What it's like
Lancashire is a county of contrasts - from High mountains that border Cumbria and North Yorkshire, through rolling moorland, the wilderness country of The Forest of Bowland and all the way to the long sandy beaches that most people associate the county with. Think of Lancashire and people conjure up visions of Blackpool, but as a walking destination this region is much underrated and often driven right through as walkers hurry to the Lakes or Scotland. They are missing much and if you take time to explore this wonderful area you will well and truly have your eyes opened to walking possibilities you never dreamed existed. The West Pennine Moors are probably one of the best known areas for the walker with Winter Hill and its high masts visible from the surrounding area, but a lot of people don’t realise that with Green Hill and Gragareth (both considered by most to be claimed by Yorkshire) as the two highest points in the county, you have a foot in the high land of the Pennines and the mountains of the bordering counties.
And then there is the magnificent Forest Of Bowland which is no longer tree covered but is instead a vast and often trackless wilderness which was mostly our of bounds until Open Access gave us the right to roam on many parts of it. Paths are still few and the area a challenge to navigation but if you are looking for a place to get away from it all with some tough walking thrown in, then make a point of coming here armed with map and guide book.
The coast is well documented and the coastal towns are busy, but the endless beaches offer much for those who want to walk for miles with no obstructions. And between the sea and those hills you will find valleys, rivers, lakes and mile upon mile of wonderful footpaths that you can link together to form superb circular routes.
- Darwen Tower Walk An atmospheric route over Darwen Moors and to the prominent tower in the West Pennine Moorland.
- The Forest of Bowland An ascent of Clougha Pike, Shooters Pike and Wards Stone – the classic walk in the Forest of Bowland moorland – tough going in remote terrain which can be simply reversed or made into a rough circuit.
- Pendle Hill Prominent for miles around and a magnet for walkers - Pendle Hill and the Pendle Witches draw outdoor enthusiasts. Good paths and great views from the summit, a very atmospheric route.
Must see and do
- Forest Of Bowland Once an ancient hunting ground but no longer forested, this must rank as one of the great wildernesses of England. Mostly out of bounds to walkers until recent open access agreements but now just waiting to be explored.
- Pendle Heritage Centre and Pendle Hill We’ve mentioned the hill already – the Heritage centre tells the story of The Pendle witches and the surrounding area. www.visitlancashire.com/site/pendle-heritage-centre
- Check out the view from the top of Blackpool Tower Sounds corny but it takes seven years to paint and the lifts travel 3,500 miles a year. Worth it for the view alone. www.theblackpooltower.co.uk
- Walk in the West Pennine Moorland Not as high as the main Pennine Ridge but a region of great routes and fewer people and worth the effort to get to know.
Destination County : Lancashire