Grassland Walks Combined


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Follow the Pendle Way through a gate into a small field that supports wildflowers including Pignut, Creeping and Meadow Buttercups, Common Sorrel, Ribwort Plantain, Common Mouse-ear, Field Wood-rush and White Clover.

The next field has been ploughed and reseeded with Perennial Rye-grass but Yellow Rattle and Bistort can still be seen on field edge left of the footpath.

The next field is dominated by Meadow Foxtail as well as Perennial Rye-grass. At the footbridge, note the old field boundary with a ditch on the uphill side of the stone-faced earth bank now lined with trees and shrubs.

The field beyond the footbridge is grazed (horse, cattle and sometimes sheep) with few plants given the chance to flower. Pass through a kissing gate and into a field with abundant rushes and buttercups.

The next field is Hollin Brow BHS (1.03ha of grassland, which is a Local Wildlife Site – called Biological Heritage Sites in Lancashire: ref: 84SW11, just over 1ha of species-rich acidic and neutral grassland with scattered shrubs. The grassland flora includes Autumn Hawkbit, Eyebright, Selfheal, Common Sorrel, Heath grass, Common Knapweed, Fairy Flax, Devil’s-bit Scabious, Common Cat’s-ear and Zigzag Clover. Grasses visible from the footpath include Meadow and Marsh Foxtail, Rough and Smooth Meadow-grasses, Sweet Vernal-grass, Yorkshire-fog and Cock’s-foot, together with Soft-rush and Field Wood-rush, with wildflowers including Pignut, Ribwort Plantain, Creeping and Meadow Buttercups, Red and White Clovers, Creeping and Marsh Thistles, Tormentil, Common Mouse-ear, Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill, Broad-leaved Dock, Nettle and Cleavers with woody shrubs such as Bramble, Hawthorn, Holly, Dog-rose and Elder encroaching into the grassland.

Leave the field and turn right onto the driveway to Hollin Top, with the BHS field on the right below, but the field uphill on the left has Field Wood-rush, Heath Bedstraw, Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil and Foxglove. The edge of the BHS also has Red Clover, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Yarrow and Crested Dog’s-tail.

Follow the footpath to the left of Hollin Top and enter a field that has Pignut, Heath Bedstraw, Field Woodrush and Cuckooflower, the latter being only one of two plants that the female Orange Tip butterfly lays her eggs (the other being Hedge Garlic). The path passes a barn then turns right into a field that is grazed permanently by sheep.

The next field is surrounded by coniferous trees, mostly spruces, and the path through it leads to a dry stone wall with a gate. Don’t go through the gate but follow the wall downhill to the left, the path joins a track lined with rushes, which leads to a bridge over Blacko Water but take the path to the footbridge on the right-hand side.

Once over the river, the path enters a field with Marsh Thistle, Oval Sedge, Creeping and Meadow Buttercups, Field Wood-rush, Pignut and Ribwort Plantain. Follow the path through some paddocks – if you can see lots of buttercups then this is a sign that the field is, or has been, grazed by horses, as they don’t eat them, so the buttercups spread and flourish/prosper. The path heads downhill and the steeper lower slopes of the field support Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Pignut, Field Wood-rush, Tormentil and clover.

The path enters a field lined with trees on either side, which has lots of buttercups and daisies, as well as patches of Pignut and clover. Join the Blacko Bar Road and turn right walking uphill to Blacko Foot, then turn left and follow the Pendle Way through a field with a row of Beech trees on your left.

The next field boundary is the parish boundary and there are two stiles – the one on the right having steps through the stile and is the easier of the two. Follow the path through the next field, heading east and downhill, but bear right to join another path that is heading back westwards. When you pass through another gate, you are now back in Roughlee Booth parish and have entered a wide valley with virtually no fences dividing it up. Whilst the valley isn’t a BHS, it does support areas of species-rich wet and dry grassland with species such as Meadowsweet, Marsh Thistle, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Horsetail, Ragged Robin, Greater Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Bugle, Water Mint, Cuckooflower and St John’s-wort, together with Quaking-grass and Eyebright which indicate that the water is richer in minerals and more alkaline than acidic. This is the largest area of semi-natural grassland in the parish – look out for Brown Hares and Roe Deer and listen out for the curling call of the Curlew. The path isn’t very clear and there are lots of sheep trails, but continue above the floodplain and you should see two path markers in the western half of the field.

The path leads back to the Blacko Bar Road – cross over and follow the path opposite. The first field has Pignut on the slopes, but the two fields above are flatter and have been ploughed and reseeded. The path leaves the fields to enter an old/ancient track that leads to Middlewood Farm (now Cottage). Follow the path down in between Hollin Farm and its outbuildings, then bear right instead of heading down to the road, and pass Roughlee Old Hall on your right, which is a Grade II Listed Building (since 1953) built of stone in the late 16th Century and having a stone slate roof. It has a H-shaped plan with hall and cross wings. A stone inscription attached to the gable is partly illegible but said to read, ‘This house was built by M.N. in the year of Our Lord, 1536’. The 1st floor has two, four, six and eight-light windows, all original windows having round headed lights and stone mullions. There is a projecting chimney on the right side. The Hall was the home of Miles Nutter at the time of the Pendle Witch Craze. The Hall is now divided into three private dwellings. The track leads back to the road junction with the Bay Horse Inn beyond – why not call into the pub for refreshments if it is open.