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Summit Else: Explore Pendle Hill from Clitheroe

base map

DAY 1: Train to Clitheroe | Climb Pendle Hill

DAY 2: Get on your bike and explore the villages of the Ribble Valley

Base yourself in the bustling market town of Clitheroe for an active weekend of picturesque rides and scenic walks – including a challenging hike to the top of iconic Pendle Hill. And once you’ve burned a few hundred calories on foot or in the saddle, you’ll find plenty of places to replace them in the most enjoyable way!

pendle hill viewed from near downham in summer

DAY 1

Arrive by train at Clitheroe Station. This is the perfect base for exploring the picturesque villages of the Ribble Valley and the southern fringe of the Forest of Bowland.

Morning

Grab some pies and picnic fodder from the open-air market or one of Clitheroe’s many independent shops and head for the hills! This challenging route takes you to the top of Pendle and gets you back into town in time for tea. You’ll need decent footwear, waterproofs and extra layers, as it could get chilly on top. The whole 9-mile route should take about four hours, so you will be back in town for tea. A stop-off for refreshments at the award-winning Swan with Two Necks in the pretty village of Pendleton is highly recommended.

Max Distance walked Day 1: 10 miles

Evening

Reward yourself with a visit to Bowland Beer Hall for some cask or craft ales and some hearty food. Or explore some of Clitheroe’s fine selection of pubs and restaurants. Choose from contemporary Greek classics at Brizola or modern French dining at Tom’s Table. Craft beer and cask ale fans will also find plenty of choice at The Beer Shack, The Ale House, or Corto.

DAY 2

Wander to Ribble Valley e-bikes shop to collect hire cycles (book in advance at Ribble Valley e-bikes). Collect a picnic from Bowland Food Hall, just a short ride from the cycle shop then head out of town onto quiet rural lanes to explore the picturesque villages of the southern edge of the Forest of Bowland AONB.

NB: E-bikes can only be ridden on the public highway by children aged 14 and above. Younger children can ride unassisted bikes, but will need to be proficient cyclists to complete this part of the itinerary.

The leisurely Ribble Valley Villages ride takes in all the prettiest villages, including Waddington, Downham, Whalley and Ribchester, where you’ll usually find a pub or a café at which to stop for refreshments. Confident cyclists will complete the entire loop in around two hours, but most people stick to the eastern or western sections and allow plenty of time for frequent stops.

Lunch

Stop off for lunch at one of the many country pubs along the route – most will be able to accommodate walk-ins, but on Bank Holidays it pays to book in advance as the more popular eateries do get very busy. The White Bull in Ribchester, the Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green and the Three Millstones in West Bradford to name just a few.

Return to Clitheroe to drop off your hire bikes and catch your train home from the station.

Max distance cycled Day 2: 30 miles

Linger Longer

There’s plenty more to see and do in the area to extend your break a while. The Forest of Bowland AONB is criss-crossed with footpaths and cycle trails. Picturesque villages like Slaidburn, Downham and Waddington are within just an hour or so in the saddle. Click here for more ideas and itineraries.

Explore More

Cycle around the foot of Pendle Hill to uncover the real story of the Pendle witches along with the rich industrial history of the area or linger a while in the picture postcard village of Downham. This idyllic stone-built hamlet is one of the prettiest in Lancashire, where the trappings of 21st Century life have been resisted, so you won’t see satellite dishes or even TV aerials.