15 Best Walks in the Ribble Valley (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks in the Ribble Valley (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

Are you looking for an adventure that will feed your soul and provide a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life?

Then look no further than the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, England.

This stunning region offers some of the most picturesque countryside walks imaginable – all within easy reach of Manchester and its surrounding areas.

From breathtaking viewpoints to peaceful riverside strolls, here are 15 of the best walks in the Ribble Valley that will give you a taste of freedom.

1. The Tolkien Trail

Cromwell's Bridge
Photo by C Rogers

The Ribble Valley is a stunning backdrop for an unforgettable walking experience.

One of the best ways to explore its beauty is to take the Tolkien Trail.

This gentle walk takes you through picturesque Lancashire villages and along the banks of the River Ribble, with plenty of opportunities for bird watching and wildlife spotting.

The Tolkien Trail starts in Settle, a charming market town at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales.

From here, you’ll head off through quaint villages and rolling hills before arriving at Gisburn Forest.

Here, you can take in spectacular views of Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell as you stroll along quiet country lanes and paths.

You’ll also get to see some of the area’s most beautiful waterfalls – including Broad Scar Falls, which was featured in Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.

Finally, as you make your way back to Settle, you’ll pass by Castlebergh Hall – once home to JRR Tolkien himself!

2. Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail

Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail "Otter"
Photo by Oliver Dixon

The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail is the perfect way to explore the beautiful and varied landscape of the region.

Spanning nearly 18 miles between Clitheroe and Gisburn, this unique trail takes in some stunning sights, all while leading you through a series of artworks by local and international artists.

The sculptures range from abstract to figurative, and are often inspired by the surrounding countryside.

Along the trail, you’ll find works made from materials such as stone, steel and wood that celebrate the natural beauty of the area.

It’s a great way to discover hidden gems within the Ribble Valley – from riverside views to ancient monuments – all while admiring some stunning pieces of art.

The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail is an opportunity for visitors to explore this picturesque corner of England in an entirely new way.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the route, admiring each artwork as you go, or take time out at designated rest points along the way.

Whether it’s a short afternoon walk or an epic weekend adventure – it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

3. Clitheroe 50k

Longridge Fell
Photo by Rude Health

The Clitheroe 50k is a must-walk for any visitor to the Ribble Valley.

This walk offers breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside and plenty of opportunities to explore the local wildlife.

Taking in some of the area’s most iconic landmarks, including Pendle Hill, Longridge Fell and Nick o’ Pendle, this challenging hike will truly take your breath away.

Along the way, you’ll come across an array of historical sites and charming villages as well as stunning waterfalls and moorlands.

With every step, you’ll be filled with a sense of adventure and freedom that will stay with you long after your journey has ended.

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Whether it’s leisurely strolling or a more strenuous hike, this walk is sure to provide an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

4. Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill is an iconic destination for hikers, offering stunning views of the Ribble Valley.

This beautiful hill stands at over 500m in height, and offers one of the best and most rewarding hikes in the area.

The path to the summit is steep but not overly challenging and it’s suitable for experienced walkers as well as those looking for a more leisurely stroll.

Once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views of rolling hills and lush green valleys.

You’ll also be able to spot several landmarks such as Blackpool Tower, Lancaster Castle, and even Morecambe Bay in the distance.

And don’t forget to take a few moments to admire the unique shape of Pendle Hill itself!

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful hike or wanting to take in some impressive views, Pendle Hill has something for everyone.

5. Longridge Fell

Longridge Fell is one of the best walks in the Ribble Valley, boasting spectacular views and plenty of fresh air.

It’s the perfect place to escape for a day – or even just a few hours – and truly enjoy nature.

The climb up to Longridge Fell is an invigorating challenge, with plenty of steep ascents and rocky terrain along the way.

The summit offers an expansive vista, stretching across to the Welsh mountains in the distance.

Here, you can take a break and admire your surroundings as far as your eye can see.

At Longridge Fell, it’s easy to forget all your worries and just breathe in the beauty of Mother Nature.

Whether it’s walking with friends or family or taking time out for yourself, this beautiful spot is sure to bring peace and relaxation in abundance.

6. Whitewell Walk

Just as Longridge Fell showcases the vastness of nature, Whitewell Walk takes you through a journey of discovery in the Ribble Valley.

This peaceful meander along the banks of the River Hodder is a perfect way to explore the richness of this region.

The winding route begins at the charming village of Whitewell and follows paths and tracks through ancient woodland, with glimpses of wildlife along the way.

You’ll pass by old bridges, farms and cottages, before looping around to end back at Whitewell.

