Pendle Hill from Downham (short version)

This Lancashire walk starts from the pretty village of Downham and provides a relatively easy ascent of Pendle Hill. In good weather the views are extensive over the Ribble Valley to the Yorkshire Dales and the Southern Lake District, across Burnley to the Southern Pennines and across Clitheroe to the Trough of Bowland. The route is fairly easy to follow although do be careful during the descent as paths shown on maps are not very accurate.

Technical sheet
No. 293052
A Downham walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 20/09/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h15[?]
Distance Distance : 6.37mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1516ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1512ft
Highest point Highest point : 1814ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 440ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Downham
Starting point Starting point : N 53.8929° / W 2.329°
Download : -
Downham Village


This excellent Lancashire walk starts from the pretty village of Downham. The car park (grid ref SD785440) marked on the OS map is not visibly signposted in the village. Assuming an approach from the Clitheroe / Chatburn side, descend the hill from the church, swing right over the bridge to cross Downham Beck then keep bearing right in to what appears to be a farm yard where the car park, public toilets and information centre are located. The free car park has space for about 25 cars but on nice days parking may be at a premium. There are also options for road side parking but do be considerate and respect the village residents right of access.(D)

From the car park, return to the road at the side of Downham Beck where you will see two roads heading in an ESE/SE direction. Ignore the "main" road that you drove down and take the narrower of the two that runs alongside the right hand bank of Downham Beck, passing some picturesque cottages, a number of which have their own private bridges across the beck. At the end of the cottages, pass through the gate in to the field and follow the waymarked footpath. This initially tracks alongside the beck before veering away gradually to the right. About 170m after starting to veer away from the beck, the footpath forks. At this point take the right hand path, heading SE and almost parallel to Pendle Road. The way ahead is reasonably obvious as far as the stile over the wall part way up a gentle incline (grid ref SD796434). From the stile, note the small barn ahead and aim for the left hand side of the barn where there is a step stile built in to the wall. On emerging on to Pendle Road (grid ref. SD798432), turn left up the lane. Across the road is the concessionary path which you will use for the descent.(1)

Continue up the lane for about half a mile until you reach a small wood on your right (grid ref. SD806431). Turn right here following the path initially through the wood and then out into open country. Follow this clear path until you reach Barley Lane (grid ref. SD813418).(2)

Continue ahead on this road to take the track on your left at grid ref. SD814416. Follow this track west passing Pendle Side on your left to reach a footpath on your right. Take this path and walk a short way to bear left alongside a wall (which is on your left) and follow the clear path as it makes a loop across the side of Pendle Hill to gain the summit.(3)

To return to the start, descend using the concessionary path that descends across the northern slopes back to Downham village. The path shown on OS maps is inaccurately drawn and you should instead follow the clear path evident on the ground. The path leads down to the lane at grid ref. SD798432. Cross the road and follow the path used for the outward route back to the start.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 440ft - Downham
1 : mi 1.07 - alt. 748ft - Pendle Road
2 : mi 2.55 - alt. 1142ft - Barley Lane
3 : mi 3.95 - alt. 1814ft - Pendle Hill
D/A : mi 6.37 - alt. 440ft - Downham

Useful Information

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

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.11/5
Number of opinions : 3
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 4.33/5
Walk interest : 4/5

on Fri 25 Jun 2021 00:03:08 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 24/06/21
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Good

With the map and description we had no problem following the route. The section between Downham and the Pendle Road is delightful. The paths up the hill are wide gravel tracks, elsewhere they are clear trodden areas in the grass.None of the walking is difficult, though an ascent is an ascent. We're frequent walkers in our 60's and it took us 3h 30m

on Tue 07 May 2019 20:00:44 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 07/05/19
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

A nice walk from Downham Village over to Barley Lane - climb up Pendle Hill a bit of a slog. Missed our path on the way back down to Downham but a shortcut down the side of the hill brought us back to the Concessionary Path.

on Mon 01 Oct 2018 09:35:21 CEST

Global average : 3.67 / 5

Date of walk : 28/09/18
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

The first part of the description describes the ascent of Pendle Hill as ‘relatively easy’. IMHO whichever way you ascend Pendle Hill is not easy. The directions are very clear and it is unlikely that you will lose your way - even on the descent from the top of Pendle Hill. After passing the new picnic area there is also a new kissing gate. After passing through you need to take the right hand path down. It is fairly clear all the way. The part from Pendle Road to Barley Lane has some short, steep sections and is quite wet in places as there are a number of small streams crossing the path. On a clear day you get brilliant views from the top of Pendle Hill. This walk is described as the short version. It is 6.4 miles but the ascent of the hill makes it seem like a lot further.

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