This walk explores the bridleways, lanes and paths on the north side of the River Ribble around Hothersall Hall, the ancient seat of the lords of the manor of Ribchester.

It returns to Ribchester along a stretch of the long distance path, the Ribble Way, which runs the whole course of the river valley from its estuary near Longton to its source in the Yorkshire Dales north of Horton.

When you walk past the entrance to Hothersall Hall Farm look out for a grotesque stone head stuck in a fork in a tree. Local legend says that this is the petrified head of a boggart or demon dug up by a local man.

1. Turn right out of the car park and follow the farm driveway where new houses are being built on the right, The drive soon bends left then right. Keep to the tarmac driveway a bridleway also signed as a private road.

It crosses a cattle grid then climbs uphill towards Parsonage Farm. Turn left at the house at the top of the drive then right through the field access before the farm is reached.

Go through a gate then straight ahead across a field to a gate at the other side. Bear diagonally left across the next field to another gate on a waymarked bridleway.

2. Go straight ahead along a fenced track, through another gate then straight ahead along the next very large field keeping a pond and trees over to the right. The bridleway drops to another gate (not the stile over to the right) then continues straight ahead along the right hand side of the next field.

Go through another gate and keep the next field edge on the left. Just follow the bridleway waymarkers and you will arrive at the farm lane by the houses at Ox Hey.

3. Turn right along the lane here and follow it straight ahead for almost ¾ mile until it meets a junction. Turn left at this junction and follow the lane (Hothersall Lane) for the next 1½ miles. It eventually drops steeply left downhill to an outdoor education centre. You are now on the Ribble Way.

Keep the centre on the right and follow the farm drive straight ahead past the entrance to Hothersall Hall Farm. The stone boggart’s head in the tree can be seen on the right.

4. Continue straight ahead past the hall and go through gates before climbing the steep river bank that gives a good view of the River Ribble looking west. Keep above the trees on the right and follow the field edge straight ahead, soon dropping down to a gate/stile on the right below on the other side of the woodland. The riverside Ribble Way is now followed straight ahead all the way back to Ribchester village.

5. Go straight ahead through the farm buildings near the church and continue to the primary school which overlooks the river. Turn left here and walk down the main street with the White Bull on the right.

Turn left by the memorial garden to return to the car park. Alternatively you can continue along the riverside by the benches to take a look at the old Roman baths on the left.