Pendle Hill from Downham”

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Last Wednesday I managed to take an afternoon off work to get out for a walk, making the most of a fine day. I decided to drive over to Shazza country and head up Pendle Hill. I’d been up there for a walk earlier this year during the heatwave, but this time decided to tackle a circular route from the village of Downham which is only 30 miles and less than an hour away from home.

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Downham is a very pretty village and somewhat lost in time. The properties are all owned by the Assheton family who rent or lease them out and they don’t allow residents to install overhead electricity lines, aerials or satellite dishes. This has made the village a popular location for filming period TV programmes and films, including the BBC One series Born and Bred. More notably it was the main location for the 1961 Bryan Forbes film, Whistle Down the Wind, which, although rather sentimental, is one of my favourites as it very much reminds me of my childhood – the local children who used as actors and extras are of my generation and also spoke rather like I do!

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I parked up in the free (!) car park and bought myself a few supplies from the small café cum ice cream and snack shop and set out following a path southwards which took me across some fields towards Worsaw Hill and Worsaw End. The farm lying at the foot of this hill was used as the home of the main characters in Whistle Down the Wind.

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I then took the path past the farm that headed east towards Pendle Hill. After a short section of tarmac I was back on soft ground passing along a narrow path between hedge boundaries

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and then starting my climb up the flank of the hill.

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Looking back there were good views of Worsaw Hill

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With Ingleborough and Penyghent in the Yorkshire Dales clearly visible in the distance.

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It’s a steep ascent, so it doesn’t take too long to reach the top of the ridge (although not quite the summit of the hill)by the large cairn erected to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Scout movement.

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I then set out along the ridge heading for the “Big End” which is the highest point of the hill. It was over a mile, mainly walking over soft peat which is inevitably normally muddy and gloopy underfoot, but the long dry spell from May to the beginning of August (although now seeming like a distant memory) meant that despite some recent rain the going wasn’t too bad.

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Visibility was reasonably good so there were views in all directions
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about half way along the ridge I passed this round shelter, which rather looked like it had been created by Andy Goldsworthy

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After crossing a wall and passing this recently constructed seat come wind shelter

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The Big End was in view

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Quite a lot of work has been done recently on the paths which is necessary on such a popular peat covered hill to control erosion. Some people don’t like this but I’m afraid it’s necessary.

It didn’t take long now to reach the trig point at the summit

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Time to stop for a little while, grab a bite to eat and soak up the views, looking down to Barley

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After my short break I retrace my steps along the engineered path back to the wall

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and then took the path which descended diagonally down the hill back towards Downham

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Descending is harder on than knees than climbing, but it didn’t give me too much trouble this time.

Looking back from the foot of the hill

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and looking ahead

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An easy stroll of about a mile or so over the fields alongside the small river took me back towards Downham

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Looking back to Pendle Hill

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Passing through this gate took me back into the village

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The cloud had cleared during the course of my walk and it was now a bright sunny late afternoon.

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I spent half an hour or so mooching around the village and taking a few snaps (I’ll probably include them in another post) before heading back to my car, changing out of my boots and setting off back home.

11 thoughts on “Pendle Hill from Downham”

  1. Nice photos! Did you notice any bus stops whilst mooching around Downham? I had planned a visit last year but had to cancel due to severe weather. I had read a couple of articles which stated that there were no specific bus stops (the mode of transport I would have been using) as Lord Assheton was of the view that they were ugly and had no place in the village (where the tenants possibly all own cars?).

  2. Shazza Country. I like it! I actually was thinking of walking up Pendle this wknd from Barley . This looks a great route though! Also this weekend my old primary school in the village is having a reunion open day for ex pupils. Not sure whether I will go. Keep thinking about it.

    • Well I remember your comment to one of my previous posts when you mentioned you went to school here and so Downham is quite clearly “Shazza Country”!!
      This is a good route. But so is that up Pendle from Barley via Ogden Clough (a better route than straight up from Barley I think)

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