Lancashire walk: Earby

The view across Earby

The view across Earby - Credit: John Lenehan

This glorious walk in the hills around Earby takes a peek over the county line.

Earby is a small town now associated with aerospace companies. Its past major industry, as with most East Lancashire towns, was textiles and weaving and the town had many mills at one time. I was walking near Earby a few weeks ago and noticed the lovely hills that rise behind the town and decided to design a walk to explore the area.
Until the 1974 local government shake-up this area was a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire and the route I have devised does venture over the border into white rose territory, so don’t forget your passport.

Leave the car park and walk uphill and along Mill Brow Road and reach a footpath sign on the right saying ‘Stoneybank Road 1/3 mile’. It is called Mill Lane on the map but there is no road sign and it is definitely not a vehicular lane. Take the path and follow this until it joins a main road and turn left then almost immediately there is a stile on the right with a Pendle Way marker on it. Most of the stiles in the first section of the walk have Pendle Way or Pendle Bridleway markers on them.
Cross the stile and follow the path with a wall on the right. The path joins a track going left, ignore this and keep straight on with the wall on the right. The path bears away from the wall and starts to climb uphill, then turns into a green track. Follow this with a wire fence on the left.
The path then bears right away from the fence down to a gate stile, cross this into a field and bear diagonally left uphill to join a track and follow this to a wooden gate with a stile next to it. Cross the stile and the track forks, keep right following the path as it bends round and up to a wire fence with a footpath sign on a post, keep the wire fence on the right and follow the fence to a wooden gate with a stile next to it.
Cross the stile into an open field and follow the path passing a bench on the left to a wooden gate with a stile and cross this. The path is indistinct but passes to the left of a large tree straight ahead and on to another wooden gate. Cross this and there is a short wall on the right, the path bears diagonally right to a wire fence, follow the path with this on the right. There are some buildings on the right beyond the fence. Keep on the path to a wooden gate and stile and cross this and follow the path through a small copse of trees to join another but wider path with a Pendle Bridleway arrow. 

Brooding clouds over the famous silhouette of Pendle Hill

Brooding clouds over the famous silhouette of Pendle Hill - Credit: John Lenehan

2. Turn left and follow the path to reach a tarmac road. Turn left following the sign saying Wycoller. Follow the road past Heads House and keep on as the road turns into a track and follow this as it passes through a wooden gate then bears left to a metal gate. Don’t turn left but keep on with a wire fence on the right then as this turns right keep straight on with a small stream on the left and head towards a wooden gate in a wall and go through this and on to another wooden gate and go through this and on to another gate and go through this.
Keep straight on passing a marker post with a Pennine Way marker on it to reach another gate. The Pennine Way splits here for some reason but keep straight on towards Harden Old Barn on the Pennine Bridleway. Do not follow the Pendle Way arrow on the post going right.

3. The Pennine Bridleway turns sharp right but just before this there is a stile on the left. Cross the stile into a field and, keeping to the left of Harden Old Barn, go uphill to reach a stile on the right and cross this and the track leading into Harden Old Barn then, bear diagonally left to a gate stile in a wall and cross this then bear diagonally left uphill towards the junction of a wire fence on the left as it meets a wall and cross the stile there.
Once over the stile, bear diagonally left to a stile in the hedgerow at Bleara Side, cross this and turn right then up to a gate with a footpath arrow, go through this and keeping the building on the left carry on but do not turn left and follow the drive of the house to the road.
To the right there is a stile in a wall, cross this and turn left then head diagonally right downhill to the field corner and a gate leading into the main road. To the right of the corner is a stile, cross this and join the road, then turn right and immediately turn left down a smaller tarmac road and follow this downhill.
The road passes the end of a road (Centre Road) on the right and as it then bends left there is a track on the right and a footpath sign saying ‘The Fold 1 mile’. Take the track and follow this and go through a metal gate and when the track turns left into Clough House keep straight on and follow the path into the woods to reach a track at what looks like an old mine or tunnel on the right. There is a sign saying ‘No footpath ahead’ but to the left of this is a path, take this path and follow it as it eventually turns into a road passing the buildings of Raygill and follow the road to The Fold.

At Raygill during quarrying around 1818 a fissure or cave was found containing the bones of ancient animals that once roamed here before the ice age. Elephant, rhino, lion and hippopotamus bones were among some of the species discovered. I think the quarries are filled with water and are now Raygill Fisheries, a premium fishing site.

4. At the road junction at The Fold turn left and follow the road steeply uphill and then take the road on the right, White Hill Lane. Follow the road until a footpath sign and a concrete road appears on the left leading diagonally away from the main road, this leads up to Calf Edge Farm and Sunnyside Farm. Take the concrete road and follow it uphill then take the fork right to Sunnyside Farm.
About 50 metres before the gates to the farm, there is a wooden gate on the left with a stile next to it. Cross the stile and climb uphill to a stile crossing a wall. The farmer has kindly painted the stone steps of the stile white. Cross the stile and immediately over it there is another stile leading left, cross this and turn right and climb uphill, bearing slightly left up to a stile near the corner and cross this. Any form of path disappears and you are on boggy tussock strewn moorland so simply leave the stile and go straight on, still going uphill. Eventually the wide footpath of the Pennine Way is met and then turn left and follow the path all the way to the summit triangulation pillar of Pinhaw Beacon.

Looking back towards Pinhaw

Looking back towards Pinhaw - Credit: John Lenehan

5. The path goes past the triangulation pillar and goes steeply downhill then eases as it turns into a track that makes its way down to a cattle grid at the main road. Cross the main road and go down the road facing, Moor Lane. Follow the lane down to a footpath sign and a path leading about 45 degrees away from the road. Follow this down to a high gate with a high gate stile.

6. Cross the stile and a path goes obviously left, with the Pennine Way going straight on following a wall on the right.
Follow this path until it reaches another high gate and stile, I suspect these are high to deter deer. Cross the stile and join a tarmac road, Gaylands Lane, and then simply follow this all the way back to the Red Lion.

On the OS map as the path forks it shows the path going left and the Pennine Way going straight on but the map also shows a middle path heading towards Stone Pit Hill. I did try this path thinking the view might be good from Stone Pit Hill but the path becomes indistinct and some tree planting has left grooves that make walking hard work. Better to keep to the left path. 

Map of the walk route

Map of the walk route - Credit: OS


Start/finish: Small car park opposite The Red Lion, Red Lion Street, Earby.
Distance:  8.5 miles/13.7 km
Ascent: Approaching 1,200ft
Terrain: In the main the walking is good but the route is not well walked so footpaths are not so obvious in the fields and there is a section near Green Hill that was very muddy when I walked. The section from The Fold to Pinhaw is a long steep climb and at one point is on open moor and a bit rough underfoot. In all the total ascent climbed in the walk is almost 1200 feet so good boots and walking gear are needed.
Time: 4.5 hours
Facilities: There are public toilets in Earby but none on route.
Map: OS Explorer OL21 South Pennines

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