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This longer Open Access route has some moderate ascents but is generally good underfoot. Most of the walk is on paved or gravel sections, in fact the entire eastern leg from Great Hill heading south is now slabbed out. It makes a great leisurely walk, and whilst only about half the route is on marked footpaths, it’s actually the unofficial paths which are clearest to follow.
Distance: 8 miles. Download GPX.
Park at White Coppice Cricket Ground – one of the most picturesque in the entire country, and setting for the BBC children’s series, Sloggers. Walk between the cricket pitch and the pavilion to a gate, and cross The Goit over the bridge. After the next gate you are in open space with Black Brook directly in front of you, instead however take a sharp left to keep the dry stone wall to your left and the open field to the right. You can see a breach in the wall of an old reservoir here, where a major flood occurred in years gone by. Start the ascent and follow the stoned path to the right, for a good cardio workout for half a mile or so until you get to the ruins of Coppice Stile Farm, where the route levels out for a while.
Looking dead ahead the path is clear to follow, and you can see a small set of trees in the distance, with Great Hill looming behind. Keep following the path in this direction – you will come to a T-junction where you should turn right, to continue towards the trees you saw earlier – you can see Joe’s Cup and Drinkwaters ruins as you pass the small woodland.
Great Hill is now clearly in view and the path cannot be mistaken.
Once you reach the summit, marked not by a trigpoint but instead by a 4-way shelter, head right to pick up the clear, paved track which heads off for a full two miles of isolated moorland. The paving was only present for part of the track till recently, and it’s certainly welcome that it now is laid for the full length of this section, as the route could be extremely boggy after foul weather.
As you finally drop down towards a small car park in the distance, you will see a gate which is a couple of hundred yards short of the parking spot here. Instead of crossing through, head right and follow the official – but poorly marked – footpath, which follows the course of the River Yarrow from source.
Keeping the stream to your left, head down to pass the ruins of Hempshaws farms (Lower and Upper), and you will meet a decent track which the farmers use. Here, turn right and follow the path all the way round the central moorland in an anti-clockwise direction, staying generally level and turning left after a third of a mile or so. You will pass the ruins of Simms on your left and the track will eventually drop into Lead Mines Clough. When you reach the small footbridge, take this crossing and turn right and head upwards through the woodland. You will have conifers both left and right, and you will end at the Lead Mines Clough War Memorail, a point for reflection for those lost during a Bullseye excercise.
Behind the memorial is a footpath marker and a gate, which you should take.
Continue in this direction which merges with a better track, and keep going past the unmarked ruins of Foggs (to your right) and Peewit Hall (later, to your left).
You will come to a road, where the route continues straight ahead and eventually drops down to a small layby on the left, and you will see a path here which scouts Anglezarke Reservoir. This is for another day – instead, look for a path through a gate on your right, which takes you into a sheep field. Here; you will have the steep Stronstrey Bank to your right, and the field boundary dry stone wall to your left. The clear track takes you all the way back to the cricket field where the walk started.