The walk is suitable for all ages and abilities – so take your time to enjoy the beautiful views and get away from it all.

The air is fresh and invigorating, while the rolling hills will make you feel like you’re in another world.

With its timeless beauty, this walk offers a unique opportunity to escape reality and reconnect with nature – something we all crave right now more than ever!

7. Stepping Stones

The Stepping Stones are an extraordinary place to explore in the Ribble Valley.

As you walk along this winding path, you’ll be surrounded by rolling hills and wildflower meadows.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, with plenty of opportunities to take in the stunning views.

The route starts at Dunsop Bridge and follows the River Dunsop for about three miles before it reaches its destination at Tosside Bridge.

Along the way, you’ll have the chance to spot a variety of wildlife including red deer, buzzards and even kingfishers.

There are also plenty of spots to stop for a picnic or simply take in the stunning scenery.

And when you reach your destination?

You’ll be rewarded with some truly breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

This is a great way to get out into nature and experience all that the Ribble Valley has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or something more challenging, this walk is sure to provide an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for years to come.

8. Stonyhurst College & The Ribble Way Loop

Leaving the Stepping Stones behind, we head to Stonyhurst College and the fascinating Ribble Way loop.

This 8-mile circular walk passes through some of the Ribble Valley’s most beautiful and historic sites.

We start with a gentle ascent as we climb up to Stonyhurst College, one of England’s oldest Catholic schools, which boasts a stunning 18th-century Gothic architecture.

The views from here are breathtaking – looking out to the surrounding hills and valleys you can easily imagine why this area was chosen as a tranquil spot for education.

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The route then takes us down into the picturesque villages of Hurst Green and Whitewell before reaching the River Hodder and winding along its banks towards Dunsop Bridge.

Here, in what feels like another world, we wander through ancient woodland dotted with wildflowers, listening to birdsong in peace and solitude.

We end our journey back at the Stepping Stones having experienced the best of nature that the Ribble Valley has to offer.

9. Dunsop Bridge & River Hodder Loop

The Dunsop Bridge & River Hodder loop is one of the most captivating walks in the Ribble Valley.

Starting from the picturesque village of Dunsop Bridge, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views of rolling hills and lush meadows.

This circular route follows the banks of the River Hodder, passing through woodland and meadows full of wildflowers.

The walk can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on your pace.

It’s a great way to explore the area and get some fresh air while breathing in the beauty of nature.

The riverside provides plenty of opportunities for bird watching, with a variety of species making their home here.

Alongside this are other wildlife such as kingfishers, otters and water voles that can often be spotted if you’re lucky!

With its peaceful atmosphere and incredible views, it’s easy to understand why this walk is one of the best in the Ribble Valley.

From taking a leisurely stroll along the riverbank to indulging in a spot of birdwatching, it’s perfect for those looking to escape from everyday life and enjoy an unforgettable experience within nature.

10. The Stirk House Circular

The Stirk House Circular is an invigorating walk in the heart of the Ribble Valley.

Located near Clitheroe, it’s a great spot for those who want to indulge in some serenity and nature.

The 4-mile circular route follows a well-marked path that passes through fields and woodlands.

As you meander along, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the rolling countryside, with views of Pendle Hill on the horizon.

You may even catch a glimpse of wildlife as you go!

At the start of your journey, you will come across Stirk House itself, a luxurious country house set in 38 acres of grounds.

Originally built in 17th century, this beautiful building is now home to a popular hotel and golf club.

Take some time to admire its impressive architecture before continuing on your way.

There are many other interesting stops along the route too, including an old mill, a 19th century church and an ancient packhorse bridge which dates back to medieval times.

With its incredible scenery and fascinating history, The Stirk House Circular is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an escape from everyday life.

Whether you’re keen to get out into nature or just fancy taking in some breathtaking views, this walk promises something special for all who venture here.

11. The Aspinall Arms & The Ribble Valley

The next stop on our journey into the Ribble Valley is the Aspinall Arms.

Located near Clitheroe, this pub is a great place to unwind and take in the stunning views of the valley.

The pub is situated right at the edge of the River Ribble, providing an excellent vantage point for exploring the area.

The Aspinall Arms is also a great starting point for some of the best walks in the region.

From here you can explore a variety of trails that will take you along riverside paths, through forests, and up onto hillsides with expansive views over rolling countryside.

There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife and discover hidden gems like waterfalls and viewpoints.

Soak in some fresh air as you wander through this beautiful landscape – it’s truly an unforgettable experience!

12. Rambling On The Riverbank

The River Ribble is the perfect place to go for a relaxing stroll.

