The Pendle Hill Walk is a fantastic walking route in Lancashire, England. Specifically, this popular walk is set in the beautiful Ribble Valley in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB). By following the typical Pendle Hill trail from Barley in Pendle, you’ll be doing one of the best walks in Lancashire. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Pendle Hill Walk. This will include a GPS-guided Pendle Hill walking route map. Also, we’ll talk about the highlights of the walk, before covering information about other walks and things to do in the area.
We hope you find this guide helpful. For other great Forest of Bowland walks, read our guides on the Trough of Bowland, Parlick Fell Circular Walk and Stocks Reservoir trails. Feel free to also read our Forest of Bowland Walking Guide and our enormous Forest of Bowland Visitor’s Guide.
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Pendle Hill Circular Walk Overview
When it comes to walks in Ribble Valley, no other trails rival the popularity of the Pendle Hill Walk. Standing tall, next to Barley village in Pendle, in the county of Lancashire in England, Pendle Hill dominates the surrounding landscape. Thankfully, walking the well-known Pendle Hill is a straightforward affair and one that offers a good workout and fantastic views of the surrounding Lancashire countryside – some of the best countryside in England. Certainly, when it comes to circular walks in Lancashire, the path looping around Pendle Hill is one of the best.
Before we discuss the highlights of the walk, we’re going to show you a map of Pendle Hill – just so you can get your bearings. Then, we’ll provide a specific GPS-guided Pendle Hill walking route map – so you can easily follow the circular path.
Pendle Hill Map
To help you get your bearings, here’s an interactive map of Pendle Hill.
What is the Pendle Hill address? Nelson BB9 6LQ
Pendle Hill Walk Route Map and Details
- Type: Circular Walk
- Duration: 7.8km (4.8 miles)
- Time: 2–3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 360m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Barley Car Park
- Map: Wikiloc
Pendle Hill Walk From Barley Car Park: The Highlights
Starting in the quaint village of Barley, you’ll initially head north on Barley Lane. You’ll then turn left onto a dirt path, passing some farms to your right. Ahead of you, Pendle Hill looms large. After passing through a series of kissing gates, you’ll soon arrive at the infamous Pendle Hill steps.
Pendle Hill Steps
Once you arrive at the Pendle Hill steps, the hard work really begins! You’ll climb approx. 200 metres over just 1km. Yes, the climb is steep and tough. But, as you gain elevation, you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of the Lancashire countryside. Indeed, the views on offer by climbing the Pendle Hill steps are some of the best of any walk in England.
Eventually, by following this walking route, you’ll reach the summit of Pendle Hill. Hopefully, with good weather, you’ll enjoy amazing 360° views. The summit of the hill is a great place to enjoy a rest and some snacks, or, even a picnic if you’ve gone to the effort!
Anyway, from here, many people will simply retrace their steps to complete the walk. But, to complete the Pendle Hill Circular Walk, you’ll continue south down the spine of the hill. It’s actually possible to access Upper Ogden Reservoir. But, personally, we were satisfied to descend the hill, at around the 5km mark. At this point of the walk, when you’re descending the hill, there are a few trail options. Basically, you’ll want to head to Lower Ogden Reservoir. From there, you’ll follow the northern wall of the reservoir, heading east back to Barley.
Once you arrive in Barley, you’ve finished the walk!
How to Get to Pendle Hill in England (Pendle Hill Directions)
The simplest and quickest way to get to Pendle Hill, in England, for the circular walk is to drive there yourself. You can park at the Pay and Display Car Park in Barley. For free parking, consider parking at this lay-by parking. Otherwise, you may be able to snag free street parking in Barley somewhere between these two car parks or on Barley New Road.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are super easy to book online.
It’s possible to get to Pendle Hill using public transport. Wherever you’re travelling from, you’ll basically want to get to Clitheroe. From Clitheroe, you can pick up the 66 or 67 Ribble Country Bus to Barley. For more information on departure times and frequency, costs and timetables, please head here.
Other Pendle Hill Walks
Other than following the Pendle Hill walking route described in the guide above, there are route variations; plus, plenty of other Pendle walks. Let’s look at these walking route options below.
Pendle Hill Walk From Sabden
The Pendle Hill Walk from Sabden is an easier option than the walking route from Barley. By starting in Sabden or nearby at Nick O’ Pendle (see below), you’ll avoid the dreaded Pendle Hill steps! In effect, you’ll gain slightly less elevation and gain this elevation more gradually over a longer distance.
Pendle Hill Witches Walk
The Pendle Hill Witches Walk, also known as the Walking With Witches Trail, became a well-known walk after featuring in ITV’s Britain’s Favourite 100 Walks TV program. By following this approx. 11km trail, which explores the lovely towns surrounding the hill, you’ll learn more about Pendle Hill history, including its dark past of witchcraft and mystery. During this walk, you’ll pass Saddlers Farm (now Shekinah Christian Centre), which is known as a possible former Pendle Hill Witches House site. Although, it’s possible that Malkin Tower Farm, near Blacko, is a more likely site of the Pendle Hill Witches House.
