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Whitendale & Dunsop Fell from Dunsop Bridge

Forest of Bowland Walk

Region - Forest of Bowland

County/Area - Lancashire

Author - Mike Bexley

Length - 15.0 miles / 24.4 km    Ascent - 1880 feet / 570 metres

Time - 9 hours 20 minutes    Grade - mod/hard

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Whitendale & Dunsop Fell from Dunsop Bridge
Click image to see photo description.

This walk is a longer version of walk 2555 and should be saved for a day of good visibility preferably after a period without rain. It is a lengthy walk and the route visits the remote valleys and fells of The Forest of Bowland north of Dunsop Bridge. In cloudy conditions this walk should only be attempted by those confident in map and compass work as like all moorland it is easy to get lost. Conditions under foot are usually wet so go prepared.

The route starts in the beautiful village of Dunsop Bridge (Grid ref SD661501). Exit the car park (passing the toilet block) and cross over the road to the Telephone Box to discover you are in the centre of The British Isles. The phone box has a unique number to commemorate this feature.

Cross over the road again to pass the petrol station and post office turning right down the lane prior to the bridge. Continue along the lane (heading north) through fields, behind the cottages then over the River Dunsop. On reaching the west bank turn right and follow the road passing Bishops House (grid ref. 655515).

As you go further into the valley you should see lots of bird life. Look out for the Buzzards high above you and Oyster Catchers near the river. You will eventually come to a concrete Salmon Ladder, do not cross over the bridge but continue along the road ignoring the footbridge on your right. The road then climbs to meet a road from coming in from the right. There is a finger post sign indicating local farms.

Leave the road here and take the bridleway that contours across the western flank of Middle Knoll looking down on both Brennand Farms. This bridleway terminates at a gate just before a brook (Grid ref 649547). Go over the stile on the right. The onward path is very wet and at times not visible. It passes a fenced lake on the left and ends with a very short steep descent to the picturesque Whitendale Farm (Grid ref 661550).

Turn left through the gate to follow Whitendale River north towards its source. The footpath leaves the farm track at Grid Reference 657557. If you miss this path and reach Whitendale Intake, with its dam and water extraction, you can climb up the bank on the right and rejoin the path. The onward route follows a clear, pole-marked path. This takes you up the valley eventually leaving the river to climb up to the Roman Road (Grid ref 662579).

Turn right on this old Roman road, which was repaired during Summer 2002 after suffering damage by off-road vehicles, despite signs requesting them not to use it. Go through the gate and keep to the road continuing down hill for over 2 miles (3.2 km). The views on the left are of Stocks Reservoir and Gisburn Forest and you reach a 'Public Bridleway' fingerpost sign pointing right (just prior to the gate leading to the tarmac public road at grid ref. 692549).

Turn right here and proceed up the steep bridleway that eventually ends on the fell. If visibility is good, you will see ahead of you a gate in the wall. Due to the very damp ground in the immediate vicinity there is no clear path. It in cloud set your compass to 260 degrees until you reach the wall and then search for the gate. Go through the gate to follow the eroded path heading northwest that drops down to Whitendale Farm. Prior to reaching the farm wall turn left to follow the River back to the Salmon Ladder and your start.

Other walks nearby

Walk 2594 Totridge Fell & Fiendsdale Head, Forest of Bowlandmoderate11.0 miles
Walk 1218 Fiensdale Head & Bleasdale Water from near Sykes Farmmoderate10.0 miles
Walk 2384 Hodder Valley from Whitewelleasy/mod6.8 miles
Walk 2216 Slaidburn Village Trail - Ribble Valleyeasy0.8 miles
Walk 3329 Stocks Reservoir from Slaidburnmoderate11.5 miles
Walk 2452 Dunsop Head from Slaidburneasy/mod7.0 miles
Walk 3038 Wolfhole Crag from Tower Lodgemoderate9.0 miles
Walk 1902 Saddle Fell, Fair Snape Fell & Parlick from Chippingmoderate8.0 miles
Walk 2505 Fair Snape Fell from Fell Foot, Forest of Bowlandmoderate6.0 miles
Walk 3730 Stocks Reservoir Circulareasy/mod7.0 miles

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