West Pennine & Rossendale Walks
Rushy Hill & Hog Lowe Pike
Date: 24th July 2011
Distance: 9.3 miles
Ascent: 1569 feet
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD715222
A succession of overgrown and reedy paths were used to connect Rushy Hill, Hog Lowe Pike and Grey Stone Hill in this extended ramble in the West Pennine Moors.
Route Summary: Hoddlesden - Hoddlesden Reservoir - Shooters Hill - Rushy Hill - Calf Hey Reservoir - Hog Lowe Pike - Longshoot - Soot Hill - Grey Stone Hill - Hoddlesden Moss - Hoddlesden
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: Compared to some areas, such as the Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines, the West Pennine area is one that I have still not explored in any great detail. This then was by far the longest walk that I'd done in the area and allowed me to visit three of the lower tops in the region.
Starting from Hoddlesden, a village just east of Darwen, my first objective was the trig point on Rushy Hill, the highest point of Oswaldtwistle Moor. After crossing the dam of the attractive Hoddlesden Reservoir I made my way along a number of paths which varied from being sketchy to non-existent up to the B6232 Blackburn - Haslingden road. From there it looked on the map like it would be a simple stroll to the trig point. As I discovered though Rushy Hill is well named, the direct route from the road passing through an extensive area of up to waist high reeds.
The view from the top was extensive. Winter Hill, Darwen Moor, the Scout Moor Windfarm and Pendle Hill were all on display whilst in the distance I could clearly make out Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales and to the south east the Dark Peak area of the Peak District.
The drop down into the valley of Haslingden Grane and then the climb up on to Hog Lowe Pike, on a thin trod amongst heather and bilberry, was probably the most enjoyable part of the walk. Haslingden Grane is an attractive valley, the upper end featuring numerous ruined farmhouses that were abandoned when the chain of three reservoirs was constructed. My route took me over the dam of Calf Hey Reservoir, the highest of the three and seemingly a popular place for family walks.
The top of Hog Lowe Pike made a good place for a lunch stop and I sat there a while soaking up the scenery. Despite being higher than Rushy Hill the view from Hog Lowe Pike was slightly more restricted because of the proximity of Bull Hill to the south east. The panorama was still excellent though and to the north west I could even make out Black Combe in Cumbria.
Having eaten my lunch I descended south to cross Broadhead Road and then follow the outside of Broadhead Plantation, once again the 'path' was very sketchy and overgrown. After a brief interlude in the plantation itself I made my way on a small road which took me to Longshoot Farm.
At this point I was looking forward to some respite from the undergrowth that the wide track heading north from Longshoot seemed to offer. Unfortunately it was not to be. I'd barely gone 50 yards up the track when I spotted a small herd of cows further down the track. They looked far too interested in me for my liking and so, my bovine phobia getting the better of me, I retraced my steps to the farm and instead set off west across the rough moor tracing the line of another virtually invisible right of way.
From Soot Hill I soon made my way to the top of Grey Stone Hill which had a covering of heather and a smattering of rocks none of which stood out as being the Grey Stone. Yet another sketchy path finally brought me back down to Sunnyfield where I then followed the road back into Hoddlesden and a brief visit to the Hoddlesden Millenium Green. Once the site of a pipe works Hoddlesden Green is now a pleasantly sculptured space featuring an analemmatic sundial and a modern sculpture, 'End of Shift' which depicts the faces of 350 workers.
Despite some of the overgrown paths this was a thoroughly enjoyable day out. The weather was perfect for walking; nice spells of sunshine, occasional cloud cover, a cool breeze and excellent visibility. My opinion of the West Pennine Moors was greatly enhanced and, while I probably wouldn't do the same route, I think I'd definitely revisit Haslingden Grane and Hog Lowe Pike again.