This 4 mile walk along the Langden Brook Valley in the Forest of Bowland is a hidden gem that is absolutely stunning whatever the weather.
It is a short walk that has so much to offer. Amazing views over the valley and beyond, along with riverside walking at the valley bottom. Plus there is the castle that is not a castle and a connection to the Pendle witches.
This is a super family walk. Views without huge long climbs, and not too long a walk for little legs. And for sure it is a fantastic dog walk. Read on to find out more.
This walk is in the heart of the Trough of Bowland so even the drive to the start point is spectacular. I do think the Trough of Bowland is so very underestimated and not as well known as it should. Plus the drive is easily comparable to the bigger known Dales and Lakes drives.
The unnamed road through the Trough of Bowland has the Langden Brook Car Park situated near Sykes and Hareden. It is shown and labelled on Google Maps.
Not every time, but most times, I have parked here there has been a big refreshments van serving all kinds of warm food, and warm and cold drinks…perfect for after the walk.
Starting The Walk
Within the trees next to the car park is a sign saying, “Welcome to Langden,” plus a wide tree lined track to walk down. Malc was ready for the off.
After a few hundred metres you will come to a house on your left hand side.
The house was once the admin building for Langden Intake. It is one of the collection of intakes and water treatment works in the area that collects virtually pure waters from the valleys here and helps supply water to the Preston and Blackburn areas.
Follow the path around with the intake on your left, and as you step out of the trees the views begin to open up.
The path widens and suddenly you are in open valley countryside with Langden Brook running beside you. This is an area where some people, including families, come for paddling and playing in the fresh air.
Langden Brook is a tributary of the River Hodder and its start point is up on Hawthornthwaite Fell where it meets the Hodder near Dunsop Bridge. This walk takes in one of the finest sections of the area to be sure.
If you sit still for a while you could be lucky enough to spot some grey wagtails jumping about the stones protruding from the water.
Follow the brook for a short while and enjoy the wide aspect of the valley ahead.
The Upwards Path
Soon you will come to a fork in the path. This is where you have a choice. Take the left for a level linear walk to the castle and back. Or take the right so that on the way out you can enjoy some views from above and make a sort of circular walk. I always take the right and upwards path.
It does get a little steep in spots, but it doesn’t go on forever. It is great for the heart and lungs and well worth those few hundred metres of upwards climb.
Before long the up is well worth the effort. Looking ahead you get an amazing view up the valley. This is a spot where you will appreciate that walking just a mile or 2 away from the road provides you with opportunities to see Lancashire in absolute stunning splendour.
I do like to take a good pause up here to take it all in. Looking back, too, you can see where you started and the valley you have walked up so far…and beyond.
The waterworks from here look so discreet and well hidden beneath the trees. A landscape seemingly unspoilt.
Back Down To The Valley
As you walk along the well laid and wide path, the views keep on coming and coming. It is hard to get lost. Just keep the valley bottom and river on your left down below and avoid any tempting right turns or smaller paths.
The objective is to head down to that point ahead where seemingly 3 valleys meet in a perfect and natural formation.
The path gradually goes down and ahead to where you will once again meet the level path you could have taken had you took the left at the fork.
At the point where the paths meet there is a memorial stone dedicated to pilots who crashed in the area during WW2.
It is a stark reminder of the men and the collective effort and loss for countries beyond our own.
Langden Castle, the castle that is not a castle, is just a few hundred metres further on. Perfectly placed in the centre of the valley you will see it is far removed from what you expect a castle to be. A barn type building with a corrugated iron roof.
It was probably nicknamed Langden Castle at some point and it stuck. It is actually some kind of shooting lodge or shelter. Used more by the sheep when the elements are bad.
It certainly sits in a lovely spot though.
This path you are walking is a section of the Pendle Witches Way. A 48 mile long distance walk from Pendle, where they came from, to Lancaster, where they were put on trial.
There is no exact historical reference to the route they were marched along but there is a strong rumour that the Pendle Witches stayed in Langden Castle en route.
The Path Back To The Start
It is hard to believe that you have seen and experienced so much in less than 2 miles, but it goes to show what the area has to offer.
From the castle, turn back, and this time at the fork take the right one. This allows you to walk back to the start on the flatter route along the valley bottom which keeps the variety going.
Once back at the car park you can kick off your boots, grab some refreshments and look back on a great few hours in a gorgeous part of Lancashire.