This short stroll around Foulridge is one of my favourites.

There is good parking, lots of history and natural history and good parking.

Nearby is Lake Burwain which is another stroll which can be enjoyed on the same day. All that was lacking was a decent little cafe and very recently this gap has been filled.

Getting there

At the end of the M65 motorway at Colne turn left and pass along North Valley Road with its shopping complex and fast food outlets. Turn left at the traffic lights toward Skipton. Then take a left turn at foulridge and follow the signs to Foulridge Wharfe and the car park

The walk

From the car park head off to the right to reach a restored lime kiln. Here it is possible to walk through the old workings and there are informative notice boards explaining how the processes were carried out. The kiln was placed by the canal which made it easy to transport lime to the developing mill towns. After exploring this area turn left and follow the canal bank.

Walk along the canal next to Foulridge Wharfe. This is a fascinating place, with old warehouses and machinery associated with the loading and unloading of goods. These days it is used for loading and unloading coach parties ranging in ages from toddlers to pensioners. Pleasure trips along the canal from here are becoming increasingly popular and a new venture has been developed at Barden Mill. The mill complex has been re-located and a wharfe for tourists is replacing it.

From the Pleasure Craft berth looking along the canal to see the entrance to the Mile Tunnel, which now has a traffic light system. In the old days the barge horses could not pass through the tunnel and there was a team of men on hand who pushed the barges through the tunnel using their legs and feet. Here we have the origin of the phrase ‘to leg it’. The horses passed over the top of the tunnel and joined the barge at the other end.

This is the place to comment on the meaning of the word Foulridge. In fact it should be Foal Ridge. Long before the canal was built the monks had a breeding stable here – and it’s a much more pleasant-sounding name.

Once a cow called Bluebell swam for the length of the tunnel having fallen into the water. She survived and soon after gave birth to a calf. Her photograph is proudly displayed at the Hole in the Wall pub.

At the Hole in the Wall turn sharp left on to Town Gate and discover an unspoiled old English village. Cottages are seen to the left and to the right and there is also an extensive village green in the middle. The dwellings were once occupied by handloom weavers but the place was almost famous in the 18th Century because of a group of very skillful tailors.

Straight ahead is a set of stone steps leading to the A56. Do not follow these but follow the route as it sweeps around the green. Continue to the Hole in the Wall.