Its tranquil banks are lined with lush greenery, making it a great spot for some peaceful contemplation.

The landscape is dotted with quaint villages and charming hamlets, each with their own unique character and charm.

From the ancient bridges that cross the river, to the rustic stone walls that line its banks, there’s plenty of beautiful scenery to take in.

As you wander along the riverbank, keep an eye out for some of the local wildlife too.

Otters can often be seen frolicking in the shallows and kingfishers dart among reeds, providing an ever-changing backdrop as you explore.

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With rolling hills on one side and a meandering waterway on the other, you’ll soon forget all your worries and just enjoy being outdoors in nature’s tranquil embrace.

13. Uphill And Down Dale

The Ribble Valley is a place of incredible beauty, where rolling hills and lush dales provide endless opportunities for exploration.

Uphill and down dale, the river winds its way through the landscape, providing a perfect backdrop for any number of hikes.

Walking up one of the many valleys that lead away from the riverbank, you’ll find yourself surrounded by verdant meadows and towering trees; the perfect escape from everyday life.

Away from the hustle and bustle of civilization, you’ll be able to appreciate nature in all its glory.

From wildflowers carpeting the ground, to birdsong echoing all around you.

As you make your way up hill and down dale, it’s easy to forget about everything else in life and just let yourself be immersed in this beautiful environment.

Whether you’re looking for a gentle stroll or a challenging hike, there’s something for everyone here.

So why not take some time out to explore this stunning corner of England?

You won’t regret it!

14. John Smiths Park

John Smiths Park is a great choice for walkers in the Ribble Valley who want to enjoy nature and get some exercise.

The park offers a variety of routes, from easy strolls to more challenging hikes.

It’s a beautiful spot with plenty of open meadows and woodlands, so you can soak up the peace and quiet of the countryside.

The paths are well signposted, making it easy to find your way around.

There’s also an abundance of wildlife, including red deer, badgers, owls and foxes – so keep your eyes peeled!

The park is also home to one of England’s oldest trees – a 500-year-old oak known as ‘Grandfather Oak’ – which makes for a great photo opportunity.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely afternoon stroll or an all-day hike, John Smiths Park has something for everyone.

With its stunning views and peaceful atmosphere, it’s no wonder why this park is one of the most popular destinations in the Ribble Valley.

So why not take some time out to explore all that John Smiths Park has to offer?

15. Gisburn Forest Bike Trails

Leaving John Smiths Park, it’s only a short drive to Gisburn Forest Bike Trails.

This is the perfect spot for mountain biking enthusiasts and those seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure.

With over 10 miles of trails, the forest offers a wide variety of terrains and terrain difficulties – from flat pathways to challenging downhills and technical climbs.

No matter your skill level or experience, you’re sure to find something to suit you here.

If you’re just getting started with mountain biking, there are beginner-friendly trails that will help you get comfortable with the basics.

For more experienced riders, there are also advanced routes that’ll test even the most skilled cyclists.

Gisburn Forest Bike Trails is also home to a bike shop and cafe, so it’s easy to grab some supplies or refuel after a ride.

With its stunning views and exciting rides, this is definitely one of the best places for cycling in the Ribble Valley.

Best Walks in The Ribble Valley – Final Thoughts

The Ribble Valley is a stunningly beautiful area of the UK, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that it’s one of my favourite places to go for a walk.

From the Tolkien Trail to Gisburn Forest’s bike trails, there are plenty of amazing routes to explore here.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, there’s something for everyone.

I’ve personally explored many of these paths, and each one has been an incredible experience.

The views along the way are breathtaking, and it’s always nice to take some time out in nature and admire the scenery.

Whether you’re visiting for just a day or staying longer, I’d highly recommend walking around the Ribble Valley – you won’t regret it!

If you’re looking for an adventure filled with wonderful sights and great memories, then look no further than the Ribble Valley.

With its variety of walks, ranging from easy to hard, there’s something here for everyone – so why not come and explore?

You’ll be glad you did!


What are some easy walks in the Ribble Valley?

Some easy walks in the Ribble Valley are Pendle Hill, Longridge Fell, Whitewell Walk and Stepping Stones.

What are the best circular walks in the Ribble Valley?

Some of the best circular walks in the Ribble Valley are Circle the Stocks Reservoir, Bolton-by-Bowland Walk, and Pendle Hill.

What are some good family walks in the Ribble Valley?

Some good family walks in the Ribble Valley are Slaidburn Village Trail, Pendle Hill from Downham, and the Ribble Valley from Sawley.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.