I DID this walk on a lovely, crisp winter's day. In Downham, the sun was out and the colours were lovely, as we approached Pendle Hill, you could see it was covered in snow, and the higher we got, the deeper the snow.
The summit was full of walkers and on our way up, we were passed by an intrepid group of mountain bikers, careering down the hill in an adrenalin filled, harum-scarum rush.
This route takes a well-walked path to the top and a less popular, sharper route back down. Once off the hill, you can either head back to Downham, or take a longer route back, but always within sight of the brooding Pendle Hill.
Step by step
1. From Downham car park, pass the cafe, cross the village green and over road. Keep houses and beck to your left and follow to start of footpath. Follow the well-used path as it crosses fields and a footbridge, and over a track into another field. Start climbing steadily uphill and continue to a barn, over the wall in front of barn, bear left and then right, following steps up to road.
2. Cross over road and take concessionary footpath directly opposite heading straight to Pendle Hill. Follow path and waymarkers as route zig-zags its way to summit.
3. Retrace steps but this time, ignore the ladder stile you took to get you to the summit, and take the second one and follow the path as it makes its way back down the hill to join the path you took taking you to the top. Retrace your steps back down to the start of 2.
4. Cross back over the road, and go down the steps to the barn on the left, and either retrace steps back to Downham, or turn right here and take the footpath sign to Hecklin. Follow the good waymarkers across field to wall, over wall. Pass a farmhouse on left and keeping fence to left, head towards another farmhouse. Keeping farmhouse to left, pass it to a wall stile. Cross stile and straight ahead to finger marker pointing to Barley. Keep to left of field to wooden five bar gate. Go through gate, follow track and just past metal gate, take path to left, downhill to beck and footbridge.
5. Climb uphill, through gate and into field, keep to path towards barn, just past barn, take path as it goes off to left, crosses footbridge and up to Throstle Hall Cottage. Go left at cottage and follow path as it goes downhill and through gate in wall into field, downhill, keeping fence on left. Through another gate, and over middle of field, down to some more stepping stones over a beck. Follow way markers and head towards farmhouse on left. Cross over field and head towards lone tree on horizon. Follow path and wall stiles into a large field with a well trodden path that drops downhill, to the right to meet up with a wall. Follow the wall along to a disused quarry on left, and take the stile in wall on right. Follow path, with wall on left, to bottom and then before farmhouse, take path to left and follow path back to Downham.
Distance: eight miles (12 km)
Time taken: allow three to four hours
Total climb: 1,1827ft (557m)
Level of difficulty: Moderate to hard
Terrain: Moorland, fields, tracks
Parking: Free parking, Downham
Refreshments: Pubs and cafe in Downham
Gates: Most easy, some more difficult, some stepping stones over becks
OS Map: Landranger 103 Blackburn and Burnley