Nick Burton’s latest route combines the woods and the western slopes of Darwen Moor with a visit to Hollinshead Hall ruins

HIDDEN in Roddlesworth Woods are the ruins of an ancient manor house in the old township of Tockholes that was largely rebuilt by John Hollinshead in the 1770s.

In Victorian times, Hollinshead Hall and its estate was sold to Darwen mill owner Eccles Shorrock until it was finally demolished in about 1910 by Liverpool Corporation, which had linked its Rivington and Anglezarke Reservoirs with the smaller Roddlesworth Reservoirs via the waterway known as the Goit.

This walk combines the woods and the western slopes of Darwen Moor with a visit to Hollinshead Hall ruins, nestling in a peaceful little valley a stone’s throw from the busy Belmont Road.

The Hall’s Well House, reputedly haunted and used as a refreshment stop by pilgrims on the way to Whalley Abbey, remains intact.

From the info centre car park entrance, bear left and cross over Tockholes Road to go through the main entrance to Roddlesworth Woods almost opposite. Follow the main tree-lined drive downhill and when it joins another track at the bottom turn left, continuing downhill to a gate to the left of a packhorse bridge.

Do not cross the bridge on the right but continue straight ahead beyond the gate fording a stream and continuing uphill along a rocky track — this can be slippery in wet weather. Keep to this main track which climbs gradually straight ahead through the woods and eventually passes behind the Slipper Lowe old car park. Do not turn left here but continue straight ahead, the path drops steeply downhill to the gateway to Hollinshead Hall.

After exploring the ruins and well house (there is an info board), retrace your steps to the ruins entrance and after crossing a little stream turn right and follow an obvious path uphill through the woods next to the stream. This soon leads back to a wall stile at Tockholes Road. Cross the road and almost opposite go through the gateway of the farm track signed as a footpath.

Follow the track towards the moor but when it soon meets a waymarked grassy track on the left, turn left and join this track, it winds its way along the contours of the hill then climbs gradually to a gate in a fence. Go through this and strangely the path more or less double backs on itself to go through another gate lower down in the same fence, then drops to the farm at New Barn.

Turn right along the track in front of the farm, go through a gate and follow the wallside track to the next junction of tracks by the corner of a woodland. Turn right here through the gate following the stony track downhill back towards Roddlesworth. There are good views north here to Bowland and Lakeland on a good day. Go through a gate at the bottom and turn left to return to the car park. The little terraced row, Hollinshead Terrace, was built for workers of the mill that once stood on the car park.

  • START: Roddlesworth cafe and information centre. Situated next to the Royal Arms pub on Tockholes Road, follow this for
    1½ miles off the A675 Belmont Road between Belmont and Abbey Village.
    DISTANCE: 3½ miles (allow 1½ to 2 hours)
    MAP: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors
    It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.
  • Nick Burton’s ‘Wainwright’s Way’, an exploration on foot of Alfred Wainwright’s life from Blackburn to Buttermere is now available from all good bookshops (published by Frances Lincoln, £13.99