This area in the West Pennine Moors is a popular place for walkers with woodland trails, reservoirs and a fantastic hill climbs to try.
This circular route visits some of the highlights of the area including the Tockholes Woodland Plantation, Roddlesworth Reservoir, the Darwen Tower and Bold Venture Park. The walk starts from the Roddlesworth Information Centre on Tockholes Road where there is a good sized car park. From here you can pick up a nature trail heading north west through the Tockholes Number 2 Plantation to Roddlesworth Reservoir. The route then picks up the Witton Weavers Way and follows the waymarked trail along the reservoir before turning north to visit Tockholes village. You then head south east to pass Earnsdale Reservoir and Sunnyhurst Reservoir. Here you turn south to enjoy a climb to iconic Darwen Tower. The tower was built in the late 19th century to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. There's excellent views over the surrounding moors from this elevated spot.
The route then descends to the east to pay a visit to Bold Venture Park. This pretty park on the outskirts of Darwen includes peaceful woodland trails and ponds. After exploring the park the route then heads west across Darwen Moor to return to the visitor centre and the car park.
PostcodeBB3 0PA - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
Tockholes Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Tockholes Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Tockholes OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Tockholes Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The Royal Arms is conveniently located at the start/end of the walk. The pub was originally built in 1860 as two cottages to house weavers that worked the local Hollinshead Mill. Shortly after they were knocked together to make an Ale house for the thirsty weavers after their long shifts. Inside it retains much of its old world charm with original stone walls, real fires, flagged and wooden floors. In the warmer months you can relax outside in the garden area. The pub has a good menu and fine selection of ales too.
Also at the start of the walk there's a nice cafe in the Roddlesworth Information Centre. They do delicious home made pies and have a unique bird watching facility in the cafe. You can view the birds through one way glass with regular visitors such as greater spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches and chaffinches to see. The centre also has a wealth of information on the area with a set of handy leaflets on walks around the area.
The woodland and moorland trails are ideal for dogs and the Royal Arms pub mentioned above is also dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
From Roddlesworth Reservoir there's a nice footpath heading south through the plantations along the River Roddlesworth. There's some pretty waterfalls on this pleasant track.
The Blackburn Walk visits the area from the train station of the nearby town. The route follows the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Witton Weavers Way to the tower before heading to Sunnyhurst Woods and Darwen train station.
A few miles north west of the village you'll find a historical highlight of the area at Hoghton Tower. The fortified manor house dates from the 16th century and takes its name from the de Hoghton family, its historical owners since at least the 12th century. It's open to the public on certain days and includes lovely grounds and gardens to explore. You can follow the Witton Weavers Way north west for a few miles to reach the castle and the adjacent Samlesbury Bottoms. There's some nice riverside trails along the River Darwen in this area.
Just to the north west you can pick up the Abbey Village Reservoir Walk. The circular trail starts from the same named village and visits the Abbey Village Reservoir before heading to Roddlesworth. The village has a friendly local pub for a drink afterwards.
Just to the west there's the climb to Great Hill. It's a quiet and remote spot of the moors, rising to a height of 383 metres at the high point. You can start the walk from the southern Tockholes car park.
For more walking ideas in the area see the West Pennine Moors Walks page.