Find the Centre of Great Britain
DAY 1: Hike to the Centre of the Kingdom | Walk 10.5 Miles
DAY 2: Tour the pretty villages of the Ribble Valley | Cycle 30 Miles
According to Ordnance Survey, the geographical centre of Great Britain is located on a remote hillside above Dunsop Bridge in the heart of the Forest of Bowland.
This itinerary takes you to the centre of Great Britain and explores the beautiful landscapes and pretty villages of the Forest of Bowland on foot and by bike.
If you’re bringing your own bikes, consider catching the train to Clitheroe and riding direct from the station. Hourly service from Blackburn and Manchester. Timetables at www.northernrailway.co.uk
It’s a 10-mile ride to Dunsop Bridge with a sustained climb out of the Ribble Valley into the Hodder Valley, but riding up the Dunsop Valley, halves the distance of the 10-miles hike to the centre of Great Britain!
If you’re coming by car, there is ample parking in Clitheroe and pay and display parking in Dunsop Bridge.
Plan your expedition to the geographical heart of Great Britain – located on a remote hill farm at Whitendale Hanging Stones near Dunsop Bridge. Fortify yourself with coffee and home-made cakes or scones at Puddleducks Café.
Stock up on snacks for your hike before plunging deep into the Bowland Fells. This is quite a demanding 10-mile fell-walk, which requires sturdy walking boots and reliable wet weather gear, but it’s well worth the effort for the views alone. Look out for rare hen harriers and ring ouzels along the way.
Download an easy five-mile circular walk – the first part of which is also suitable for Trampers – from the AONB website.
Reaching the centre of Great Britain itself is a more demanding undertaking which can be incorporated within a more challenging 10–mile circular walk. Enigmatically, the centre point remains unmarked, but head northwest of the stones for Grid Reference SD 642565 to reach the dead centre of Great Britain. Take the ubiquitous ‘selfie’ and post it on social media.
You’ll likely be hungry and thirsty after your long day in the hills. Head to the Red Pump Inn at Bashall Eaves for hearty gastropub food, local cask ales and a warm welcome or book ahead at the award-winning Parkers Arms, Newton in Bowland and enjoy fantastic local produce in a beautiful setting.
Saddle up for the Ribble Valley village ride – an easy-going 29-mile route following the valley floor with some gentle climbs to explore the prettiest villages in the Clitheroe area.
This picturesque route passes some of the best pubs and cafes in the area – many of which welcome thirsty cyclists. The route also passes through the bustling little town of Whalley with its 14th Century Cistercian Abbey and Ribchester where you can explore the Roman Museum.
There are plenty of pitstops along the route, with excellent pubs in most of the villages. Try the Waddington Arms in Waddington, The Assheton Arms in Downham, the White Bull in Ribchester or the Black Bull at Old Langho.
No bike? No problem! You can hire e-bikes from Ribble Valley e-bikes and they may be able to deliver bikes to your accommodation. Call 01200 426246 for bookings.
For more ride ideas, go to: www.forestofbowland.com
There is a Terrain Hopper and Tramper vehicle based at Dunsop Bridge and Sabden, enabling people with restricted mobility to access walking routes. For more details, visit the AONB website or click to download a couple of shorter routes below:
There’s plenty more to see and do in the area to extend your break a while. The entire Forest of Bowland AONB is criss-crossed with footpaths and cycle trails. Picturesque villages like Slaidburn, Chipping, Waddington and Wray are within just an hour or so in the saddle, while the towns of Clitheroe and Bentham have more shops and entertainment to offer and are linked with good onward public transport connections. Click here for more ideas and itineraries.