FYI – this walk shouldn’t be confused with the Pendle Witches Way, AKA the Lancashire Witches Walk. This is an approx. 80km (50 mile) distance footpath, that opened in 2012, between Barrowford and Lancaster.
Pendle Hill Sculpture Trail
Also known as the Barley Sculpture Trail and Pendle Sculpture Trail, the Pendle Hill Sculpture Trail is located in Aitken Woods, next to Barley. This is another great historic trail, that’s much shorter than the Pendle Hill Witches Walk. Certainly, the Pendle Hill Sculpture Trail is one of the best short forest walks in Lancashire. It’s a great trail for kids to learn more about the Pendle Hill witches of the 1600s.
Other Places to Visit In Lancashire Near Pendle Hill
After following the Pendle Hill walking route described in our guide, why not explore more of Lancashire in England? Two places that should be high on your to-do list are Clitheroe and Downham. Otherwise, please read our guide about the 29 best walks in Lancashire.
Positioned in between Pendle Hill and the rest of the Forest of Bowland, it’s likely that you’ll visit or pass through Clitheroe if you’re exploring this area of Lancashire. Often, Clitheroe is used as a base to explore the Forest of Bowland and surrounding areas. Indeed, Clitheroe is one of the most beautiful towns in the Ribble Valley. We recommend heading there after your walk to explore the town.
Located north of Barley and northwest of Clitheroe, Downham Village has been coined the most beautiful village in Lancashire. Certainly, if you’re after more small village vibes, rather than visiting a larger town, head to Downham Village. Perhaps, it’s Downham that is the most stunning village in the Ribble Valley!
Pendle Hill Accommodation
When it comes to accommodation options near Pendle Hill, the best area to stay is in or around Clitheroe. Given Clitheroe is a moderate-sized town and a popular base for exploring the Forest of Bowland, there are plenty of great accommodation options. Honestly speaking, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a budget stay. But, there are many awesome mid-range options to choose from. We’ve handpicked the best mid-range options in Clitheroe. Have a gander below.
- The Red Pump Inn: this inn is one of the most popular accommodation options in Clitheroe. The Red Pump Inn is one of the more budget-friendly mid-range options available. With mostly double rooms on offer, this inn provides a cosy and rustic retreat for couples looking to relax before and after the Pendle Hill Walk.
- Mitton Hall Hotel: this hotel is one of the most highly-rated accommodation options around Clitheroe. The Mitton Hall Hotel offers more variety in terms of the types of rooms available. But, best of all, the enchanting country-style manor house boasts charm and class. Truly, it’s a pleasure to stay at the Mitton Hall Hotel.
- The Spread Eagle: when looking at these mid-range options, it’s actually The Spread Eagle that has the most reviews. This former coaching inn is perched on the fringe of the Forest of Bowland just outside of Clitheroe. The luxurious bed and breakfast is an excellent mid-range option, albeit at the high end of the mid-range price.
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Pendle Hill and its walking routes.
What Is Pendle Hill?
It’s a well-known hill in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, England.
Can You Walk Up Pendle Hill?
Certainly, yes. Don’t forget to use our GPS-guided Pendle Hill map for help with directions.
Can You Drive Up Pendle Hill?
Where Does the Pendle Hill Walk Start?
If you’re following the Pendle Hill walking route and map, that’s mainly discussed in this guide, then you’ll start in Barley. Alternatively, for a slightly easier route option, you could start in Sabden.
How Long Does It Take to Walk Up Pendle Hill?
Usually, it takes 2–3 hours, when starting in Barley.
How Difficult Is the Pendle Hill Walk?
In the grand scheme of things, we’ve rated this walk as easy. Navigation is simple and the trail isn’t technical. Although, this walk may be considered to be of moderate difficulty given the physically demanding climb up the Pendle Hill steps.
What Is the Height of Pendle Hill?
The Pendle Hill height is 557 metres above sea level.
Is Pendle Hill Safe to Walk?
Yes, with the use of common sense, it’s a very safe and simple walk.
Is Pendle Hill a Good Walk?
Yes, we definitely think it’s a good walk. Although, we recommend doing the walk to judge for yourself!
Why Is Pendle Hill Not Considered a Mountain?
For mountain status, Pendle Hill would need to be approx. 609.6 metres above sea level. So, it just falls short.
These are our five hiking gear essentials for this walk.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
Make sure to also pack water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat! For a longer hiking gear list, read our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a list of everything else you’d need for travelling, read our Packing Checklist.
- Scenic drives in Lancashire: after doing the walk, why not go for a drive through the lovely English countryside? We recommend driving through the nearby Trough of Bowland in the Forest of Bowland.
- Walking the Pendle Way: if you’re after something more challenging, consider taking on the approx. 65km multi-day Pendle Way. The trail includes summiting Pendle Hill.
- Explore other national parks in the north of England: don’t just stop at the Forest of Bowland. Make sure to also check out the breathtaking Lake District.
Does something in our guide need updating? Please let us know in the comments below.