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Burnley Way - Part 4: Portsmouth to Towneley


Moderate to Difficult




On walk four, you will climb to the highest point along the Burnley Way at the top of Thieveley Pike. You will pass ruins, go through new and ancient woodland, cross farmland and over the railway, finally finishing this part of the walk at Towneley. A variety of flora and fauna can be found along this route. Ravens and peregrine falcons nest in the area, while smaller birds, such as meadow pipit and skylark, are heard on the moors in Summer. Red, fallow and roe deer can be glimpsed near Thieveley and smaller creatures, such as grey squirrels and woodpeckers, can be seen in the parkland and woods at Towneley. Cotton grass, wild garlic, bluebells and wood anenome also put a seasonal show on the moorland woods. For this walk, we recommend walking with a friend or group. We also advise wearing stout boots, waterproofs, and warm clothing.

Walk Waypoints

  1. 1 The walk starts 200m on the right hand side of the bus stop on the A646 (Burnley Rd) at Portsmouth. Carefully cross the road to ascend a steep track for several hundred metres, bearing right beneath the pylons up past a restored barn. About 200m beyond, leave the track to your right and head West-South-West up to the summit of Heald Moor. This ridge offers several short links across to the Rossendale Way.
  2. 2 At the summit, bear right to the North-West following an indistuinct path along the broad ridge, crossing a faint track, and then following alongside a wall before ascending to the white Ordnance Survey triangulation column on Thieveley Pike about 2km on. The Pike is 449m (1474ft) above sea level - the highest point on the Burnley Way.
  3. 3 Cross the stile and descend to your right approximately due north, crossing a track half-way down and skirting the edge of Dean Scout rocks by keeping the fence just to your right before reaching the Forest of Burnley plantation below a kissing gate at the derelict Thieveley Farm ruin.
  4. 4 The steep descent heads down through a wide ride in the new woodland to another kissing gate, and continues between Buckley and Dodbottom woods. Descend this steep section with care. At the lane, head left before swinging right under the railway to join the Pennine Bridleway not far beyond. Here you have the option of going along Station Rd back to Holme Chapel for refreshment. Buses will take you back to Burnley or Foxstones Lane to walk back to Hurstwood.
  5. 5 Continue along the Pennine Bridleway past Scout Farm. Beyond the Farm, the track crosses a marshy pasture to Stone House Fold. Continue straight on, leaving the Pennine Bridleway (which swings up left) to 50m beyond the bridge over Easden Clough stream, where you then have a choice of routes.
  6. 6 Route 1 - continue along the lane for 1km to the hairpin bend at the metalled minor road. Carefully turn right downhill and, after 350m just beyond the driveway to Dyneley Hall, turn right through a gap in the wall. Cross the footbridge and head up through the field with the Dyneley wall close to your right. Traverse the next field, heading down to carefully cross the railway and the A646 beyond. Over the road to your right, a path besides a housing estate leads over a footbridge to Park Road. Go left for 100m.
  7. 7 Route 2 - go through the stile on the right of the lane, and follow the stream for about 100m before turning left across the field to follow the fence to a wooden stile. Cross the next field diafonally up the next meadow to a stile in the wall. Through the stile, keep the wooded hillock called Fireman's Helmet to your left. Turn right to the fenced path and beyond the wood to head down under the railway. (You can catch a bus back to Burnley here if you wish.) Carefully cross the A646 and go right. After 50m, turn left along Park Road and continue for 300m.
  8. 8 By Cliviger Mill Bridge, turn tight up the track to Barcroft Hall. Passing to the left of the buildings, climb up a large field to a kissing gate near a lone hawthorn. Cross another large field, keeping the disused sandpit to your right, to Cliviger Laithe.
  9. 9 Bear left through two gates and then descend a field to skirt Wet Marl Wood and cross the River Calder into Towneley Park.
  10. 10 Follow the path along the river before bearing left through the sports pavilion car park to the avenue. Then head up to Towneley Hall (you can leave the Burnley Way here by walking 2km to Burnley bus station via Towneley Holmes Road, Todmorden Road and Yorkshire Street). There are toilets and a cafe at the Rotunda at the Towneley Riverside car park over the bridge from the play area.
  11. 11 Either: pass to the right of Towneley Hall beyond the cafe (toilets are available in the new wing of the hall), and continue up the Lime Avenue behind it to Foldy's Cross and Barwise car park and picnic site;
  12. 12 Or, go behind the Hall, and bear right up Boulder Walk following the Wayside Arts Trail. Turn right at Boggart Bridge shelter, then left after 130m to Todmorden Road. At Todmorden Road, walk towards the entrance to the golf club, a bus service will take you back into Burnley town centre.

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