Length of walk: 5.5 miles

Difficulty: Medium

Accessibility: Muddy in places with stiles to negotiate; some of which are a little wobbly. Some fields may contain livestock.

This 5½ mile walk leaves Abbey Village along the Roddesworth reservoirs, snakes over the top into Tockholes and returns to base via over farmland and pretty woodland paths. At the highest point, 840 feet up, the views across Lancashire’s countryside are glorious, and with a couple of good eating places en-route, this will be a nice afternoon out.

Park up near the Hare and Hounds (PR6 8DP), a lovely village pub serving British/German food, which is on the A675 Bolton Road in Abbey Village, a few minutes SE of the M65 junction 3.

Turn left at the end of the pub car park and then immediate right towards Rake Brook reservoir, the body of water in the distance. Follow the tarmacked track round Rake Brook and turn left just before Rake Cottage down the footpath. Cross the bridge and go through the wooden area until you pick up the track again. Once you get to the bend, Lower Roddlesworth opens up before you.

Follow the track left around the bend and head along the straight track towards the wooded area on the far side. Bear right and follow the path into the woodlands. After ten minutes or so, you’ll arrive at a fork; bear left here and the path will eventually meander down to the banks of Higher Roddlesworth. Just as Higher Roddlesworth tapers off, you’ll come to a crossroads; turn 90 degrees left, and follow this path uphill. Alter a good five minutes climb, you’ll bear left at a fork, as you climb the last few feet to the top, rising like a mirage will be the Royal Arms on Tockholes Road, and on the car park next door is the Roddlesworth Information Centre and a café. It’s a good a place as any for a stop off.

To continue, head down a footpath at the side of the Royal Arms to and through Ryal Farm and follow the track up to the steel bar gate. Once you’re through turn right and follow the path downhill on the right hand perimeter of the field to the base and then go through the kissing gate and climb up hill on a gorse strewn path. The views are magnificent, the Darwen Tower and wind turbines overlooking Earnsdale Resovoir, as the path arrives at Dean Lane. Cross this and then go uphill in the same direction.

Glorious 360 degrees abound as you follow the track (Trash Lane) past Clayton Bank and then bear left and start a gradual descent down Weasel Lane until you arrive back at Tockholes Road. Cross straight over the road and down Long Lane, a single track road. When you arrive at the T-junction with the lych-gate opposite, turn left and follow the road round the bend past a handsome church.

Bear right at the fork and follow the track downhill to a small hamlet (passing two ‘private’ signs meant to keep out vehicles) and you’ll arrive at a farm gate. Once you go through the gate and head towards the farm in the distance, keeping to the right hand perimeter of the field. Just after a stunted clump of trees you’ll see a rather rickety stile. Hop over here and head diagonally across the field towards the steel gate entrance to the farmyard of Shaw’s Farm.

Once you’re through the gate, bear right across the farmyard and once you’re through, follow the track until you reach a fork. Bear left towards Bradley Farm. Once you’re passed the first building on the left, turn left and follow a long straight path away from the farm.

When you arrive at the end of the second field, you’ll see a sign post advising you of three options, turn right and shortly afterwards, cross a stile and as the view of another reservoir opens up on the right, bear left down the hill towards a wooden footbridge. Cross the bridge, turn right and cross a second bridge. Follow the path for 20 yards and take the right hand fork before you reach the third bridge.

The path uphill isn’t immediately noticeable but stay on the left near to the edge and you should pick up the path to the top. At the top turn left and follow that path as it open out and after five minutes you’ll arrive at a back alley. Turn left, then cut right through the houses and turn left on Bolton Road to the starting point of the walk.

Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear whilst walking. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the walk is accurate, neither the publisher or its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or other cause.

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