A circular route covering 47 miles, the Mary Towneley Loop was the first part of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail to open for use. It is named after the late Lady Mary Towneley who was a keen horsewoman and was instrumental in re-establishing the packhorse trail routes across the South Pennine Moors. Unfortunately she did not live to see the completion of the trail but a monument to her tenacity and foresight can be found along the route as it passes through Cliviger.
As part of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail the Mary Towneley Loop has been specifically designed for horse riders and cyclists, but it is also a major new route for walkers.
Easily undertaken in three days, the route can be further broken down into shorter bite size sections for those wishing to take their time to fully savour the mixture of landscapes that open up with each new horizon and each new valley.
Distance: 9½ miles / 15.2 kms
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty level: moderate / challenging
Parking: (North → South) Hurstwood Car Park.
(South → North) Rossendale Valley Sailing Club car park, off Manchester Road.
Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer, OL21 South Pennines
Ordnance Survey landranger103, Blackburn, Burnley and surrounding area
In Burnley, the trail passes through some of our most beautiful scenery from Extwistle Moor in the north of the borough to Deerplay moor in the south. Travelling through the woodland by Hurstwood reservoir and out to Cant Clough Reservoir, the trail goes across Shedden Clough with its limestone hushings – the site of limestone extraction in the 19th century – and across the Long Causeway.
Continuing, the trail passes through Holme Chapel and across the Cliviger Gorge where you can see Thieveley Scout and the area around – which is now part of the Forest of Burnley. From here the trails crosses Easden Clough and Deerplay Moor and passes into Rossendale.