Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
After almost incessant rain over the last few weeks, it seems such a delight to have a forecast of a full sunny day. So we planned a walk that would be out and about in the sun and avoid some of the mud in the lowland paths. A nice cafe; handy parking spot and a Booths supermarket called us back to Barrowford.
We started in the heart of the old town, which developed into a small industrial complex during the cotton boom of the 18th and 19th centuries. A path from the Heritage Centre car park follows Pendle Water to the bridge next to the old water-mill at Higherford. We followed the pavement up to Blacko village on the high road across to Yorkshire. A discussion on pronunciation followed; is it Blake-O or Black-O? However one pronounces it the villages claim to fame is the old chapel where the young Jimmy Clitheroe first performed on his accordion before he became a music hall star of the 1950s and 1960s.
On the summit of the road is Blacko Hill where stands Stansfield Tower. Some sources have this tower as once the home base of the Pendle Witches but it was actually a folly built in 1891 by Jonathan Stansfield a local grocer. There is no access to the Tower, the Farmer has fenced the top of the hill off and the public footpath skirts around the bottom. One of those unfriendly farmers according to the information centre who warned me off attempting the ascent.
A minor road took us, still mud free, down to Blacko Foot, where we picked up the Pendle Way across fields to Waters Meeting. A lovely peaceful spot with well-drained fields where three streams join to form Pendle Water.
Across an old packhorse bridge the rippling brook caught the early spring sunshine as Dippers dashed up and down the river. Just before the bridge is the Higher ford, used as a main route into Lancashire before the packhorse bridge was built. Known locally as the Roman Bridge, it actually dates to the 17th century. John Wesley stood on it in 1748 to deliver a sermon. The vicar would not let Wesley preach in his church and some of the locals were even more hostile. So he often preached in out of such out-of-the-way spots on common land and public roads.
The track beside the brook took us back into Higherford and Barrowford. After picking a nice bottle of wine at Booths we returned through the park to the car.