Where is it: The Village of Barley,Near Clitheroe, East Lancashire
How high is it? 327 Metres or 1072 feet above sea level.
In which AONB or National Park? It lies within the Forest of Pendle within the Forest of Bowland
With a forest of coniferous trees stretching its north to south axis, not one but two reservoirs within spitting distance of its feet and unrivaled views across to the eastern face of mighty Pendle Hill; Stang Top Moor sits in an enviable position at the far southern edge of the Forest of Bowland. It is true that with regards to it’s height it certainly has been overlooked in favour of it’s illustrious neighbour but in its’ own right the Western approach to its summit starting at the Upper Black Moss reservoir and ascending through Aitken Wood is a challenge to any walker.
Stang Top Moor is most definitely an hill of two natures, the picturesque north and western half is a marked contrast to the somewhat bleak and higgledy piggledy eastern side. The northern and western sides have trees and sculptures hanging from them within Aitken Wood and the eastern section has uneven sheep pastures and an ordnance survey column in desperate need of a paint job!
Stang Top Moor is flanked on its northern and western sides by tarmac roads, on its’ eastern aspect by the lane which slides between the hill and both Black Moss reservoirs and the romantic shady lane adjacent to Stacks Wood is the final area of enclosure at its’ southern extremity. Thus this is one boxed-in hill and in some ways this strikes its’ name off the moorland walker’s “to-do” list, there are a lot of walls to obstruct ones’ passage to its summit…the only obvious ascension being from the north and east coming in from the road (of all places) and through the gate – the wall stile being somewhat redundant! Apparently a route from the south east does exist via an ever-diminishing path from the neighbouring Outdoor Activity Centre at White Hough.
Aiken Wood occupies a sizable percentage of the land encompassed here and in dry conditions can be an adventure to roam in its’ own right. After a spate of wet weather the terrain, which is largely peat; can be a tad treacherous but the ornaments dangling from the trees (deliberately not presented here) add a spot of interest to an otherwise eerie environment. (Although by comparison to Fell Wood just over a mile and a half away Aitken Wood could host a Teddy Bear’s picnic!)
The views from the summit (once one has avoided the bleating sheep) are far reaching and dramatic. To the east the impressive Blacko Tower rises majestically from Blacko Hill beyond this lie the Pennines. To the west Pendle hill dominates the skyline above Aitken Wood. The view south west features the lovely range of Saddlers Height with adjoining forest of Fell Wood peaks out above Barley Hill with the somber Spence Moor even further behind. The view south features one of the most undiscovered (or at least unpublished) parts of the Forest of Pendle…Nogarth Ridge.