The Nabs Head to Hoghton Bottoms

Route info Very Easy
Distance 5 miles*
Time 1 hr 45 mins
Low Point 40m (approx)
High Point 120m (approx)
Height gain 80m (approx)
Terrain Farms, road, and paths
Bogs Minimal
Dogs Ok (on leads in places)
Cow count 0
Enjoyment rating (5 = best) ★★★★★

The above information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but you should always let someone know where you are going and what time you should be home. If using a GPS device, take a map and compass. Remember that mobiles don’t always have a signal. Click here for more safety information.

*Calculated by Ordnance Survey GPS

This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

Health stats Approx
Steps taken 9,500
*Calories burned – 10 st – 140 lbs 371 cals
*Calories burned – 18 st – 252 lbs 668 cals

*Calories burned uses this calculator and is worked out as though we are walking ‘level’.  If inclines were added it should be higher.



Approximate map

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Route description

Nabs Head route

Sometimes you don’t need to walk up a hill or a mountain to get some good exercise and nice scenery.  And that was my plan today, partly because I only had a couple of hours of free time, and partly because I do really enjoy river walks and countryside rambles.

Around Lancashire and the Ribble  Valley there is a great mix of old industry from the mills and nature, I was hoping to see some of it today and sure enough the was a mixture of weirs and mining bridges.

Across from Samlesbury Hall is a road that leads you to Samlesbury Bottoms, and along the way is a pub called The Nabs Head.  I have discovered they serve real local ales and are happy for you to park and bring the dogs in – if of course you’re having a dink or eating at the end of the walk.  Otherwise there should be a spot on the road near by.

  1. With your back to the Nabs Head pub, head right and follow the road, quite soon it takes another right and then descends into Samlesbury Bottoms.  After the dip the road takes you along Goosefoot Lane, passing a few industrial buildings.
  2. Follow the fingerpost pointing left and hop over the stile.  The River Darwen is on the left of the field and a little further upstream is a weir – probably dating back to 1800’s.  It can be photographed but is fairly tricky to get to and I wasn’t going to do it today.
  3. After following the river for a short while the route takes you up a steep track to the right.
  4. After you’ve finished walking up the track (and with the woods to the left) climb the stile and head through the farm towards Bolton Hall.  Make sure you bear right after the tree because the track does also go left, but this would lead you to a dead end.
  5. Follow the track around the the right of Bolton Hall and you’ll come to a stile on the left of a metal gate.  Head right along the road here for a short distance.
  6. There is a stile on left hand side of the road and here the River Darwen comes into view – underneath the line of telegraph poles.  We then made a beeline for the river because we couldn’t really see a trodden track.  As usual this turned out to be a slightly tricky miscalculation but we eventually made it down to the bottom.  I ‘think’ the correct way down is to the left of this field.
  7. Follow the fence line until you get to another stile in front of the house at Hoghton Bottoms.  The track then takes a steep path around the right of the house.  Take a left towards the footbridge.
  8. After crossing the footbridge you come to fingerpost sign.  Don’t go right – go straight on over the stone to the left of the wooden gate.  Now you’re on the Witton Weavers Way heading north – back towards the River Darwen.
  9. The route climbs away from the river and is well signposted until you reach a field before Close Farm.
  10.  Head across the field and you will shortly see a house, which is marked as Close House on the map.  To the left of the house is a track, today it wasn’t very visible because of the overgrown weeds.  Go through the gate and turn left out of the driveway.
  11. The road takes you along a very smart looking house, where security is obviously important because the CCTV equipment appears to be very hi-tech and is all along the wall.  At the entrance to the house (which is called Alum Scar) is a wooden gate leading you down a track to the footbridge.
  12. Alum Scar Bridge was once used to access Alum mines at Alum Cragg and was built by the landowner Henry Sudell c1800.  After here, the route is very obvious and leads you back to the road near Nab’s Head.
  13. Turn left and you are soon back at Nab’s Head.

On this route

Nab’s Head, The Nabs Head, Samlesbury Bottoms, Wild Bottom’s Wood, Bolton Hall, Tallentine Farm, Hoghton Bottoms, Witton Weavers Way, Close Farm, Alum Scar, Wallbanks Ho, Copster Farm