cross this onto a track and turn left and, with the water treatment plant on the right, follow the track then turn right and with water treatment plant still on the right. Follow the path and cross the stile that leads into a field. Bear diagonally left towards the river then turn right and stay on the path as it follows the riverbank downstream. Cross a stile and then a footbridge and keep following the riverbank crossing two small footbridges until eventually reaching and crossing a larger footbridge to a path that leads to a stile into the road.
4. Cross the stile and turn left and follow the road to and over Bradford Bridge.
5. Immediately over the bridge there is a gate stile to the left leading onto the riverbank. Cross the stile and turn right. Now follow the riverbank upstream. Cross the stile by the pumphouse then cross a small field and cross another stile and carry on following the river bank until directly in front there is a red sign saying ‘Private Fishing’. Before you reach the sign, the path passes a bench dedicated to Brian Hartley and here it climbs uphill diagonally right to a stile. Cross the stile and enter a track through a small wood then follow this all the way crossing another stile and on until a stile leads into a field. Cross this and keeping the wire fence on the left follow the path to a wooden stile.
Note: It is hard to think as you walk along this peaceful section of the river that on the right behind the trees is a massive limestone quarry belonging to one of Clitheroe’s largest employers, Castle Cement (now Hanson Cement but still locally known as Castle) of which the production kiln is second only to Clitheroe castle in dominating the skyline of the town. Quite obviously there are plenty of warning notices not to enter the quarry but if you are interested in seeing it, look on Google images where there are some pretty spectacular photos.
6. Go through the stile and turn right and follow the path that runs parallel with the road on the left. This is a concessionary footpath and keep on it until it ends and it turns into the road just before some houses on the right. Keep right and follow the road up towards Chatburn.
7. As the road starts to climb the hill on the left hand side of the road there is a footpath sign that points down a track between the houses. Go down the track with a wall on your right and cross a footbridge then follow a path right then uphill through two stiles and enter the cricket pitch then turn right and go straight on to a metal gate stile. Cross this and turn left into the village then left towards the church.
Walk: Chatburn and Bradford Bridge Round
Start and Finish: Chatburn Village Church. Christ Church.
Distance: 4.4 Miles/7.08 Km
Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Terrain: Easy walking on footpaths through fields along the banks of the Ribble. There are some short road sections. In or after wet weather the route can be muddy so go for boots but, on dry days light walking shoes will be fine.
Map: OS Map OL41 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale
Facilities: There are public toilets in Chatburn close to the start of the walk.
Car Parking: Mainly on roadside.
Roy Porter’s butcher’s shop may seem a strange watering hole but they home make really good pies and a hot pie at lunch time eaten sat on a bench in the cricket field before or after this walk makes a fantastic treat. I particularly like the cold pork pies. The shop is situated in the village centre and is easy to find. Please note they close early at 12:30 on Wednesdays and Saturdays and are closed Sundays. www.royporter.moonfruit.com
Meanwhile, Hudson’s Ice Cream is across from the church. Their home made ice cream is among the best but they also do an excellent bacon and sausage sandwich.They are closed Monday and Tuesdays but open every other day from 9:00 – 20:00. 01200 441305