Great Walking Routes in Lancashire

A hiker walking off Great Carrs towards the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag in the Lake District.
A hiker walking off Great Carrs towards the Old Man of Coniston and Dow Crag in the Lake District. | © Izel Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Callum Davies
4 August 2020

The north of England is the best place to experience quintessential Britain – rolling green hills, limestone cliffs, and roving herds of sheep. Lancashire in particular is a treasure trove of natural beauty, from The Lake District to the coast of Arnside. Here are six great walking routes to get any eager rambler started.

The Old Man of Coniston Circular

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Walker looking north at trig point (803m) The Old Man of Coniston, Lake District. Image shot 05/2010. Exact date unknown.
Walker looking north at trig point (803m) The Old Man of Coniston, Lake District. Image shot 05/2010. Exact date unknown. | © Alec Scaresbrook / Alamy Stock Photo
The Coniston Old Man provides one of the best views anywhere in the Lake District. Whether you’re after a challenge or a gentle stroll, this area is belted by a walking route with enough branching routes to make it accessible for any level. The Old Man walk starts in Coniston, 100 miles north of Liverpool. If you’re daring and try to reach the highest point, you can even see the Isle of Man on a good day.

Black Moss Reservoir

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If you want an easy walk which blends wildlife and culture, this is for you. Unlike much of the rest of the county, the area surrounding the Black Moss Reservoir is very flat. The walk starts in Barley, 25 miles north of Manchester. You won’t wear yourself out and you’ll see plenty of amazing birds and plant life along the way. It also takes you through the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

The Tolkien Trail

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The River Ribble at Jumbles, below Hurst Green, Lancashire. This is on a walk known as the  Tolkien Trail.
The River Ribble at Jumbles, below Hurst Green, Lancashire. This is on a walk known as the Tolkien Trail. | © Jon Sparks / Alamy Stock Photo
When you talk about the ancient vision of England, it’s difficult not to think of JRR Tolkien or The Lord of the Rings. There are plenty of areas in the country which claim to have influenced the books, but The Tolkien Trail centres around Stonyhurst College where he lived and wrote during WWII. The six-mile route around Clitheroe, 27 miles north of Manchester, traverses the Ribble Valley which almost certainly inspired him when he started writing about Middle Earth.

The Arnside Knott Circular

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One of the biggest benefits of Lancashire is that it features both mountains and coastline. The seaside village of Arnside on the north shores of Morecambe Bay is well worth a visit even without any hiking involved. But for those willing, the Arnside Knott Circular walk takes you up to the lip of the valley with the countryside spooling out on one side and the Irish Sea on the other.

Holcombe Moor

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The Peel tower at Holcombe in Lancashire. Commemorates Sir Robert Peel one time Prime Minister of Great Britain.
CWPANW The Peel tower at Holcombe in Lancashire. Commemorates Sir Robert Peel one time Prime Minister of Great Britain. | © John Davidson Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
Having a clear destination is always nice on a country walk. In the case of the Holcombe Moor ramble, the landmark in question is the Peel Monument which has stood proud since 1852. Walker-friendly pub The Shoulder of Mutton is a great starting point as you set off for the tower. It’s a bit of a climb but the view at the end is to die for. Holcombe is 15 miles north of Manchester.

Fairy Glen

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If you’re after something tranquil with winding forest trails and very little physical exertion, Fairy Glen is for you. Starting from the village of Parbold, approximately 20 miles north of Liverpool, you take a mile-long route into the glen, where you’ll find streams, waterfalls, cliff faces and plenty of wildlife.

These recommendations were updated on August 4, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.