THIS walk climbs up the old packhorse road between Helmshore and Ramsbottom and drops down to join the River Irwell, the East Lancashire Railway and the line of a disused railway running north-south which makes use of the natural valley gorge.

Join the lane signed as a footpath on the right hand side of the White Horse.

Follow it straight ahead for about ¼ mile (ignore the right fork) until a bridleway signpost is reached on the left by the gates to Dowry Head.

This is at the point where the lane starts to wind uphill. Turn left up the drive and as it swings around to a gate leave it on the right joining the track, Moor Road, signed for Robin Hood’s Well.

Follow the walled track uphill on to the moor with a good view of Rossendale below. Go through a gate at the boundary of the National Trust’s Holcombe Moor estate but do not climb the moor any further, instead stick to the wallside track running along the edge of the moor, parallel to the Irwell Valley below.

Head in the direction of Peel Tower and the track soon drops to a woodland reaching a stile/gate at a crossroads of paths.

Turn left here through a gate and follow a track downhill to reach the B6214 at another gate.

Cross this with care and join the signed Rossendale Way path directly opposite at a gate. Join the first track on the right leading to a stile/gate.

Cross this and continue with the field boundary on the left, crossing another stile and dropping towards woodland at a footpath signpost.

Turn right and cross a stile, entering woodland then going down steps to cross a footbridge.

Continue downstream with the beck on the left. The beck is crossed again lower down as is another stile. You leave the National Trust estate and take a left forking path leading to a gate by Buckden Barn.

Walk around the left hand side of the house and several signposts are reached indicating a National Cycleway Network route. Turn left here and follow the old railway through woodland heading north and crossing the River Irwell.

When the path along the old line forks take the right fork downhill to join the Irwell Valley Way footpath sandwiched between the river on the left and the East Lancs Railway on the right. This soon reaches a lane at a bridge.

Turn left and cross the road bridge then turn immediately right to continue north along the Irwell Valley Way now with the river to the immediate right. The path leads to the hamlet of Irwell Vale.

Turn left up the hill by the children’s nursery at the corner of Milne Street. Continue steeply uphill to a gate and stile and join a track that crosses the old railway line and swings right.

Continue to a farm at Raven Shore then take the track that forks left and leads back to the B6214.

Turn right along it and the pavement leads downhill back to the White Horse.

n Nick Burton’s new book Wainwright’s Way from Blackburn to out now priced £13.99.