Friday, 29 May 2009

The Tolkien Trail.

This is a 9Km/5.5 miles circular walk starting and finishing at Hurst Green in Ribble Valley, Lancashire, Is a great favourite of our dog, as after 5 ½ miles she knows she has had a walk....so do I.
It starts in the village of Hurst Green is 8Km/5 miles west of Clitheroe.
It is said that J.R.R. Tolkien who wrote 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy got his inspiration for the hobbits in these woods. Tolkien,his wife and other children, regularly stayed at a guest house in the grounds belonging to Stonyhurst College. Their son, John, who was studying for the priesthood at the English College in Rome, was evaucated to the Jesuit seminary at St. Mary's Hall (now the preparatory school for Stonyhurst College) during the Second World War. J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his time writing, both at the guest house and in the College itself.
This is from the Web page of the Ribble Council.


1. With your back to the main road, walk along Warren Fold. Just beyond the last of the houses, go over a stile - you will see the domed turrets of Stonyhurst College straight ahead of you. Follow the wall on your left, pass through a gateway and turn sharp right. Walk across the field, passing a lone tree, to reach the fence on the other side.
2. Don't go through the gate, but turn right and follow the fence, heading towards the red brick cricket pavilion. Go through a kissing gate and continue to follow the field boundary. After passing through another kissing gate, follow the path downhill and over the stream. Climb uphill with Fox Fall Wood on your left.
3. As the gradient levels, bear right across the narrow paddock to follow the iron fence to the corner. Go through the gate in the corner and turn right, passing the current Observatory for the College. Follow the tarmac track downhill towards Hall Barn Farm.
4. Turn left before the gate and go through a wooden gate, following the line of the farm buildings. There is a magnificent view of Stonyhurst College and the Pavilions to your left. You will shortly emerge on to a track. Keep straight ahead, following the hedge. To your left is St. Mary's Hall, formerly a seminary. Across the playing fields to your right is the distinctive profile of Pendle Hill, with - a little to its left - Clitheroe Castle.
5. When you reach Woodfields, cross the road, bearing slightly to the left and turn down the lane between the houses. The lane soon becomes a rough track and swings to the left. Turn right and go over the wooden stile, then follow the edge of the field alongside Over Hacking Wood. Near the corner, turn left over a stile, then right to descend a stepped path.
6. Cross the bridge over the stream and follow the path which forks to the right towards the River Hodder. Just before reaching the river, turn right over another bridge and climb steadily uphill. Passing Hodder Place on your right, the path now descends towards the river. Herons can be seen along this stretch of river. Go through the stile at the bottom of the hill to emerge from the woodland on to a wide, surfaced track. You will now follow the river as it curves gently round to the right.
7. Where the track meets the main road at Lower Hodder Bridge, cross over, pausing to admire Cromwell's Bridge just a little downstream. Turn right along the footway and follow the road uphill. Opposite the junction, go left over a stile and bear slightly left across the field to another stile in the fence opposite. Go over the stile and walk straight uphill, crossing another stile before the brow. Bear slightly right across the field, passing through a kissing gate and heading towards the hedge to the left of the farm buildings.
8. Go through the kissing gate and turn left along the tarmac track, which drops steadily downhill. Where the track levels, go straight ahead, through the gate and into Winckley Hall Farm yard. Turn right, go through the yard, then turn left, passing a brick wall on the left to reach a gate. Go through the stile and turn immediately right along a gravel track, with the River Hodder again on your left..
9. Where the Hodder joins the River Ribble, take the path to the left, around the gate, to reach a stile by a bench. Go over the stile and turn left to follow a wide track alongside the Ribble. After about 1km, the Ribble is joined from the left by the River Calder, with Hacking Hall on the opposite bank.
10. Continue to follow the bank of the River Ribble until the path narrows near a stone building on the right. Go through a gate on to a track and over a stile, heading towards Jumbles Farm. Follow the track around to the left to pick up the line of the river again. Where the track turns right, keep straight on alongside the Ribble. As you walk you will see a stone cross on the hillside to your right.
11. Where the cross disappears from view, go over a stile, across a gravel surface, then over another stile to continue alongside the river. Ahead of you is a graceful three-arched aqueduct. When you reach the aqueduct, go over the stile to its right, bearing slightly right across the field and through another stile on the edge of a wood. Cross the wooden bridge and climb the stepped path to another stile. Go over this stile and walk straight ahead, following the fence on the left.
12. Where the fence turns sharply left, keep straight on downhill. Cross two bridges and another stile, then turn slightly to the left. You should now be walking uphill along a low ridge with streams on either side. After about 200m, cross the stream on the right and turn left to continue uphill, following the line of the field boundary on the left. At the top of the field, go over a stone stile in the left corner and pass through the car park of the Shireburn Arms Hotel. Cross the road to return to the start of the walk.