Ribble Valley walk - Hurst Green and Longridge Fell

PUBLISHED: 09:04 14 January 2020

BOwland Fells from Spire Hill

BOwland Fells from Spire Hill

John Lenehan

Stride into the new year with this glorious walk on Longridge Fell and enjoy the spectacular views

Stonyhurst CollegeStonyhurst College

With its summit standing at 1,148 ft/350 metres, Longridge Fell presents walkers with a long gradual climb from its namesake town of Longridge or shorter but very steep climbs from Chipping or the Hodder Valley. I worked out an in-between route from Hurst Green, that is not overly long and not overly steep but has plenty of magnificent views.

1. Leave the car park and turn right towards Stonyhurst College then just before the gatepost of the drive of the college turn left at the footpath sign into a track then at the fork keep right. Carry on and then go left and cross a stone bridge over the stream. Keep left and go uphill then as the track joins a wider track keep right and follow the track up to the buildings of Greengore.

Note: Greengore was once a shooting lodge for the Shireburn family.

The path can get quite muddyThe path can get quite muddy

2. The track turns left into Greengore but don't follow it, just keep straight on to a wooden gate. Go through the gate and carry on along the track to another gate with a stile to the right, cross the stile and keep straight on. Do not be tempted by the wooden footbridge on the left. Keep on to another gate with a stile on the left, cross this and keep on the track to a metal gate and go through this.

Once through the gate, look diagonally left uphill and there is a ladder stile crossing a wall. Head directly for the stile, there is hardly a sign of a path up to it. Cross the stile and bear diagonally right uphill and pass a large patch of gorse bushes then keeping these on the left carry on until down to the left the buildings of Huntingdon Hall can be seen. Keep straight on and pick up a wire fence on the left then follow this until it reaches a stile and steel gate into Huntington Hall Road.

Go through the gate as the stile is rickety and turn right and follow the road, do not be tempted to turn left at the footpath sign with a road to Goodshaw Farm. Keep straight on, passing some buildings on the left and stay on the road until it reaches the main road, Old Clitheroe Road then turn right.

John on Longridge FellJohn on Longridge Fell

3. Reach a house on the left and turn left up the narrow tarmac road. There is a sign saying Dutton Doghouse as you turn left. Follow the road up hill until it reaches the magnificent gates of Dutton Doghouse, a boarding kennels and cattery.

At this point keep straight on, crossing a little footbridge then along a little footpath to a wooden gate and a stile. Cross the stile. There is a sign saying 'Welcome to Open Access Land'. The path onwards is very indistinct but keep the wire to the right and keep straight on uphill to a stile and cross this. The path goes right then left and then goes straight on towards a pine wood.

Follow the path and as it enters the wood it forks right. Do not go right but keep straight on, it doesn't look like a path as a fallen tree is hiding it, bypass the fallen tree and pick up the path beyond it and follow this through the wood up to a metal stile in a wall that leads out onto the summit ridge, go through the stile and turn right and follow the path with the wall on the right until it reaches the Triangulation Pillar on Spire Hill, the highest point of Longridge Fell.

The summit of Spire HillThe summit of Spire Hill

Note: Longridge Fell is the most southernly fell in England. It is bordered by the River Hodder and River Ribble and provides magnificent views, particularly towards Chipping and the Bowland Fells.

4. To the right of the Triangulation Pillar a stile crosses the wall, cross this and then, with the wall on the left, follow the path into the woods. There is an old stile and a path going right, do not go right, keep straight on into the woods on a narrow path.

The woods are very dense but the path is obvious at first but at one point fades. There is a ruined moss covered wall on the left and where this ends, turn right and after a short distance left and join a wider track and turn left. Follow the wider track with a ditch on the right downhill.

Note: There was a large area of storm damaged trees blocking part of the path when we did the walk. Extreme care must be taken negotiating these if this is still the case.

5. Eventually the track joins a very wide forestry track. Turn left and follow this. There is a point where footpath signs point left and right, ignore these and keep on the track. Eventually the track reaches a junction with a track going right, ignore this and keep straight on going slightly downhill.

There is a yellow footpath arrow on a post on the right, turn right and follow the footpath uphill at first, then downhill through the very dense woods. Go straight across a main track and keep following the path through the woods.

The path reaches an area of cleared trees and becomes indistinct but keep going down hill passing an old quarry working with a pond on the right to reach a stile that leads into the main road. Cross the stile then turn left. There is a building on the right and just past the gates there is a stile on the right, cross this and with building on the right go downhill to a stile by a metal gate.

Note: To the left is a working quarry that produces Longridge Sandstone. It has been family run for 40 years. Given that the majority of the older buildings and Stonyhurst College are built of sandstone, quarrying in this area must have been happening for a very long time.

6. Cross the stile and bear diagonally left towards the buildings of Fellside Barn, crossing a stile in a wall on the way. Keep to the left of the first building, there is a yellow footpath arrow on the fence, and carry on to a wooden gate leading out to a wide track. Turn right and follow the track and as it forks keep right and go through a wooden gate, keep straight on ignoring the wooden ladder stile on the right to a stile that leads out into a field. Cross the stile and straight ahead there is a stream gully. Go into the gully and with the stream on the right reach and cross a stile, then cross the stream and with this and a wire fence on the left carry on downhill until a metal gate that leads into a track to the right of a small house near Stock Bridge. Go through the gate and follow the short track until it reaches a tarmac road then keep left and follow the road.

7. There is a road to the right with a sign saying: 'Stonyhurst: Main Entrance: Golf Club'. Turn right and follow the road until it reaches the main entrance gate of Stonyhurst, then turn right and follow the main drive back into Hurst Green and the car park passing the beautiful almshouses on the left.

Note: I wrote about Stonyhurst in my last walk from Hurst Green and this can be found in the Lancashire Life archive online. I didn't write about the magnificent almshouses that were donated to the village by the Shireburn family. The houses however were originally built on Longridge Fell and moved to the village in 1947.

COMPASS POINTS

Start/finish: Hurst Green Village Hall car park

Distance: 7 miles/11.2km

Terrain: Mostly on good tracks the summit but the return is through thick pine forest and the paths can be incredibly muddy in or after wet weather. The section from the road near Leeming Quarry to Stocks Bridge can also be muddy. Boots and gaiters are a must.

Time: 4.5 hours

Facilities: Public toilets in village.

Refreshment: Millie's Café, Hurst Green. Owned by the lovely Maxine who supplied us with delicious homemade cakes and lashings of tea. Extremely friendly staff and a good selection of excellent food. It is open Tuesday to Sunday. Plan to do this walk when Millie's is open, you will not be disappointed. 01254 826039.

Map: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors and OS Explorer OL 41 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale.

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