Pendle Hill from Barley

Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill is often referred to as 'Lancashire's Uluru' and when seen on a clear day at sunrise or sunset it isn't hard to see why. Pendle Hill is a prominent and isolated hill that towers above the surrounding countryside dominating the skyline. Like its name sake Pendle Hill is also steeped in history and legend. Burial remains have been found on the hill dating back to the Bronze Age. Pendle Hill is probably most famous though for being associated with the Pendle Witch Trials of the seventeenth century. These days Pendle Hill is known for its striking natural beauty and surrounding accessible wild land. The quaint walker friendly Lancashire village of Barley provides a great start and finish to the walk with very reasonable parking and a few places to eat and drink, in particular the fabulous Pendle Inn. The walk is fairly easy going but can be boggy underfoot. In bad weather and low cloud navigation on the summit and ascent can be tricky so always carry map and compass and know how to use them.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the car park in the walker friendly picturesque Lancashire village of Barley at grid reference SD823403. The car park has good facilities with a cafe, toilets, riverside park, litter bins, plenty of seating and at the time of writing up these directions was surprisingly well priced.
  2. To reach Barley. Leave the M65 at junction 8 ( or if heading from the M60 Manchester Ring Road take the M66 at junction 18 then at the end of the M66 continue on the A56 which brings you to junction 8 of the M65 ). At junction 8 head north from the roundabout taking the A6068 signposted to Clitheroe, Whalley & Padiham. Follow the A6068 for five miles then turn left down St Annes Way at Fence following white sign to Spenbrook and brown sign to Barley Picnic Area. Take the second left up Noggarth Road following white sign to Spenbrook. Follow the road round a sharp bend to the right then shortly after turn left down Heights Lane following the white sign to Spenbrook and brown sign to Barley Picnic Area. Follow the road through Spenbrook and Newchurch, over the hill and down into Barley. The car park is on the right after the village hall.
  3. From the car park head back to the main road through the village. Carefully cross the main road and head down Barley Green with the Barley Village Hall on your left.
  4. Walk along the Barley Green road for just over half a kilometre and the road will ascend a short hill to reach the Lower Ogden Reservoir. Continue along the road with the reservoir on your left and sloping farm fields on your right.
  5. After a wood on the right at the far end of the reservoir a track turns right up the hill. Ignore this track and instead continue along the lower road passing the very far end of Lower Ogden Reservoir.
  6. Half a kilometre along the road you will pass a forest. Just after the forest another track turns right up the hill. Again ignore this track too and keep to the lower road that continues to reach the foot of the dam wall.
  7. At the impressive dam wall head up the right hand side on a rough path to reach the Upper Ogden Reservoir. Follow the narrow path along the north side of the reservoir to reach its far end. Half way along there is a kissing gate as the wall passes through the impressive stone wall.
  8. When you reach the far end of the reservoir the path continues into the valley with the stream now on your left. After a hundred and fifty metres the path reaches another kissing gate through a stone wall.
  9. Here make sure you turn right after the gate and take the slightly higher path. Do not stay on the lower muddy path by the stream. There is a Pendle Way marker stone pointing the way up the hill to the higher path.
  10. Follow this higher path through the valley and after two hundred metres you will reach a crossing over the Boar Clough stream. Cross the stream then turn right and ascend north on the rough path up the shoulder of Boar Clough. Again following the marker stones for the route of the Pendle Way.
  11. This path is steep and rough in places but soon reaches the top of Boar Clough where it starts to flatten off. The path then crosses typical peat moorland and streams for a around a kilometre before turning right and heading north east across easier ground.
  12. After heading north east for four hundred metres the path turns right and ascends the summit plateau of Pendle Hill. On a clear day the views to the right over the steep drop of the eastern edge to Barley are awesome.
  13. You will eventually reach the summit of Pendle Hill known as Beacon End or Big End. At the summit there is an OS trig point pillar sat on an impressive circular stone cairn.
  14. Pendle Hill's lofty height of 557m above sea level and its isolated position make for great views from the summit. On a clear day you can see the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Morecambe Bay, the Forest of Bowland and of course the sprawling Lancashire mill towns.
  15. From the summit head north for four hundred metres. When you reach a stone wall do not cross it and instead descend to the right keeping the wall on your left. When you reach another stile over the wall, again avoid it and instead turn right and start the descent path down the eastern edge.
  16. This is a really well laid path that dissects the slope of the steep eastern edge of Pendle Hill. After half a kilometre of steep descent the path reaches the corner of two stone walls.
  17. Here keep to the main path and follow it down to a kissing gate above Pendle House Farm. After passing through the kissing gate turn right immediately and follow the route of the Pendle Way round the back of Pendle House Farm.
  18. Follow the path round the back of the farm and follow it through a few gates through the farm fields. Still following the route of the Pendle Way. After half a kilometre you will reach Brown House Farm.
  19. At Brown House Farm follow the footpath and Pendle Way signs through the farm to reach the footpath that heads south west away from Brown House through farm fields to Barley.
  20. After half a kilometre you will reach Ings End. Here you will go round the back of a house then reach a tarmac road. Turn left along the tarmac road then after a hundred and fifty metres turn right on to a foot path.
  21. This path will take you back into Barley Village. Barley is a great place to finish the walk as apart from being picturesque and walker friendly it has some fantastic places to eat and drink, in particular the fabulous Pendle Inn.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL41 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 103 Map Click to buy Cicerone Forest of Bowland and Pendle Click to buy Alastair Lee's Pendle

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Pendle Hill from Barley

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.