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Footpath West of Bull Hill
Footpath West of Bull Hill | © Oliver Smith
Liverpool & Lancashire

Holcombe and Bull Hill Circular Walk

This eight-mile circular trail offers fantastic views over the surrounding areas, and on a clear day you can see four national parks; Snowdonia (Eryri), the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. Climb to the summit of Bull Hill and make your way along Moorbottom Road. Much of the trail is a bridleway and may also be used by mountain bikes and horses. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a lead during nesting season (1 March and 31 July) and near livestock.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) land

On this walk you will reach the boundary of Ministry of Defence (MOD) land. Do not cross this boundary if red flags are flying. An alternative route has been given below if the red flags are flying. To find out firing times, phone 01204 512615, the Regional Operations Room on 01912 394261 (24 hours a day).

Total steps: 13

Total steps: 13

Start point

Lumb Carr car park, Lumb Carr Road, Holcombe, Bury BL8 4NN.

Step 1

Start at Lumb Car Road car park, Holcombe, Bury BL8 4NN. Please take care when crossing Lumb Carr Road. As you head out of the car park, cross the road heading slightly left to a footpath gate which will take you onto a short path.

Lumb Carr car park
Lumb Carr car park | © Oliver Smith

Step 2

Emerge onto an old, cobbled road going right for about 150m.

Step 3

Take a sharp turn left onto a wide track, Moorbottom Road. Stay on the track for approx. 1km.

Step 4

Passing the last residential farmstead on your left, views will start to open up onto Red Brook Valley and the moorland above. Continue to walk along the track for another 1.5km, and you will see the Ministry of Defence (MOD) training area to your left. Some of you may remember TVs Krpyton Factor challenge, which was filmed here.

Bank Top Farm
Bank Top Farm | © Oliver Smith

Step 5

Continue until you come across a flag post which signals when the MOD training area is in use. It is important that you do not enter the danger area when the range is in use. If the red flags are flying, do not continue beyond this point. Instead, follow the alternative route detailed below. If the red flags are not flying, continue for 1.5 kilometres crossing Red Brook until you reach a five-bar gate behind Longshaw Head Farm.

Alternative route option
Alternative route option | © Oliver Smith

Step 6

Continue for another 500m along this track until you reach a cattle grid.

Step 7

Just before you reach the cattle grid, take a sharp right and squeeze through two old stone posts by the side of a metal gate. Continue and you will see the remains of an industrial unit ahead of you. On approaching the unit, follow the footpath signs going left up to a pedestrian gate through a dry-stone wall opening onto the moor.

Quarry gate
Quarry gate | © Oliver Smith

Step 8

Head through the gate and follow the small path for 200m, with the stone wall to your right until your reach the flagged stone path heading north-east.

Gate out of Quarry
Gate out of Quarry | © Oliver Smith

Step 9

Follow the stone path until the end and veer right up towards the top of Bull Hill, a short ascent to the trig point. This is the highest point on your walk. From here, on a good day, you can see four national parks from this point; Snowdonia (Eryri), the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Start of flagstone path
Start of flagstone path | © Oliver Smith

Step 10

Staying on high ground retrace your steps for 50m and take the grassy track to the northeast. This is a gradual descent for 1km to Ellen Strange’s memorial. Continue the decent on this grassy track until you get to a metal gate where you will rejoin the bridleway (Moor Road).

Step 11

Stay on Moor Road and continue south for 700m. You will come to some woods on your left, Buckden Wood, part of the National Trust estate. Just before the gate into the woods you will see a large dip with water flowing under the track. Many years ago this dip was dammed, and sheep were washed before market. Farmers would also have used this opportunity to check for ticks. Continuing along Moor Road pass through two gates, and a building to your right owned by the National Trust and currently being brought back into use. Continue along the track for another 1km until you pass Higher Tops farm on your left.

Step 12

Continue for a further 250m, until you see a track to your right just after the tarmac farm driveway. Take a gradual ascent for 1km up towards Peel Tower. Here you can take in far reaching views of the surrounding areas.

Step 13

Start the final descent. Continue on the track for 750m until you reach the cobbled road leading back to the car park. Take care when crossing Lumb Carr Road.

End point

Lumb Carr car park, Lumb Carr Road, Holcombe, Bury BL8 4NN.

Trail map

Bull Hill and Holcombe Moor circular
Bull Hill and Holcombe Moor circular | © OS 287 West Pennine Moors

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