Walks in Blackburn & Burnley

Charlotte Rowland

Blackburn and Burnley are home to some of the most stimulating and intriguing walking spots, given over to local access and popularity. Routes here cater to the traditional, with acres of rural land available to scour, roam and forage through, but they also fulfil that need for something more, sometimes offering edge and eminence to otherwise typical and unexceptional participation afoot.

Pendle Hill is perhaps the most unconventional and rare experience in the area. The site is famed for its notorious witch trials, traceable as far back as 1612. Pendle Witches were executed here, for their practice, and the land, from it, has taken on new connotation. The landscape here speaks a language, and that language is one of mystery, intrigue and slightly sinister significance. It’s something the environment itself seems to pick up on, creating, overall, a space to walk in which is full of wonder and subtle allurement, credibly verifying what an environment can come to mean to us, personally, and to society, as a collective.

Bringing the community together is a value inherent to much of the local conditions here, both rural and urban alike. It’s a sentiment that’s built into the town’s cultural spaces, in particular, with many of their foundations originating out of a desire to connect and unify the local people. Walkers not wanting to stray too far can explore Blackburn Open Walls and Prism Contemporary. Both are arts venues centrally located, and suitably curated for a leisurely intake of exhibitions, where an array of artists, represented by the firm, are on display, be it contemporary or historical. For a complete update on the latter, The Weavers’ Triangle is the place to head, offering an outside space to hike through, along the canal, as well as an informative selection of building relics, leftover from the cotton trade, along the way.

For those craving a great escape, though, Gawthorpe Hall and the Stubbins Wall or Burnley’s Singing Ringing Tree each proffer an exclusive escape, with ample grounds for a sufficient walk or a slow stroll, depending on what takes your fancy. They’re both designed beautifully, with cultivated plants, gardens, wild foliage and forestry to brag of, providing an instant retreat. It’s Rowley Lake, though, that offers the truest and simplest getaway into nature. Naive in comparison, the site brags nothing more than a lake, rows of trees and a circular pathway, but the result is nothing short of elaborate. It’s a sight, and the views are well worth taking the traipse out of town to witness.

The key to walking this area is to be open-minded. There’s much on offer, which means there’s much to take in, too, and the walker who gets the most out of the ground here is the walker who is not opposed to remaining adjustable, willing to be formed and impressed upon by the lithe and pliant outside. Walking here is a communal act, too, but with enough space for the solitary saunterer, with the focus, again, being on being closed-off, but never fully, always aware and awake to how the landscape has changed, and is, still, changing.

Our top picks

Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill, Pendle Hill, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 6LG - Visit now

Pendle Hill carries a rich, inherent heritage that imbues its namesake with overtones of mystery, thrill and a sense of the occult. A now-ancient hunting ground, the site is famed for its notorious witch trials, traceable as far back as 1612. Pendle Witches were executed here, for their practice, and the land, from it, has taken on new connotation. For all its strange and unknown history, the site welcomes walkers and countryside enthusiasts.

 

Pendle Hill
Courtesy of Visit Lancashire

Burnley’s Singing Ringing Tree

Burnley’s Singing Ringing Tree, Crown Point, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 3RT - Visit now

Burnley’s Singing Ringing Tree is a one-of-a-kind musical sculpture situated high-up, on Crown Point. It’s a statement. The design is unusual, forming a strange, spiralling curve that gradually widens as it grows in height, mirroring something akin to the cartoon-shape we usually draw when depicting a tornado. It does have something to do with wind, too. The structure is so-made as to pick up the wind energy at any given time and produce a low, tuneful song.

Burnley's Singing Ringing Tree
Courtesy of Visit Lancashire

The Weavers Triangle

The Weavers Triangle, The Weavers' Triangle Visitors Centre, 85 Manchester Road, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1JZ - Visit now

The Weavers’ Triangle is just as the name says. On the banks of the canal, a so-shaped area of land, easy to ‘weave’ through, picked up its name in the 1970’s, and the space is now known for the way it joins up different points of land, well-suited to walks and local strolls.

The Weavers Triangle
Courtesy of Weaver's Triangle

Gawthorpe Hall

Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley Road, Padiham,, near Burnley,, Lancashire,, BB12 8UA - Visit now

Gawthorpe Hall is a splendour of gardens, landscaped lawn and open space, cemented and pulled together by the central building, which sits grandly in the middle of the estate. For walkers who like choice, it’s a paradise of options. The acreage is ideal for long walks, taking you via the formal gardens, with views of the river, out to the woodland, where wildlife and plant species can be spotted aplenty. The property itself can also be explored from the inside, with many interior features boasting as much prowess for the premises as its natural exterior.

 

Gawthorpe Hall
National Trust

Prism Contemporary

Prism Contemporary, 14-16 Lord Street West, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 1JX - Visit now

Prism Contemporary is, primarily, a gallery space. Ran independently, it plays host to numerous contemporary exhibitions across the year, showcasing a collection of national and international artists. As well as supporting existing communities, cultural events and festivals, the brand seek to also impose new partnerships, establishing commissions and events with local practitioners to freshen up the arts scene on offer locally and revitalise the festival programme.

 

Prism Contemporary
Courtesy of PRISM contemporary

Rowley Lake

Rowley Lake, Rowley Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB10 3L - Visit now

Rowley Lake is on the outskirts of Burnley, with much to offer to the walker who goes out of their way to venture out here. It’s open scope and substantial size lend it vast appeal, while it’s natural activity and beauty make it a pretty picture, with views extending endlessly across the flat plain.

Rowley Lake
Rowley Lake

Where to go in Lancashire

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Winckley Square

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Avenham and Miller Parks
Lancashire
Park
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Located in the heart of Preston, Avenham and Miller Parks are among the finest examples of traditional Victorian parkland in the North West.

Rowley Lake
Blackburn
Park
Rowley Lake

Rowley Lake is on the outskirts of Burnley, with much to offer to the walker who goes out of their way to venture out here. It’s open scope and substantial size lend it vast appeal, while it’s natural activity and beauty make it a pretty picture, with views extending endlessly across the flat plain. 

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Blackpool
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A formal Edwardian urban park in Burnley which retains most its original features including a boating lake and an Italian garden.

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