THIS walk links the unspoilt Bowland villages of Slaidburn and Newton, both crossing points of the River Hodder which heads west and south to join the River Ribble.

Prior to 1974 both villages were in the old West Riding of Yorkshire and they have much of interest.

Slaidburn was the old administrative centre of the royal Forest of Bowland and a manorial court was held in what is now the Hark to Bounty Inn.

Both villages are conservation areas with many 17th century stone built houses and Newton has a historic Quaker burial ground. The gothic Dunnow Hall is passed on the walk, built by the local Wilkinson family in the 1830’s.

Walk back towards the village from the car park only as far as the village hall on the left which overlooks the village green. Turn left and cross the car park in front of the village hall to pick up the riverside path with the River Hodder down to the left. Ignore the footpath forking right to the village church but follow the waymarked permissive path along the river bank. After about ½ mile the path turns right away from the river to skirt around the perimeter of a sewage works.

The path leads to a track, turn left along this past the access to the sewage works then turn left again along the fence of the sewage works to rejoin the permissive path following the river bank. Keep the river on the left heading downstream towards Newton until you rejoin the track at a bridge over the river.

Cross the bridge over the river and follow the track across the field leading away from the river towards a woodland. This is a permissive footpath. The track crosses a stream in the woodland, continuing straight ahead before bearing right along the edge of another woodland. Follow the woodland edge, cross another stream and rejoin the River Hodder, now on the right, following the path that leads to the B6478 next to the road bridge at Newton.

Turn right and cross the road bridge. To explore Newton village continue uphill past the Parkers Arms. But to continue the walk simply cross the road bridge then join the waymarked footpath on the right that begins at the wall on the other side of the bridge. This crosses footbridges and runs along the edge of a large pasture and the bottom edge of the woodland which climbs steeply to Great Dunnow hill. The path runs between the woodland and the river, entering a pasture and joining a track.

Turn left along the track heading for Dunnow Hall. Take the right fork away from the hall following a woodland edge and the track leads to the lodge entrance to the hall and meets the B road between Newton and Slaidburn. Turn right and follow the road back to Slaidburn. The historic 13th Century church of St Andrews is soon reached on the right.

A footpath through the back of the churchyard leads through a field and back to the river. Alternatively to explore the village just continue along the lane back to Slaidburn leading to the Hark to Bounty Inn and the youth hostel in the centre of the village. Turn right at the road junction and walk downhill past the road memorial to return to the car park.