Downham and Pendle Hill

Over the hill to pretty Downham and onwards to the top of the iconic Lancashire landmark.

Technical sheet
No. 18458995
A Sawley (Lancashire) walk posted on 14/01/22 by Walks from the Door. Update : 14/01/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 6h25[?]
Distance Distance : 10.53mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1850ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1850ft
Highest point Highest point : 1811ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 233ft
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Sawley (Lancashire)
Starting point Starting point : N 53.914988° / W 2.341518°
Download : -


(D/A) Walk to the rear of the Spread Eagle car park opposite the pub, and in the far left-hand corner, behind the trees, climb a concealed stile into a field. Cross the field behind Sawley Abbey, keeping well to the left of the abbey grounds.

(1) Go through a gap in a broken wall and cross the next field to a kissing gate into a farm track. Cross straight over through another gate and follow a tree-lined path alongside a small stream, which it shortly fords. Continue uphill to a kissing gate into a field.

Cross the field to another kissing gate (next to a farm gate) which leads out to the A59.

(2) Cross with care and join the farm drive opposite. The drive bends left but the path crosses a stile in the fence and continues straight ahead to a gateway, and then to a stile at the far side of the next field. Climb the stile and walk down the left-hand side of the field with views ahead of Pendle Hill.

In the far corner, climb another stile and cross the next field diagonally, still heading directly towards Pendle. A further stile leads to a steep valley side; bear left then right down to Swanside Bridge, before which is another stile.

(3) Beyond the bridge bear left and climb a stone step-stile in the wall. Walk up the side of the field with woodland on the left then bear left through a gateway and continue to a bridge under the railway.

(4) Keep following the woodland edge through a gate and out to a road (Green Lane). Take the driveway opposite, then turn right through a kissing gate into a field with limestone outcrops.

There is no obvious path on the ground here: aim to the right of the largest, tree-covered knoll, then follow the bottom of the slope on the left, heading towards the wood at the far end of the field.

(5) Bear left over the ridge as you approach the trees and follow the wall along the edge of the wood. Descend past a shallow, disused quarry to a kissing gate, then continue to another.

Turn right and follow the lane in front of a bungalow on the right and out to the village by the church. Turn left past the Assheton Arms and walk down the main village street, keeping right past the stocks and phone-box and passing the old school on the left and a small car park on the right.

(6) Just before the bridge over the beck at the bottom, take the road on the left, with the stream on your right. Stay alongside the stream past some cottages then cross a small stone footbridge.
Turn left past more houses and walk to the end of the metalled road, and go through a kissing into fields with the stream on your left.

(7) Leave the stream temporarily to cross a field to a kissing gate, then continue with the stream on your left. After another kissing gate, ignore a bridge over the stream, continuing gently uphill along the right-hand bank.

Cross a footbridge over a side-stream and proceed between fence and stream to the track to Clay House Farm. Take a few steps towards the farm then turn right, uphill through a gate. After a couple of fields divided by stone wall stiles, you will reach a stone barn with a couple of benches.

Turn left and then right over a stile, up steps through trees to a road.

(8) Take the path onto access land opposite, with the dividing stream valley now on your right. The path ascends fairly steeply to a stile, then levels off a little to a gate, before continuing to the foot of the final steep slope.

A couple of zig-zags leads breathlessly to the top, where you continue to a kissing gate in a wall, near a cross-shaped shelter. An obvious winding, stony path leads there and back to the trig point at Pendle Hill summit (558m).

(9) Returning to the kissing gate, turn left (indicated on a stone waymark to ‘Nick of Pendle’) past the shelter. This path, damp in places, runs along a broad ridge and past a small moorland tarn on the right, before bearing right by a second rushy pool as you approach a wall, to reach a ladder stile.

Continue along the edge beyond the wall to a circular stone shelter and beyond it descend gradually to a large domed cairn commemorating the local Scout movement. Here turn right onto a less prominent path that descends gently at first towards a large combe, then swings right to descend the steep slope on a diagonal path below screes.

This path bends left, dropping steeply, then bears right over a couple of small boggy cloughs to meet a wall by a corner. Follow the wall round the corner and downhill over the rushy ground, before swinging right as the clough deepens.

(10) Follow the path down to cross a small stream then climb the other side to a stone with a waymark. Again the path plunges directly down the slope, with a steep little clough on the right. At the bottom, bear right across the foot of the clough and then left to a wooden kissing gate.

A tree-lined path – sometimes muddy and overgrown in places – leads down in the company of a small stream to meet a metalled farm lane at a corner. Go straight on down the lane to a road junction, where you continue straight ahead (signposted ‘Downham’).

(11) At a bend, go through a gate onto a path ahead, and walk down the field to a gate on the left into a farm track below a barn. Turn right to cross a stream, through another gate, then bear left of the stone farm buildings to a third gate.

