LET’S TAKE A BOXING DAY WALK…
Along with fellow walkers, Bob Clare takes us on a delightful seasonal circuit from one of Lancashire’s most attractive villages – Downham
Start: Downham Village visitor car park BB7 4BS, SD 784441
Distance: 3.5miles / 5.5km
Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
Summary: Mainly easy
Maps: OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland
1) From the car park turn right onto West Lane and almost immediately right onto a footpath. After a gate the path leads across fields at first with the fence line on the right. After passing Longlands Wood (also to the right) go through a kissing gate leading into a wide meadow. Here bear slightly left to pick up a waymarked fence end and then continue to a kissing gate in a corner. Through this keep ahead in the next field aiming towards the end of Worsaw Hill. After a kissing gate the path follows a stone wall on the left. Just before Worsaw End House turn left through a metal gate near the end of the wall and cross diagonally left to pick up a farm drive. Follow this to its junction with West Lane.
2) Turn left and then right onto a farm lane which leads up to Barkerfield Farm. At the farm follow the lane as it bends left towards Hookcliffe a large farm complex about 300 yards beyond Barkerfield. Where the track bears left towards the main buildings go through a kissing gate to the right of a wooden gate to follow a broad grassy track below the open fellside. After the next gate the track ceases to be grassy – keep on it until it brings you to Pendle Road. Turn right and keep on the road for 200 yards before turning left onto a footpath opposite a small car park.
3) The path soon leads steeply down into a gully before climbing left to a broad grassy shelf close to a stone barn and two benches – a more inviting place for a picnic we do not know! Cross a stone stile in the wall below the barn and keep ahead close to the right fence line to cross a large pasture to the far right corner. Continue in the same direction crossing the drive of Clay House (to the right) and after a footbridge keep ahead to the broad meadows close to Downham Beck on the right. The village hall on a prominent rise provides a good aiming point. Follow the stream to reach the edge of Downham Village. As you reach the main street turn left for the car park.
Little has changed in the village of Downham over the past few centuries. In 1961 it was used as the main location for the film Whistle Down the Wind starring Bernard Lee, Alan Bates and Hayley Mills. The plot centres on a group of children who, in the mistaken belief that an escaped convict (Alan Bates) is Jesus, hide him from the authorities. Hayley Mills (14 at the time the film was made) played Kathy the eldest of the children. However, many of the others came from local primary schools nearby – especially in Chatburn. More recently Downham featured in the TV series Born and Bred starring James Bolam.
With thanks to Bob Clare author of 100 Walks in Lancashire published by Crowood Press
Bob’s walks are now available as digital guides on the iFootpath website and app – see: www.iFootpath.com