Sunnyhurst Pub to Roddlesworth and back to Sunnyhurst Pub
1. Your start point for this walk is the Car Park at the top of Tockholes Road, 100 yds beyond the Sunnyhurst Hotel, BB3 1JX. Leave the Car Park by the Road Entrance and turn right to walk away from the Sunnyhurst Hotel.
2. Stay on the Road until you reach the Waterman’s Cottage where the road splits into two.
3. Take the left hand fork through this gate and walk ahead.
4. Continue along the road until you reach this stile on your right. Cross the stile and enter the path through the trees.
5. As you emerge from the trees you will find this paddock on your right, usually with some inquisitive horses.
6. At the end of the paddock you will find this gate which has a footpath marker attached. In the distance you can see Ryal Fold.
7. Having gone through the gate you will see the ruins at Lower Wenshead to your right with Earnsdale Reservoir as it is now known through the trees.
8. The path ahead at this point is not immediately clear, but you cross the rushes in front and make for the gate by the side of the large tree in the middle of this photo.
9. Looking over the fence as you reach the gate you can see the next gate ahead by the edge of the trees.
10. Having passed through the two gates the path crosses the next field at the end of which is another gate.
11. This gate leads to what should be a crossing for Stepback Brook where it then enters Earnsdale Reservoir, but on the day I took these photos there was no water flowing. Within the enclosure was a fine group of Rowan Trees in berry.
12. Some of the bright red Rowan Berries set against a pure blue sky.
13. The point at which you should be crossing the Stepback Brook weir, but no water to be seen.
14. At the end of the enclosure is another gate which has a footpath marker on. Pass through this gate and keep the fence on your left hand side as you walk up towards Ryal Fold.
15. The view towards Ryal Fold as you walk up the field with the fence on your left.
16. As you walk up towards Ryal Fold the view to your left is quite stunning with Higher Wenshead Farm and Darwen Tower on show.
17. Ryal Fold ahead, just to negotiate the path through the sheep to reach the next gate beyond the tree they are using for shade.
18. An accusing look from one of the sheep wondering why I’ve got the shade and the herd are out in the sun.
19. The gate opens into the next field and then aim for the corner of that field in front of Ryal Cottage which is in the centre of the photo.
20. As you cross the field the farm buildings at Ryal Fold are on your right. If you wanted to take a shortcut and miss out Roddlesworth Wood there is a footpath through the fields from this farm to Pleasant View.
21. To continue on the full walk, pass through this gate in front of Ryal Cottage and turn left up the lane.
22. Continue along the lane until you reach the Royal Arms on Tockholes Road.
23. Some impressive early 19th century buildings here. Look for the arched cut out of the stone for the milkman to place the milk bottles in, just by the right side of the front door.
24. Having turned left, past the Royal Arms, walk up the Road to opposite the roadside car park and bus turn round to find the entrance to Roddlesworth Wood.
25. Once in the wood, walk straight ahead until you reach the first junction and turn left.
26. You will pass between these two gateposts as you enter the correct path.
27. The path is shaded by trees for most of its length with just one area which has recently been planted out with new trees.
28. As you get down to the lower part of the path you will cross this brook and continue along the same path until you reach the next junction.
29. The tree covering keeps you in the shade on this lower part of the path.
30. At the next junction turn left to make your way down to the bridge over the river.
31. When you reach the bridge, turn right and walk across the bridge to find the gate and steps down to the path by the river’s edge.
32. At the far side of the bridge, on your right, you will find the gate. Pass through this gate and go down the steps to the river’s edge.
33. The path now runs alongside the river for most of its length. Keep the river on your right hand side until you reach the concrete bridge.
34. You will pass some impressive shale outcrops as you follow the river.
35. Continue along the same path until you reach this bridge. Cross the bridge and then you will leave the edge of the river for a short while.
36. Beyond the bridge the path goes up the steps and remains high above the river until you descend a similar set of steps at the other side.
