This is a walk from Thornton-in-Craven, in North Yorkshire, to Barnoldswick in Lancashire. Saying the counties makes it sound like further than it is, but they’re both right on the border. It’s just down the hill from Thornton-in-Craven into Lancashire, and Barnoldswick was in Yorkshire until they moved the borders a few decades ago.
Anyway, the walk. There’s more than one way you can walk between them; this post is about the one which takes you along the canal. It’s not the most direct route, but it’s a very pleasant one.
Thornton isn’t actually on the canal. You have to cross some fields first. From the main road, you walk up a bit called Cam Lane. You keep on going, past where the houses stop, then on down. You pass a farmhouse after a little bit; keep on going past that bit till you reach some more buildings. There’s a house on your left and some farm buildings on your right, and behind the farm buildings is your first field. You cross it on a diagonal, going forwards and right.
You cross quite a few fields from this point on. The gate to the next one is at the corner of the first field. This next one is on a downwards slope, and you just head straight down. At the bottom is a stream with a little bridge, then a gate to the next field. There were a couple of lambs sat behind it when I was there. I kind of felt bad having to make them move. I mean, I slowly approached until they scattered, long before I even reached the gate, but I still felt bad for disturbing them. The next field, you head upwards to the top right corner, and then after that there’s one without a clear path. But it’s just straight across, over a bit of a hill, down to another little stream and bridge. Then there’s just one more bit of field where you quickly go up a little path onto the canal.
And you stay on the canal from this point. Canal walking is nice, but I wouldn’t recommend doing too big of a section in one go. It can get a little bit monotonous, and there’s very few signs to let you know how far you’ve got. I suppose that might not bother some people, but personally, I like to have occasional confirmations of how long I’ve got left.
After a bit, you reach West Marton – well, the bridge just outside West Marton. At this bridge there is a sign marked for Barnoldswick and Colne, pointing back the way you’ve come. Do not follow this sign, it’s wrong.
OK, technically it’s not wrong. It’s a cycle route sign. It’s pointing down from the road to the canal path, not along it. But it very misleading, if you just saw it without knowing about it you would think either you were walking in the wrong direction or that someone had somehow messed with it, it is that bad. It is literally pointing in the opposite direction to the towns it is marking.
So yeah, ignore that sign and just keep going the way you’re going.
As I said, canal walking is kind of samey. I mean, different stretches of canal are a bit different, each have their own little quirks, but there’s only occasionally anything really eyecatching. Again, I wouldn’t personally want to be walking along too long of a stretch, but it’s pleasant walking in smaller doses.
You come into Barnoldswick past Greenberfield Locks. Locks are always kind of interesting. Once you’ve got to the top lock you can either continue along the canal further into Barnoldswick – or beyond, I suppose – or you can get off the canal and go along a road. But since you’re at Barnoldswick, I’m considering the walk over by this point, and ending the post here.
Thanks for reading. Pictures from the walk are here.