Pass a corrugated iron barn on the left and, ignoring a footpath on the left, climb to a farm gate in the wall. Beyond this gate, turn right and follow the wall, below the limestone slopes of Worsaw Hill. The path climbs slightly to a wooden kissing gate then follows the right-hand field edge before switching to the left-hand edge of the next field, then striking out past the end of a wooded bank.

Follow the left-hand side of a series of fields back to Downham village. By way of variation, turn left down a driveway before the village green, then go through a couple of hand-gates across the top of a field.

(12) Follow the lane beyond over the stream and bear right by a house dated 1824 to emerge by the old school. Turn left and climb past the phone-box, this time bearing left along the main village street by the church. Pass some ancillary buildings of Downham Hall on the left, then take a permitted path on the right that cuts the corner to Rimington Lane.

(13) Turn right along Green Lane for 300 metres then, beyond a wood on the right, turn left through a hand-gate onto a signposted footpath. Walk down towards New Field Farm and go through a gate on the left. Pass to the left of the farm buildings and pick up a farm track that leads downhill to the railway.

(14) Beyond the railway bridge, go through the farm-gate ahead and climb to a stone barn. Go through the gate to the right of the barn and walk down the slope. A little to the right of the bottom corner, a stile gives access to a path into the wood.

(15) Follow a narrow path down through the wood, which may be overgrown, and ford a small side-stream. Bear left with the main stream on your immediate right. Cross another stile and follow the narrow fenced path with the stream still on your right.

Continue through pastureland, keeping between fence (left) and stream (right) wherever possible, erosion permitting. As you approach the A59, you go through a kissing gate and pass a farm bridge; ignore the underbridge below the main road, instead of going through another kissing gate on the right and climbing a few steps up to the road.

(16) Cross with care and turn right along the pavement, crossing the stream and passing a farm. After 550 metres, turn left at the turning for Sawley. Follow the road through the village for half a mile, passing the abbey ruins, to return to the Spread Eagle. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 243ft - Spread Eagle
1 : mi 0.28 - alt. 276ft - Broken wall
2 : mi 0.39 - alt. 335ft - Views ahead of Pendle Hill
3 : mi 0.96 - alt. 295ft - Railway
4 : mi 1.09 - alt. 335ft - Limestone outcrops
5 : mi 1.71 - alt. 545ft - Disused quarry
6 : mi 2.01 - alt. 443ft - Small stone footbridge
7 : mi 2.32 - alt. 476ft - Clay House Farm
8 : mi 3.01 - alt. 738ft - Pendle Hill summit
9 : mi 4.78 - alt. 1765ft - Large domed cairn
10 : mi 6.22 - alt. 1155ft - Small stream
11 : mi 7.21 - alt. 476ft - Iron barn
12 : mi 8.3 - alt. 440ft - Phone-box
13 : mi 8.57 - alt. 476ft - New Field Farm
14 : mi 9.02 - alt. 328ft - Railway bridge
15 : mi 9.2 - alt. 308ft - Wood
16 : mi 9.68 - alt. 233ft - A59
D/A : mi 10.53 - alt. 243ft - Spread Eagle

Useful Information

Significant ascent and descent over bare moorland – avoid in bad weather. Walking boots recommended. Sheep and cattle are likely to be encountered and there are several stiles to be negotiated, and some road walking at the end.
(For a much easier 4-mile walk to Downham and back, follow the instructions below as far as step 18, then turn right and skip to step 46.)

Pdf link :

Sawley, Clitheroe,
Lancashire BB7 4NH
Tel 01200 441202
Nestled within the Forest of Bowland on the banks of the River Ribble, we’re a dog-friendly coaching inn with stylish accommodation, an amazing menu and a warm Lancashire welcome.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Downham is one of the prettiest villages in Lancashire, with its stone cottages running down the hill from the church to the bridge over the beck.
  • Swanside Bridge is a fine example of a packhorse bridge. Such bridges are typically narrow and lack parapets, which would have fouled on the panniers of the ponies. The Grade-II-listed bridge dates from the

17th century if not earlier, and is likely to have been built by the monks of Sawley.

  • Three medieval crosses are encountered in the vicinity of Bolton-by -Bowland. The most complete is on the village green, alongside the village stocks.
  • Pendle Hill (557 m/1,827 ft) is a peat-topped gritstone hill which is isolated from the rest of the Bowland fells by the Ribble valley. Its association with the Pendle Witch Trials makes it a popular destination for Hallowe’en walks.
  • The River Ribble rises in the Yorkshire Dales near the famous Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle–Carlisle railway, and flows through Clitheroe and Preston before entering the Irish Sea between Lytham and Southport.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 5/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 5/5
Routemap quality : 5/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Sat 12 Feb 2022 10:33:14 CET

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 11/02/22
Description quality : Very good
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

The directions were the best I've ever downloaded from a walking website. Congratulations to whoever wrote them!

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