South Pennine Walks
Date: 23rd December 2012
Distance: 7.6 miles
Ascent: 1380 feet
Time: 3 hours 15 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD908466
A visit to the small moorland pocket of Bleara Moor above Earby in the north-west corner of the South Pennines.
Route Summary: Earby - Mill Bridge - Gaylands Lane - Oak Slack - Dodgson Lane - Mitton Lane - Winter Gap Lane - Raygill - Winter Gap Lane - Bleara Moor - Coolham Lane - Earby
1. Earby's Coronation Hall, now the village library
2. Wentcliff Brook behind the Youth Hostel
3. A lonely windswept tree
4. The abandoned house at Fiddling Clough
5. On Dodgson's Lane
6. Weets Hill and the only real spot of sunshine I saw
7. The road over Thornton Moor looking to Flasby Fell
8. Pinhaw Beacon from Mitton Lane
9. One of the Raygill Lakes
10. And the award for muddiest path of the year goes to...
11. On Bleara Lowe
12. Earby from near the bottom of Bleara Moor
Walk Detail: The main aim of this walk was to get up to the top of Bleara Moor, a summit that I'd included on my 'to do' list of South Pennine tops when I first put this website together three years ago.
The walk initially headed out of Earby via Mill Head and the small Youth Hostel behind which I crossed Wentcliff Brook before crossing Gaylands Lane to follow a few fields up on to the moor above Batty House and Booth House. From there I followed a sunken way past the odd lonely tree to a track leading down to the farmhouse of Oak Slack and a second crossing of Wentcliff Brook.
The weather forecast was fairly promising but in reality it was a grey and sombre day (as it always seems to be when I come to this part of the South Pennines) and to add to the rather doleful feel to the walk I passed by an abandoned house alongside Fiddling Clough. It is a shame the house has fallen into disuse as it is in an idyllic setting.
After climbing up Dodgson's Lane I emerged on to the road that crosses Thornton Moor as it makes its way to Carleton. Following the road east I then descended into Lothersdale via Mitton Lane and then Winter Gap Lane to Raygill. The reason for this detour was that I was curious about the lakes marked on the map. As it happened I only got a look at one of them but I was compensated by a rather tasty bacon and sausage sandwich at the small lakeside cafe.
Shortly after leaving the cafe I had to trudge across perhaps the muddiest path I've come across this year before a mile or so of road walking brought me at last up on to a corner of Bleara Moor. Having carefully climbed a wall to access the moor it was a short walk to the top, which is marked by Bleara Lowe, a tumulus reminiscent of some of the more numerous examples found on the North York Moors.
Although of fairly low elevation the moors making up the northern fringe of the South Pennines all have excellent views north into the Yorkshire Dales. Situated as it is in the north-west corner of these moors Bleara Moor features not only an extensive view of the Dales but also westwards to Pendle Hill and a long line of Bowland moors. From Bleara Lowe I made my way to a second, less obvious, tumulus before descending the moor through pathless heather to a large stile that led on to Coolham Lane. From there it was a simple walk back down into the village with some good views of Earby.
While the walk had a few moments of interest it was far from being a classic. Perhaps if the sun had made an appearance to improve the long distance views it would have been more enjoyable but as it was everything felt just a little bit drab. Still it was good to tick Bleara Moor off my 'to do' list.