Where is this walk?

River Ribble to Sawley Abbey

June 7, 2018

A walk along the River Ribble to Sawley Abbey. It passes through the pretty village of Bolton by Bowland and Sawley Abbey. In addition to the riverside walking there is a mix of farmland and woods.

The Walk

It was a warm, sultry summer’s day when I headed off on this circular walk from Sawley to Gisburn taking in the village of Bolton by Bowland. The walking is straightforward. However the circuit is quite long (ten miles) with no realistic options to shorten it (unless you are prepared to swim the Ribble). However there is plenty to keep the walker interested. I particularly enjoyed the section along the Ribble Way to the south of the river. Strange encounters with stone circles, sinister objects in the woods, over friendly cows and CCTV enlivened an already pleasant route.

The return route is through pleasant farmland which takes in one of the tributaries of the River Ribble (Skirden Beck). At this point there are particularly good views across Pendle Hill. However it is Sawley itself which will probably dominate memories of the walk. The visit to the remains of the Cistercian Abbey is a must. So is Sawley, principally for its spectacular bridge and views down the river. It is typical of the many attractive villages near the River Ribble in this fine area of Lancashire.


There is an option from Fooden Hall Farm via Bolton Hall which avoids Bolton by Bowland saving a mile and a half. It is not worth it.

Navigation Tips for the River Ribble to Sawley Abbey

The first part of the walk along the River Ribble and Sawley is on low level paths which may become wet. A quiet road to the north between Gisburn to Bolton by Bowland offers an alternative, It is always useful to have an alternative route particularly after or during bad weather.


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