Lancashire walk - Hameldon Scouts
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 May 2019
John Lenehan devises a route through quarried hillsides to find open moors and stunning views
Looking from the A679 near the junction of the A56, the craggy face of Hameldon Scouts seems particularly dramatic. It appears to be one continuous vertical cliff and not a place to venture but when viewed close up it can be breached.
It is actually a series of quarried faces carved out of the steep sided northern flank of Great Hameldon that rises to 1343ft (409 metres) above Accrington. I worked out a route that took in both and enjoyed a fantastic high level walk with open moor and stunning views.
1. Leave the car park and turn left towards Accrington and then turn left into Hameldon Road and follow this uphill. Ignore the first set of footpath signs that point left and right away from the road and keep on until a sign saying Barley Heights.On the left and opposite on the right is a metal gate with a gate stile. Cross the stile and keep straight on with a wall on the right until a small path appears on the left heading straight up to Hamledon Scouts. Take the path and follow it passing some derelict buildings on the right and eventually the path joins a track that passes two steel posts. Ignore the path that leads left and carry on steeply up towards the Scouts. The track joins another track going left and right with a hollow in front.
Note: The derelict building on the right of the path and ahead further over right is a strange long-sided structure. These are the remains of an army rifle range.
2. Turn left and almost immediately take a small path right leading uphill then keep on the path as it bears left then climbs very steeply before turning right by a pile of stones (built as a guide) and climbs to the top of the Scouts. The path then follows the edge of the Scouts on the right with spectacular views then eventually bears left away to open moors and meets a larger track. Turn right and follow this track. In front there is a pointed pile of stones and just before these the path forks. Keep left and follow it keeping the pile of stones and another pointed pile of stones over to the right. The track forks again and here keep left heading towards the distant farm Windy Harbour. Note: The track passes a small quarry working on the right and it is amazing to see that the natural stone is virtually ready to cut and use. This almost perfect strata must be why the quarry was such a valuable asset. The quarries were owned by Henry Heys and closed in 1909. The track turns right at a deep valley but keep left on a small path with the valley on the right. Follow the path until it reaches the head of the valley and a footpath sign by a wall.
3. Turn right and cross the stream and the stile in a wire fence ahead then turn left. Keeping the stream on the left carry on and cross another stile then with the stream still on the left cross a stile then some boggy ground to a stile. Cross this and follow the narrow path as it follows a wall on the right. The path reaches a stile, cross this and turn left and follow a wire fence on the left on a narrow rather indistinct path. When the wire fence turns left carry straight on and up the steep climb to the summit of Great Hameldon.
4. Turn right at the Trig point from the path you came up on and follow the wider path as it leads over open moor down towards Mary Road well.
Note: During World War 2 parts of these moors were used as bombing decoys. These were called Starfish Sites and basically it was a series of controlled fires laid out in a pattern to simulate a burning town at night during a German bombing raid. The idea was that the bombers would miss the blacked out Accrington and drop bombs on the Starfish Site thinking it the town on fire.
5. The path reaches a narrow well used path junction about 50 metres before a stone wall. Turn left and follow the path that eventually leads towards the radio masts on Hameldon Hill.
Note: Hameldon Hill is 1305 Feet /398Metres high thus allowing its sister hill to be called Great as it is 38Feet/11.6Metres higher.
6. The path reaches a path crossroad. Turn left and follow the track marked Burnley Way on the map. The radio station is now on the right. Keep on the track towards a post with a yellow footpath marker on it. The path eventually follows a wall on the right. Keep on the path following the wall and at the point where the path forks keep right and follow the path and wall on the right downhill. The path in wet weather becomes a stream but it is easy to negotiate either side. The stream turns right through a gap in the wall but the track keeps straight on following the wall. Keep on the track until it joins a main track going right that heads downhill to join Hameldon Road and the start of the walk.
Start/finish: Hapton Inn car park Accrington Road Hapton. Please ask to park or call if a large party.
Distance: 4.9 miles/7.9 kms
Terrain: Steep up the Scouts and some rough paths that can be muddy. NOT a walk to attempt in mist as the top of the Scouts have vertical crags and open quarries so wandering off the paths could be disastrous.
Time: 3.5 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL21 South Pennines
Facilities: No public toilets on route.
Watering Hole: The Hapton Inn. Locally brewed real ale, good food and friendly staff.