CAN you remember the names of the famous Lancashire textile industry inventors taught at school? Samuel Crompton and his Mule. Richard Arkwright and his Water Frame. Richard Hargreaves and his Spinning Jenny.

But did you ever come across John Osbaldeston and his Weft Fork? This walk goes on the trail of one of the forgotten pioneers of the Industrial Revolution by walking to the last resting place of an inventor who helped transform the textile industry but died penniless.

John Osbaldeston died in 1862 having invented the weft fork which transformed the weaving industry by stopping looms if the thread broke. As he did not patent his invention his idea was soon stolen and he died in a Blackburn workhouse.

Enough money was raised to give him a handsome monument, in the shape of a weaver’s shuttle, in the graveyard of St Stephen’s Church in Tockholes.

The village is a great place to study the textile industry. There are handloom weavers’ cottages here as well as terraced rows associated with the now demolished village cotton mills. The walk also passes the walled village pinfold, where stray cattle were kept, and follows a section of a packhorse road, part of a much longer route that ran from Preston to Rossendale.

1. Turn right out of the car park and after passing the pub entrance turn first right down the side of the pub. The farm access track swings left through the farmyard of Ryal Fold and goes through a field gate.

Walk along a walled track and pass through another field gate to enter a large field. Turn sharp right here keeping the wall on your immediate right. The path drops downhill to a gate/stile then directly uphill through gorse bushes to a little gate in a wall.

2. Go through the gate to reach a junction of tracks. Go straight ahead from here along the stony track, Trash Lane. This can become boggy after wet weather. It soon leads to a T-junction by a house on the right.

Continue straight ahead here and the walled access track swings left and provides a good view north to the Lakes, Dales and Bowland on a clear day. It soon reaches houses and joins the main Tockholes Lane through the village.

3. Turn right along the road and after passing the village hall on the left hand side turn first left down the cul-de-sac signed as Silk Hall. At the end of this access you cross a waymarked stile to enter a field.

Keep to the right hand boundary of the field and you drop downhill crossing two more stiles and heading slightly diagonally right across the next field aiming for the buildings in the distance. You emerge on a minor lane opposite the entrance to St Stephen’s Church.

Go through the lych gate and walk ahead towards the school buildings. To your left you should be able to find the shuttle monument to John Osbaldeston.

4. From the lych gate coming out of the church turn right along the lane. It swings left, just keep following it as it soon passes the United Reform Church on your right then bends right past the cottages of Shirley Gardens on your left.

Immediately after passing the little row of cottages turn first left up the track that soon passes the walled village pinfold on your left.

Keep going straight ahead uphill from here. Here you follow a bridleway that was once part of a long distance packhorse route between Preston and Rossendale. Keep to this bridleway straight ahead past the cottage at the top of the hill and it soon joins the road.

5. Turn right along the road. There is no pavement at first. When the pavement is reached on the right cross over to the left to Fine Peter’s Farm.

Continue straight ahead joining the lane past the little terraced row, Pleasant View. When the lane swings right at the end of the houses go through a gate on the left and join a footpath that runs through a field with a fence on the left.

At the top end of this field go through a little wooden gate and turn right alongside a fence to go through the field gate passed through near the start of this walk.

Retrace your steps from here through the farmyard at Ryal Fold.

START: Roddlesworth Woods car park by Vaughn’s Cafe and the Royal Arms, Tockholes. This is situated on the minor Tockholes Road just off the A675 road between Belmont and Abbey Village.

DISTANCE: 3½ miles (allow one to two hours)

MAP: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors