Pendle Hill
The Witches Trail

Walking in Pendle and The Forest of Bowland


Pendle and The Forest of Bowland offers a wide variety of walking. Explore the Pendle Way, follow the Witches Trail, nature lovers can marvel at the magnificent wild life on the reservoir walks or try the challenging West Craven Way. The choice is yours....

Whilst the Forest of Bowland may not have particularly high peaks, there are large areas that are remote and isolated with little distinguishing features to aid navigation. The Forest of Bowland has its own Mountain Rescue Team who are often called out by people who have underestimated the Bowland Fells.

Before embarking on any walking in the Forest of Bowland AONB we recommend that you purchase a copy of the Ordnance Survey Map OL41 - Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale and let somebody know your plans before departure. Mobile phone coverage is patchy and can not be relied upon on most of the Bowland Fells.

Whether you are an experienced hiker or just looking for an afternoon stroll, Pendle's countryside is criss-crossed by miles of accessible footpaths ensuring there is always a route for you.

Pendle Way and The Witches Trail

The Pendle Way is a 45 mile circular walk in 8 sections passing through villages like Barnoldswick, Earby and Newchurch-in-Pendle. There are also 6 smaller circular walks along the route. The Pendle Way is a circular walk around Pendle which takes you to the summit of Pendle Hill, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the area. Signs featuring a witch on a broomstick will guide you on your way. Shorter circular walks lead from the Pendle Way itself.

Pendle's Three Peaks.

Pendle, Boulsworth and Weets Hills offers walks varying in length from 5 to 8 miles, with refreshments and parking at the beginning and end of each walk. Pendle Hill rises to 1,800 ft, Weets Hill offers great views across to the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks and Boulsworth Hill has magnificent rock formations with ancient gritstone outcrops revealing 7000 year old drawings of Bison and Elk.

Information about the Pendle Way is contained in a special information pack available from Nelson Tourist Information Centre tel:01282 692890 or Pendle Information Centre tel:01282 661701

Walks around Pendle Hill

These 3 circular walks all start from Barley Green Car Park, Barley, Burnley BB12
Map ref SD 823 402

Aitken Wood

2.3 Miles, 1.5 hours
Terrain:Roads, tracks and fields
Some stiles
Can be wet underfoot

The route through Aitken wood is moderately steep but the views of Pendle on a fine day make it all worthwhile! Much of the route is on hard surfaced tracks but some sections are un-surfaced and may become muddy in wet weather. There are several gates and kissing gates on the route but at the time of writing only one stile, at the Whitehough end of the walk. Allow up to 1.5 hours.

On leaving the car park, walk through the picnic area and the village.
Turn first right past the Methodist Church taking the track signposted private road which leads to Black Moss Reservoirs.
At the junction turn right and follow the path towards Black Moss Road.
Turn right through the kissing gate and follow the track up the hill.
At this point follow the way marked path down hill through the wood.
Pass through the Kissing Gate and follow the way marked route towards the conifer wood ahead of you.
Pass through the wood and continue ahead to the wall stile. Turn right and follow the track back to Barley.

Black Moss

3.2 Miles 1 Hr 15mins
Roads, tracks and fields
Some stiles Can be wet underfoot

There are no steep gradients on the walk and much of the walk is on hard surfaced tracks or tarmac road. However, the return leg of the route crosses fields, which may become muddy in wet weather. The middle section of the walk is along a country lane and care should be taken to ensure you are visible to drivers using the road. There are several gates and kissing gates to negotiate but, at the time of writing, no stiles.

On leaving the car park,walk through the picnic area and the village.
Take the second track on the right past the Methodist Church sign-posted ‘private road’ which leads to Black Moss Reservoirs.
At the junction turn right and follow the path to Blackmoss Road.
At the road turn left and continue along the road to the signpost on the left hand side, by a field gate. Take care on the road.
Turn left through the gate and follow the track, passing Salt Pie Farm, to Foot House Gate Farm.
At the farm, pass through the gate on the right. Take the path skirting the reservoir.
Follow the track past Over Houses, go over the bridge, and pass through the small gate on the right and back to Barley.

Ogden Reservoir and Fell Wood
3.5 Miles, 2 Hrs 15 Mins
Roads, tracks and fields
Some stiles Can be wet underfoot

One or two steep gradients together with some relatively rough boggy moorland. A significant number of stiles need to be crossed over the course of the walk.

Leave the car park by the main entrance, turn right and then cross the road to pass the village hall on your left. Pass Barley Green Farmhouse on your right and then take the first farm gate on your right hand side, taking care to fasten it securely behind you. Follow the old track way as it zig-zags over Barley Green, passing through two kissing gates whilst heading for the top of the plantation ahead.
Pass along the top side of the plantation and cross another stile to join the hard surfaced track and continue straight ahead. Where the track turns right towards the farm yard, ignore the stile straight ahead and turn left to follow the wall down towards Ogden Reservoir. On reaching the reservoir road, turn right and carry on towards Upper Ogden Reservoir.
Climb over the stone stile and carry on to the top of the dam wall, then turn left and cross to the stile at the far side of the dam. Follow the trodden path straight up (this section is quite steep and may be quite wet underfoot but rewards frequent rest stops with excellent views of Pendle). On nearing the top of the climb, take the stile on your left and follow the path, over the wall stile, towards the top of Fell Wood.
Cross the two wall stiles and on reaching the end of the wood, turn sharp left over another stile and descend the path down the side of the wood. Towards the corner of the wood you turn left over another stile and follow the path down through the woodland and towards Lower Ogden reservoir. At the bottom of the path cross two small bridges and turn right through a small gate onto the reservoir track once more and follow this down and back into Barley.

The West Craven Way
West Craven is the undiscovered edge of the Dales, where Yorkshire & Lancashire join together. West Craven is linked to the Pendle Way incorporating the Pendle Witch Trail and Pendle Hill at the nearby village of Barley and the Pennine Way. On the other side of the border the Yorkshire Dales are also close by to explore with the historic town of Skipton. The walk is challenging and can be split into two 12 mile sections.              

Pendle Reservoir Walks                                                                                                                                        There are three short walks starting from the picnic area in the village of Barley. These are a bird watchers paradise as Nuthatch, Redshank and Curlew can all be spotted.

Downham Circular Walks
Nestling under the bulk of Pendle Hill, Downham is quiet and unspoilt village with a church, stone cottages full of character and a brook running through the middle of the village green. The three Downham Circular Walks offer routes through the village taking in various points of interest such as the Ribchester to Ilkley Roman Road and a lime kiln at Twiston Lane. The walks range from 3 to 7 miles in length taking approximately 2-5 hours to complete. For information and routes click Downham Circular Walks

Gisburn Circular Walk
The walk begins in Gisburn, a village with an ancient church dating back to Norman times, inns and other buildings of interest dating from the sixteenth to the nineteeth centuries. Walks are approximately 4-5 hours, medium grade. For further details and routes click Gisburn Circular Walks


Pendle has some of the best walking, riding and cycling festivals in the North of England.

The Pendle Walking Festival runs from the 5th -15th September and offers free guided walks to suit walkers of all abilities. Further details on the trails will be available in June/July from


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015