West Pennine & Rossendale Walks
Thieveley Pike & Heald Moor
Date: 7th Dec 2013
Distance: 6.3 miles
Ascent: 1111 feet
Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SD880279
A windy and very wet walk over Thieveley Pike and Heald Moor the highlights being the climb up Dean Scout and the descent along Green's Clough.
Route Summary: Holme Chapel - Royd Wood - Dean Scout - Thieveley Pike - Heald Moor - Heald Top Farm - Green's Clough - Beater Clough - Portsmouth - A646 - Holme Chapel
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: After driving past the imposing face of Thieveley Scout on my way to visit the Bride Stones the previous week I decided that I really should visit Thieveley Pike, yet another walk I'd had on my to-do list for a while.
The forecast was for a foggy start with some drizzle with the cloud lifting through the morning and with the possibility of some brightness in the early afternoon. As it happened, as I drove through Cliviger, I could see that the cloud had already lifted off Thieveley Pike. This, allied to the fact that there were even some patches of blue sky overhead lulled me into a false sense of optimism.
After crossing over the infant River Calder we first visited the Cliviger Fish Ponds before taking a steep, and in places stepped, path up through Royd Woods. As we emerged out of the top of the woods a local dog-walker told us to keep an eye out for some deer near the path. Perhaps they overheard our conversation and hid because when we moved further up the path they were nowhere to be seen.
The next section, up on to the small ridge of Dean Scout, was one of the most enjoyable of the walk. There were great views of the dark cliffs of Thieveley Scout and then on Dean Scout itself there were some nice outcrops from which to survey the Cliviger scene. It is worth noting that if you climb Dean Scout on the left hand side of the fence to visit these rocks then sooner or later you will have to carefully climb over the barbed wire fence in order to comtinue on up to Thieveley Pike.
After crossing the fence it was a short pull up to the summit. Unfortunately, it was with imperfect timing that the weather took a serious turn for the worse. For the rest of the walk we were subject to frequent heavy bursts of rain which, combined with strengthening winds, meant the next few miles were not the most comfortable. Visibiliy also deteriorated markedly.
From Thieveley Pike we followed the Burnley Way up on to Heald Moor before doubling back on to the Rossendale side of the moor to follow a bridleway to the scrappy yard of Heald Top Farm from where we took what almost seemed like a tarmaced road to the head of Green's Clough.
After being exposed to the worst of the elements across the moor we enjoyed slightly more shelter in the clough which, from inauspicious beginnings, proved to be an absolute cracker. Part way down, as it turns into Beater Clough, it narrowed into a gorge which became increasingly colorful as we descended.
Unfortunately, the path was quite wet and greasy grass and we both slipped over awkwardly before we eventually reached the valley floor at Portsmouth. Our original plan had been to climb up the other side of the valley from Portsmouth and return via Black Scout. However, by this time we were both soaked, Tim had hurt his knee from his slip, and with the weather still offering no respite we took the sensible decision to return to Holme Chapel via the footway alongside the A646. Whilst this was not ideal it did enable us to get a glimpse of what looked to be some stunning waterfall scenery in Ratten Clough - definitely somewhere that looked worth a visit.
While the weather was less than ideal we both still enjoyed ourselves and both agreed that we'd like to revisit Beater Clough in better conditions.