The climb to the top of Pendle Hill is one of the most popular walks in Lancashire and North West England.
Our walk is a simple, straightforward walk to the top and back. It starts in Barley, the closest village to Pendle Hill.
The walk is 4 miles long. It will take most people around 2 hours.
With the exception of the climb up the ‘steps’ of Pendle Hill, the walk is fairly easy. However, there are lots of uneven surfaces and it is certainly not suitable for prams, the unfit, or young children.
It can be windy at the top, even in good weather. Suitable gear is recommended at all times.
Dogs must be kept on leads.
The route is fairly easy to follow. There are usually plenty of other walkers on the route to ask for directions. To be on the safe side and avoid getting lost we’d recommend downloading our GPX file of the route (link at the end of this page). This can be uploaded into a walking app such as ViewRanger.
We also strongly recommend watching our 4K video of the walk to Pendle Hill from Barley. The video includes all waypoints. Watching it will familiarise you with the route.
The walk starts at Barley Picnic Site. There’s a large car park here and parking is cheap. There’s also a cafe and toilets here. Use the postcode BB12 9JX to find it using a satellite navigation system.
From the car park walk past the cafe and take the path across the lawn. Cross the stream, Barley Water, using the wooden bridge.
You are now on The Bullion, the main street in Barley. Turn right, passing the Pendle Inn.
You then reach the Barley Mow.
Just after the bend in Barley Lane, take the track signposted for Ing Ends Farm.
Walk along the track. A stream is on the left.
You’ll soon come to Ings End Farm. Carry on along the track to the left of the farm.
After passing the farm, leave the track and go through the gate to the right. It’s clearly signposted for Pendle Hill.
Carry on along the path.
You will then reach Brown House Farm. Pass it and go through the kissing gate.
Walk up the hill.
Go through the gate and walk across the open field.
At the end of the field, go through the gate.
Follow the path, with the stone wall to your right.
You will then reach Pendle House Farm. Follow the track around the back of the farm.
You will soon come to the base of the hill. You now have a choice of routes to take to reach the summit.
The path to the right is the ‘steps’. This is the shortest way. It’s steeper and more challenging.
The path to the left is the ‘slope’; the gentler but longer climb.
This walk takes the ‘steps’ and returns via the ‘slope’. If you prefer, the walk can be done in the opposite direction.
The ‘steps’ are steep. Ascending them is hard on the legs. As you climb the hill, look back and you’ll be rewarded with great views of sights such as the Black Moss Reservoirs.
After reaching the top of the ‘steps’, pause for a well-deserved break. You will see a stone wall. Follow the path that runs alongside it.
The path then splits. The path to the left leads to the top of Pendle Hill. Take the path on the left to continue. The path to the right leads to a shelter; built into wall separating Pendle from the Ribble Valley. It’s a good place to stop to get out of the wind for a while or take a break.
After around a quarter of a mile you will reach the Pendle Hill triangulation pillar (trig point), also known as ‘Big End’. There are spectacular views of Barley, the Black Moss Reservoirs, Ogden Reservoirs, Fell Wood, Nelson, and Colne.
The trig point marks the summit of Pendle Hill. It is 557 metres high (1827 feet). In the UK, a mountain is defined as a summit of at least 610 metres (2000 feet). Pendle Hill fails to qualify.
From the trig point, take the path that heads south.
After a third of a mile you’ll come to a stone marker. The route to Barley is clearly indicated. Turn left. This is the ‘slope’. It takes you back down to the base of the hill.
The slope goes down the eastern side of Pendle Hill. After walking for ½ mile you’ll reach the base of the hill.
It’s now just a case of following the same route back to Barley.
You’ll see the same sights as before; but from a different perspective.
As you enter Barley, if you have time, you could turn left down Barley Lane and visit the Pendle Sculpture Trail.
Alternatively go for a pint in the Pendle Inn or a bite to eat at the cafe at Barley Picnic Site.