Roughlee Parish boundary walk Approx. 14km, 8.8 miles


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From Roughlee Village Centre car park turn right and head uphill to the sharp left-hand bend in the road and follow the public footpath uphill to the track that serves the United Utilities reservoir. The parish boundary is on the far side of the reservoir but we turn right and follow the track past Ridgaling Farm on your left.

Notice that new hedges have been planted in an area whose fields are largely dry stone walls. From the ridge, good views over Brierfield, Nelson and Colne are available on the left – can you make out Colne Town Hall if the weather is clear? Can you make out any other landmarks?

Follow the wall, which is the parish boundary, to Noggarth Top Shop, whose café may be open serving refreshments if you need them. Continue along the road to Spen End. On the opposite side of the road, there are two public footpaths – take the right-hand one that heads across the field to Ouzle Rock and turn left and head uphill to a track and turn left and head to Dimpeneley Top Farmhouse, which is a listed building.

On the opposite side of the road, there are two public footpaths – take the right-hand one over a footbridge and along the field edge, noting the boundary is a deep ditch with a hedge on the far bank (this is a good example of a parish boundary).

Follow the path until you pass a barn on the right, then shortly after take the footpath on the left-hand side across a field and then take the path on the right to head uphill join Jinny Lane. Turn left, noting Bilberry bushes growing on the roadside, and follow the lane into Newchurch, turn left past Witches Galore shop heading uphill until you come to the edge of a plantation of pine trees. Follow the path along the edge of the tall and well-built dry stone wall with lots of through stones.

Lower Black Moss and Lower Ogden Reservoirs are visible in the valley below on your left. This is the parish boundary, but we are walking on the Barley side of it until the path bears right over the wall and into the plantation. The ground was ploughed before the pine trees were planted on the ridges, the furrows providing drainage. Note that Beech and Sycamore trees were also planted alongside the footpath, but not throughout the plantation.

Exit the plantation and follow the path across Black Bank (in the past the bank or slope may have looked dark/black with Heather, but the heathland and colour are long gone!). The path runs alongside Heys Lane Plantation, which looks very different to that which we have just walked.

When you come to Heys Lane, a narrow lane with Bilberry on the sides, the lane being the parish boundary heading right, continue on the footpath heading straight ahead and join the Barley New Road. Turn left and follow the road to the road that heads down to White Hough.

Walk through Riverside Fold and follow the Pendle Way up towards the education/outdoor activity centre but before you get there, take the footpath down the side of a building on the right and follow it through the woodland below the centre. Note many of the broadleaved trees are Hornbeam, which look similar to Beech but their bark is rougher and more twisted.

Follow the path/Pendle Way until it leaves the woodland and take the path on your right that heads uphill with a plantation of young Alder and birch trees on your left and a hedge composed of Honeysuckle on your right – this is the parish boundary, but an unusual one.

When you come out onto Stang Top Road turn left and head uphill. At the top of the hill, close to where a footpath crosses the road, you are now at the highest point in the parish and if you look back and along the skyline, if it is clear enough you should be able to see from right to left: Jubilee Tower on Darwen Hill, Oswaldtwistle Moor windfarm, Winter Hill in the far distance, masts on Hameldon Hill with Hapton windfarm below and Coal Clough windfarm (the first to be built in Lancashire).

In the valley below, you can see Barrowford and Foulridge Reservoirs, both built to keep the Leeds Liverpool Canal topped up with water. Carry on walking downhill this time, with good views of Pendle Hill on your left.

When the road meets Black Moss Road (signed for Downham) follow the footpath on the right passing Higher Briercliffe and running parallel to Blacko Water, which is the actual parish boundary for several kilometres.

When you come to a junction with another footpath, turn right and head down to Blacko Water, crossing over the bridge and up the other side, turning left into a plantation (not shown on the maps). Follow the path between the trees which leads down to Blacko Water again. On the other side bear right and you pass over another Water – this time it’s Admergill Water.

Turn right on the far bank and, in following the Pendle Way downstream, after a few meres you re-enter the parish and at this point, you are the closest you can be in the parish to the Historic County boundary of Yorkshire, which is just 200m to the north!

Continue past where Admergill Water flows into Blacko Water and onwards to Blacko Bar Road. Follow the road to the right and then follow the Pendle Way on the left at Blacko Foot farm. After passing the farm, you walk through a long thin field and the fence at the end is the parish boundary.

Follow the Pendle Way down past the confluence of Blacko Water and Pendle Water to the bridge at Water Meetings. On the other side of the bridge take the footpath on the right and follow the path through a field and then up Hudderston Wood with exposed boulders and bedrock of a red sandstone.

When the end of the woodland is in sight, the boundary on your right is, appropriately for a parish boundary, a ditch and bank before becoming a dry stone wall further on. Follow the path along the ridge noting a row of Beech trees alongside a ditch flowing downhill.

At the end of that field, the well-built wall is replaced by a short section of stone-faced earthbank, followed by another wall but one that isn’t as well constructed – does this mark a change in land ownership?

Follow the path to Pasture Lane, but cross over and head towards Ridgaling Farm, noting the Holly hedge on the left and the dry stone wall on the right.

Shortly you come back to the United Utilities reservoir, hence take the path on your right and retrace your steps back down to the car park in Roughlee. If the Bay Horse Inn is open, you make like to call in for a refreshing drink and something to eat.