Bowling along the Hidden Valley

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Your weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com

For the past four years the Dotcom Walkers have held their annual bowls contest at Sabden Crown Green Bowling Club. It is a most popular venue. It is situated in “the Hidden Valley” that runs from Whalley to Blacko so that you lift your eyes from the pavilion to the wooded and lovely hills. The hospitality shown by John Pilkington the President and other club members makes us feel completely at ease even though most of our group only play bowls once a year and don’t know one end of a bowling green from the other. The amenity itself it outstanding with a beautifully maintained green set in neat grounds with an attractively designed pavilion. It was established in 1991 after Alan Whalley a local businessman saw the potential in an area of waste ground in the village centre. What followed was a great amount of community effort and fundraising supported by local government funding to create a vital asset for the villagers (and Dotcom Walkers) to enjoy. After our match we always go for a short(ish) walk. You would think after four visits we would have exhausted all possible routes but not a bit of it. Such is the network of public footpaths and bridleways I suspect we’ll be going to Sabden for many years to come.

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Walk Facts

Start: Sabden Village Centre BB7 9EW

Distance: 4.6 miles

Time: 2-3 hours

Summary: Though this cannot be called a strenuous walk it does involve two steady climbs – the second involving 500ft of ascent so it might be strenuous after all.

Map: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors

Directions:

1. At the cross roads in the village centre close to Sabden primary School turn into Whalley Road and walk along it until you reach the edge of the village in ¼ mile. When you see The Whins on the right turn into the drive and follow it as it bends to the left. At the junction turn right onto a tarmac lane that takes you to a complex of smart dwellings. After the first on the left bear left to join a footpath that (after a gate) passes a large a barn and continues on a grassy path with mature trees to the left and a relatively recent plantation to the right. After a wooden gate keep ahead with a fence line on your right and open fields to the left. Continue to a kissing gate by a remnant wall to enter a huge field. From the gate bear right to pick up a marker post to aid you on a course that dips to a gully and presses on in the direction of another marker post to a metal gate. Through this bear right skirting the edge of a wood to cross a stile next to a metal gate. Aim diagonally left climbing to the top corner of the pasture just below Wiswell Moor Houses. Here turn sharp left on a footpath that follows the edge of woodland on a long descent to Whalley Road. As the path clears the trees aim for the left of two stiles ahead and then keep ahead edging to the right of a property to arrive on Whalley Road.

2. Cross the road, turn right and then left over a stone wall immediately after a garden. In the field bear right to a corner and then follow the boundary on the left to a ladder stile all but hidden by trees. Keep ahead with Sabden Brook on the left to arrive at a footbridge. Over this bear right to a stile in a fence and turn left onto a path taking you up through woodland bringing you (eventually) to the horse riding centre of Readwood. As you reach buildings turn left on a footpath that takes you through a riding paddock. After a stile on the far left corner keep ahead to a stile in the hedgerow leading into fields. After crossing this the path traverses a long field bearing right through a gap in gorse (close to a wind turbine) and continues to a corner. Here cross a stone stile ( right turn from your previous line of travel) and follow the wall to reach Back Lane. Cross to a stile directly opposite. Over this complete the long ascent from Whalley Road by climbing the brow of the slope which is the highest part of the walk. Now with views over to Burnley and other delights keep ahead to enter a strip of woodland reaching a large farming complex at New Hall. Turn left. As you come to the drive of a second farm turn left through the second of two metal gates and bear right to the corner of Shady Walks an area of woodland. Keep right at the corner and soon after cross a stone stile to enter the woods. Follow the path until it arrives at Trap Lane in a little over ¼ mile. Cross the lane and follow the edge of woodland until it comes to an end in a little under ½ a mile. Here turn left over a stone stile to reach Back Lane. Turn right. After passing a car park on the right turn left onto a footpath leading downhill with a magnificent view of Sabden and its surroundings. Keep on the path until you reach Padiham Road. Turn left for the centre.

- Walk devised by Nigel Hext