South Pennines walk - Trawden and Boulsworth Hill

Looking towards Pendle

Looking towards Pendle - Credit: Archant

Boulsworth Hill may lack the height of its near neighbour but the views from the summit are breathtaking, writes John Lenehan

Admiring the View

Admiring the View - Credit: Archant

Boulsworth Hill doesn’t have the grandeur of its neighbour Pendle Hill. It doesn’t sit proud and isolated like its big brother and its moorland slopes rise more gradually to its summit of Lad Law, unlike the near vertical climbs to the top of Pendle. But don’t get the impression Boulsworth is a bit dull. It most definitely isn’t.

It is still a giant and, despite appearances to the contrary, its summit at 1695ft (517m) above sea level is only 131ft less than Pendle. They do have one thing in common – the magnificent views. I decided to start the walk at Trawden a small village nestling at the foot of Boulsworth as the climb to the summit from here is the steeper approach and give more of a mountain climb feel to this great hill.

Climbing Boulsworth Hill

Climbing Boulsworth Hill - Credit: Archant

1. I drove into the village on the B6250 from Colne so once parked, leave the Trawden Arms and walk back up the road towards Colne.

Note: Trawden is an old textile mill village like many that can be found a lot in East Lancashire and West Yorkshire although in Trawden’s case agriculture also played a major part in its economy. This is celebrated in the second week in August when the Annual Agricultural Show is held and attracts thousands of people.

Boulsworth Summit

Boulsworth Summit - Credit: Archant

2. There is a footpath sign on the right pointing to a small opening in the wall once you have crossed the bridge over Trawden Brook. There is a house called The Old Schoolhouse with steps just after the opening as a guide. Once through, follow the flagged path that follows the stream and cross a stile. The path then bears left away from the stream and heads uphill to the left of a wooden power line post. The path from here is rather indistinct but there is a footpath marker post uphill ahead and there is a wire fence with a gate to the right. Keep walking towards the gate following a stream on the right and eventually there is a stone pillar on the right and a stile on the opposite side of the stream. Cross the stile and bear diagonally left towards Near Wanless Farm. Go through another stile at the farm then turn left.

3. Enter the farmyard and turn right and go straight ahead through a series of gates and enter a field with a wall on the right of the path. Follow the wall to a metal gate, go through this and follow the footpath sign that points straight on. Drop down then to the houses of Far Wanless then turn left and follow a gravel path that gives way to a tarmac path that lead down hill and joins the main road.


Trawden - Credit: Archant

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Note: On the left is an old textile mill that has been converted into apartments. I remember it being a mill as it used to be a customer of mine years ago. I find it sad the mill had to close but also quite satisfying that it has been brought to life .

4. Once reaching the road, turn left and follow the road downhill then keep straight on past a cul-de-sac on the left. Keep following the now single track road until it bends sharply to the left and an unmade road carries on into Lodge Moss farm.

5. Enter the farmyard and turn left and then right. There is an obvious stile on the left but ignore this and keep on towards what looks like a new barn. Go to the right of the barn and in front there is a wooden gate stile, go through this into a field with Boulsworth Hill straight ahead. Keep straight on with a wall on the right as you follow the path that eventually drops down to a concrete footbridge, cross this then bear left uphill then bear right. The path is faint but keep on and in the distance there is a ladder stile over a wall. Cross the stile then keep straight on with a wall on your right. Follow the wall towards a metal gate and to the left of this is a stile, cross this and join a wide bridle track that is the Pendle Way and turn right.

6. Keep on the track until a building on the right then turn left up a concrete road towards the gates of a covered reservoir then bear left and follow the narrow winding path that climbs steeply uphill to a stile in a wire fence. Cross the stile and keep climbing up the path that eventually reaches the summit plateau and bears right. In the distance the triangulation pillar on Boulsworth summit can be seen, head directly for that.

7. Boulsworth Hill Summit, or Lad Law. The panoramic views are absolutely stunning in every direction. This is a place to enjoy and, if you have your sandwiches, now is the time to sit and eat. This place has seen some very determined carvers – the rocks bear names and dates. The question to ask is how did they do it as every walking and mountaineering guide I have read mentions taking a map and compass and whistle but I have yet to see one saying take a hammer and chisel!

Note: Lad Law is name of the large granite block on the summit.

The path off is very indistinct so head off in directly the opposite direction you arrived with the now toy town looking Trawden on the right then gradually bear right downhill. As a good marker there are two reservoirs in the distance and the path is pointing towards those and then eventually turns right towards Trawden then starts to drop steeply to the right of a group of huge stones and winds its way through them. The path then drops, crossing a stile in a wire fence towards a wall corner follow down to this then with the wall on your right follow the indistinct but pretty wet path back to the Pendle Way and turn left.

8. There is a stone step stile on the right, cross this and walk straight down the field. Eventually the path starts skirting a stream in a deep gully on the left and at a point where it meets a footpath post it drops diagonally left down towards the stream and crosses a footbridge then another footbridge over the stream.

Once over the second bridge turn right and follow the stream then the path climbs left uphill towards some buildings with a gate stile on the right. Go through this and keep on uphill on a pretty obvious path that leads behind some buildings with a wire fence on the right and a wooden fence on the left. The path then turns left towards a gate that leads into a lane.

9. Once through the gate turn right and follow the lane all the way past some really nice houses until it joins the main road, Lanehouse Lane.

10. The lane joins the road almost opposite the old mill. Turn left and head uphill and keep on until the church of St Mary The Virgin appears on the left then turn right and back towards the Trawden Arms.

Note: On the way up Lanehouse Lane keep an eye out for a road that goes diagonally right and there are some railway lines set in it. These are a relic of the Colne and Trawden Light Railway Company that opened in 1904 and closed in 1934.

Watering Holes: The Trawden Arms & Glusburn Fisheries

Muddy boots and dogs, hungry Boulsworth climbers and real ale drinkers will be happily welcomed in this lovely pub. Tel: 01282 337055

On this occasion my friend and I decided to sneak over the border to Glusburn in Yorkshire and turned right instead of left at the end of the B6250. A harrowing 12 minute trip past the border guards led us to Glusburn Fisheries, a little cabin on the left of the main A6068 opposite the school. The fish and chips are fantastic.

Glusburn Fisheries 01535 633142


Walk: Trawden and Boulsworth Hill

Start and Finish: Trawden Arms Pub

Distance: 5.4 miles (8.7kms)

Time: Allow 3-3.5 Hours

Facilities: There are no public toilets on route.

Parking: There is limited parking near to the Trawden Arms

Terrain: Mostly good walking on tracks and fields until the climb up Boulsworth Hill when it becomes steep in places. Also bear in mind that the section from the summit back to the track can be wet and muddy at times so good boots and also gaiters might be needed.

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