Towneley Hall Park to Gorple

The ascent from Towneley Hall Park to Hurstwood is pleasant and there are initially fine views back to the urban sprawl of Burnley.From the cafe at Towneley Hall pass through the hall gates and bear right onto the drive. A few yards on, and a long, treelined avenue leads left over parkland to a bridge over the River Calder, passing a cricket pavilion on the right. At the river do not cross the bridge; instead, bear right along a track which crosses a small tributary stream below the pavilion. Past this stream, leave the track, (which leads to Walk Mill) and instead follow a faint path along the river bank, which leads to a wooden footbridge over the river. Cross to a stile. From here the path rises steeply between a drystone wall on the left and a fenced plantation on the right, passing through a succession of stiles. The ascending path soon becomes a grassy track passing through a shallow gully. From here there are fine views back to Burnley. Eventually a metalled farm road is joined at a farm and this winds uphill to the Burnley/Mereclough road. At the main road turn left, until a few yards further on a stile (easy to miss) may be seen in the fence opposite. From it a path leads over pastures, passing through two kissing gates before joining the lane above Salterford Bridge. Cross Salterford Bridge and turn sharp right, following a path which runs through riverside pastures, the river lying in woodland to the right, on the other side of a wall signed 'Private Woods'- the grounds of Ormerod House. Soon a wall stile is reached, and beyond it the path contours round to a second stile (Wall steps). High on the left may be seen some bungalows. Beyond the second stile the path becomes a paved causeway leading eventually to a farmyard gate, beyond which lies Tattersalls House. The track now leads past Hurstwood Hall to join the lane by a telephone box and seat.

Here at Hurstwood I had a rest, Peggy, my Jack Russell Terrier in high spirits despite having been stuck tightly in a narrow stile a short distance back down the way! Hurstwood has associations with Edmund Spenser the author of 'The Faery Queen', who retired here to 'Spenser's House' in 1576 where he wrote verses in honour of his 'Rosalind', who may well have been Rose Dineley of Clitheroe. Hurstwood Hall was built by Bernard Towneley in 1579, and the nearby 'Tattersall's House' was the home of Richard Tattersall who established the world famous racing stables at Hyde Park Corner, London, in 1766. Tattersall later went on to become the owner of the Morning Post in 1788. Hurstwood holds a lot of interest for such a tiny place!

At Hurstwood do not cross the Brun but continue along the left hand bank, following a farm track leading past the Baptist Chapel and nearby cottages. Soon the track bears left into a farmyard. Do not follow it, instead continue onwards, passing through a gate between the farm outbuildings and the river. Upstream the river may be seen descending between coniferous forests into a marshy area. Do not follow the stream, but contour steeply up to the left, following the wall to a dilapidated iron kissing gate at the edge of the plantation. From here a path, dark in places, ascends along the edge of the forest, between a drystone wall and an iron perimeter fence. The route bears right, climbing up steps constructed from old railway sleepers. At a stile the route turns left then right again at the top of the plantation. Eventually the fence becomes broken down. When the wall ends at a gap between plantations continue onwards to the edge of the next plantation, passing under power lines. Hurstwood Reservoir is below, on the right. At the end of the plantation is a confusion of hillocks and pathways caused by trials bikes and horses. Below, at the head of the reservoir, may be seen a small feeder reservoir, a rectangular enclosure surrounded by an iron fence. Beyond it, over the stream is a grassy track and a small stone hut. Descend to the hut, crossing the stream.From the hut the track continues upwards, then after crossing the Hurstwood Brook passes over open moorland as a distinct path, climbing over a tongue of land between two gullies. Just beyond the neck of the left hand gully, the track from Worsthorne is met with by some ruined walls. Turn right and follow this track which ascends interminably in a straight line over wild moorland. After passing a boggy area, the track descends slightly to the head of Rams Clough, then climbing again, passes over the main watershed into Yorkshire, finally descending to the ruins at Gorple. Take the right hand route for Gorple, the left hand path leads to Widdop.

On the day I followed this section it seemed an interminable trudge up the moor, as visibility rapidly became nil. By the time I had reached the summit of the watershed, I thought for a moment I had lost my way, but then the gaunt shadow of the ruined farm at Gorple reached out of the gloom and I took refreshment among its shattered walls.


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Copyright JIM JARRATT 2002