Who would have thought that ‘Ole Pendle’ would make it into this my most exclusive of all catergories? Anyone and everyone! My fondness for this particular hill is a badly kept secret…I love this hill even if the ascents up it from Downham and from Barley could at best be described as arduous.
This route takes us the long way round, perhaps not quite as far as the walk described by Jack Keighley as from “The Nick of Pendle”, but a good distance out of the way.
We set off from Barley visitor center and car park and head right then left in order to get onto Cross Lane. After that it’s pretty much a case of ‘stay as you are’ for the next mile or so as we head off to the delightful district / parish of Newchurch in Pendle to witness the quaintly bizarre “Witches Galore”. I would urge anyone visiting to call in at this lovely little esoteric shop – if you don’t want to purchase a witch, goblet, mug with a picture of Pendle Hill imprinted on it then at least buy one of their flapjacks – it will see you through to the end of this nine miles walk!
From here there is an option to carry on sight-seeing and to call in at Saint Mary’s Church in Newchurch in Pendle in order to visit the grave of one of the accused Pendle Witches, Alice Nutter. I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that you won’t find the name of this unfortunate, wrongly accused woman on any gravestone here; but a good clue is to look for a grave with a skull etched upon it – a further tip is to say that it’s very close to the church itself. After spending some time here then it’s off back onto Cross Lane / Spenbrook Road again. Ignore the turn off on the right hand side (Wellhead Road) – that’s the cheat’s route which would cut some distance off the trek but then you’d miss out the Tynedales.
The safety minded amongst us might want to keep to the right hand side of the road for the best side of a mile and an half as there is no pavement to speak of on the left hand side. Ultimately you will have to cross the quite quiet road as we near Tynedale, Little Tynedale appears first on our right hand side and from there it is a case of taking the next right hand side turning opposite ‘Heights Road’ and onto the ‘Pendle Way’.
We are now heading towards Tynedale Farm and as on this particular track there are just the two residences (both of which named Tynedale something) then it isn’t too hard to locate. Tynedale Cottage is a delightful little characterful building and the farm is an warm contrast to that of the profile staged on the episodes of the once popular Living TV programme: Most Haunted.
The Pendle Way skirts between the two Tynedale residences and we join this for a nominal distance before it skirts off in one direction along Well Head Road and we take a detour along the gravel and grit path, through the ‘Bull Hole’ where gradually Well Head is reached. Turn left here (as usual!) and after 100 yards or so cross the lane and look for a break in the wall with a tiny; but stiff gate. This is the entrance to the eastern half of Saddlers’ Height and it is phenomenally steep. Fortunately the summit of this particular micro peak at 1,237′ lies within the western half and this is in what I believe is in a private field…so you don’t have to struggle up it! Again, fortunately for us, the ascent is quite quickly accomplished and soon the path levels and then drops a little. With this drop comes a reduction in drainage and fallen rain water does tend to stay on the fell for sometime (definitely not one to try during or just after rain). Here, take the option of the wall stile to bring you out on the right hand side of Fell Wood, but first take time out to feast your eyes on some of the loveliest scenery on the walk as views open out over Lower Ogden Reservoir, Barley Hill, distant glimpses of Stang Top Moor and the south eastern aspect of Pendle Hill itself.
Fell Wood is the next stop and it is something of an eerie Wood for its’ absence of natural noise. Light does penetrate the foliage of the abundant conifers and the path is of an excellent build quality although somewhat lacking in naturalness!