37. At the top of the steps your path joins another one from the left and you continue in the direction of the river flow.
38. Continue along the path until you reach the fencing on the right of this photo. There is a gap in the fencing which leads you to the top of the steps which you descend back down to the river’s edge.
39. In a short distance you will come across this concrete bridge over the river. Cross the river and then turn left and keep left.
40. There are some stepping stones to cross and then keep left with the fence on your left hand side.
41. Continue through the trees with the fence on your left hand side and eventually you will find glimpses of Roddlesworth Higher Reservoir on the left.
42. Soon the whole of the Reservoir comes into view. At this point there is a path just behind you which will take you up to a junction where you turn left. Whilst we are in dry conditions this walk will take you across the shingle to the right of the photo and through the trees.
43. Once on the shingle the full extent of the reservoir can be taken in. Cross the shingle to find the path on the far side. This path follows the outer wall boundary of the reservoir.
44. The path continues by the right side of the tree.
45. Continue for a short distance along the path close to the wall.
46. Shortly you will reach a number of felled trees and a gap has been cut at the roots of one. Just past this gap turn right and walk up the hill.
47. The path is well trodden at this point.
48. At this point you join the main path and turn left.
49. Continue along this path which wanders through the trees with the reservoir on your left.
50. Eventually you will reach this short fencing on your left and at this point you turn right up the hill.
51. Before starting up the hill take a last look at the reservoir from the railings.
52. Almost at the top of the slope you will find this tree stump on your right. Turn right at this point and you will find a narrow path which follows the outline fence of an open field.
53. The path is quite narrow and at the start it winds its way through the trees.
54. As you go further you will cross many wooden platforms placed at points likely to become muddy.
55. At the corner of the field the path turns left at right angles to follow the fence.
56. Eventually, after keeping the fence on your left, you will reach this gate which leads onto Tockholes Road.
57. Once on the road, turn left and make for Fine Peter’s Farm which you can see in the middle of this photo. If you took the shortcut from Ryal Fold you will reach this point which is Pleasant View and continue now towards Fine Peter’s Farm.
58. Take a close look at the entrance to Fine Peter’s Farm which has an interesting date stone above the door – 1757.
59. Just past the farmhouse turn right through this gate onto the lane which goes down the side of Fine Peter’s Farm. Note the interesting half round gateway for pedestrian access in days gone by.
60. Continue up the hill on Dean Lane, commonly referred to as Donkey Brew until you reach the top.
61. Looking over the fence to your right the view is quite spectacular. Ryal Fold is on the right of this photo and higher up on the hill is New Barn Farm.
62. Further round to the left the view takes in first Stepback Clough, Higher Wenshead Farm, Earnsdale Reservoir and Darwen Tower.
63. Continue walking down Donkey Brew and at this point keep right.
64. As you make your way down Donkey Brew the surface turns to these cobbles which are much easier to walk down this way than they are to walk up the other.
65. At the bottom of Donkey Brew turn right to walk across the front of Earnsdale Reservoir.
66. With the reservoir full despite the hot, dry weather the view across the reservoir and up to Darwen Tower is quite breathtaking.
67. Half way across the front of the Reservoir look for this marker stone against the wall on your right. This shows where the boundary line was between Darwen and Tockholes.
68. Continue along the lane as it first turns left then right and at this point going up the hill turn left off the tarmac and you will end up more or less going back on yourself down the hill.
69. When you reach this gate enter Sunnyhurst Wood through the gate and turn left to follow the path back to the car park.
70. At this point continue straight ahead and stay on the same path until you reach the junction with the bench facing you.
71. At this junction turn right up the hill.
72. You will pass two former holding ponds on your right. Sadly these have been neglected and are silted up, but the Victorian architecture is worth admiring if you can see it.
73. After the ponds continue ahead going up the slope.
74. At the first opportunity turn right.
75. As you walk up this path you will enter the back of the Car Park and the walk is complete.