Lancashire walk - Foulridge

Foulridge Reservoir

Foulridge Reservoir - Credit: Archant

I should take my woolly hat off to my friend John Serjeant - he never gets it wrong when suggesting a walk. I had decided that my next outing would be around the moors of Haslingden Grane and I asked John to accompany me.

Foulridge Wharfe

Foulridge Wharfe - Credit: Archant

He shook his head wearily and reminded me that we’d had the heaviest rain for a century and warned if we did my proposed route we would probably end up neck deep in a bog, awaiting rescue. John had a better idea and plumped for a walk at Foulridge, just outside Colne.

As usual, he was proved to be annoyingly correct. This turned out to be a lovely route that will definitely be revisited with my wife.

1. Leave the car park and join the Leeds and Liverpool canal towpath and turn right and follow the canal until the third bridge marked as number 149.

Looking over Foulridge Resevoir

Looking over Foulridge Resevoir - Credit: Archant

2. Leave the canal and cross over the bridge and cross a stile by a gate then walk up the track until a gate on the right appears with a footpath sign on it. Go through the gate and cross the field bearing diagonally right and go through another gate into a tarmac lane then turn left.

Note: The buildings on the right as you walk up the road are County Brook Mill, home of Mitchell Interflex, a working and very successful weaving mill. It used to be water powered and evidence of the millpond and the millrace can still be seen. There is also on display the axle of the original water wheel.

The waterwheel axle, a reminder of our industrial heritage

The waterwheel axle, a reminder of our industrial heritage - Credit: Archant

3. Carry on up the lane passing the rather pretty houses of Hey Fold until just before the main road there is a cottage on the left with the upper floor steps on the outside. Immediately before the cottage is a stile on the left the sign being on a telegraph pole. Cross this and with the cottage on your right follow the path.

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Note: The cottage used to be a Wesleyan Chapel.

Naomi and Jade in the Café Cargo

Naomi and Jade in the Café Cargo - Credit: Archant

Go through a gate stile and into a yard then onto a tarmac road that eventually leads out onto a main road. Turn right and follow the road uphill.

4. There are two driveways that appear together on the left. Walk up the second and after about 30 yards on the right there is a wooden gate with a stile. Cross this and head diagonally left up the field to a wall then turn right and with the wall on your left follow this until a metal gate stile. Go through this and down a path to a track and turn left and follow this downhill. Soon the track feels and looks like you are in a stream bed and it is very rough under foot.

5. Eventually the track ends at a narrow tarmac lane with grass down the centre. There is a metal gate facing you with a stile but ignore this and turn left following the lane.

6. The lane leads to a T-Junction with a cottage facing you. Turn left and immediately past the cottage on the right there is a car park and sign for Burnwain Sailing Club and a stile. Cross this and bear left behind the sailing club buildings then right and join the bank of Foulridge Lower Reservoir then go left enjoying the particularly beautiful views over the water.

Note: Virtually next to and almost under the reservoir is the 1640 yard Foulridge Tunnel the longest on the canal and the highest. The problem the engineers met when the canal reached this summit elevation was that it is down hill on both sides, and each side has locks that need water. This meant this highest section would be continuously emptied faster than it could refill, so the reservoir was built solely to keep this section of canal topped up.

7. Follow the bank and ignore the first stile on the left, keep on until the next footpath on the left with a sign saying Foulridge Wharf. Leave the reservoir and follow the path uphill and enter a housing estate. Cross the road and keep straight on and follow a sign saying Foulridge Wharf that leads you down behind an electric substation into another housing estate. Keep straight on until the road bends to the right with a sign to the left saying Sycamore Gardens. Straight ahead at the bend is a blue sign for Foulridge Wharf. Follow this bearing right down a track.

8. The track enters a main road with a wall facing. Cross the road and turn right downhill then as the road bends right, turn left and follow the road back to Foulridge Wharf.

Note: The whole of the history of transport is within 100 metres of Foulridge Wharf. First there is the road, then the canal, then the remains of the railway bridge that crossed the canal, and finally the factory on the right that makes parts for jet engines. I could write at length about this but the café has excellent historical information and pictures on its walls so go and see for yourself.


Start and Finish: Foulridge Wharf Foulridge Nr Colne

Terrain: Mostly really easy walking with one exception when a very stony section of path makes good boots the better footwear choice.

Distance: 3.73 Miles/ 6 Km

Map: OS Explorer 21 South Pennines

Facilities: There is parking near the Café Cargo at the wharf but please ask permission at the café before parking. There are no public toilets but café customers can use their facilities.

Watering hole

Obviously it has to be the Café Cargo. A bacon butty before a walk is a favorite of mine and served on a warm flaguette roll it was excellent. I thought about the Full Cargo Breakfast but that would feed a walking club and there were only two of us! It really is massive. There is a nice vegetarian menu on offer including a non-meat breakfast, or The Gang Plank, a selection of Lancashire cheeses, chutneys, pickles, salad, celery, apple, grapes, and crusty bread on a plank. That really would go nicely with the range of beer and wine on offer if the walk is on a nice summer’s day.

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