Helmshore’s Industrial Past Loop

Helmshore’s Industrial Past Loop / 4.07 miles/ 158m elevation change/ Moderate Hike/ Dog Friendly/ Family Friendly/ Not pushchair accessible.

Start Location Postcode BB4 4NP (parking is available in the Helmshore Textile Museum car park).

Click the button below to download the Helmshore’s Industrial Past Loop GPX file to your smartphone and follow by using with the ‘Footpath Route Planner‘ App. Please note you will need to download the ‘Footpath Route Planner’ App in the app store first. Once you have downloaded this app, click the button below and save the route to the app.

Welcome to this historical moorland walk around the village of Helmshore and its surroundings. On this walk you will take in some spectacular sights of what life was like for the people of Helmshore in the 1800’s, combined with some stunning views from the moorland down the Rossendale Valley.

Start of the walk

The start of the walk is the car park of the Helmshore Textile Museum. This is our first encounter with Helmshore’s industrial past. The two mills on this site were built between 1796 and 1830 and produced textiles from both wool and cotton. The mills continued to work on the site until 1967, where they closed and were converted into the museum. The mills are said to be the best preserved cotton spinning and wool fuelling mills in the country.

Walk South East along the Footpath leaving the car park towards a gate in a fence. Pass through the gate and turn left towards the steps up towards the old railway lines. Climb the steps and you will find yourself on the old railway lines, overlooking the museum car park

These old railway lines would have been constructed in the 19th Century and would have primarily been used to transport goods to and from the textile mills. However, there would have been some public use of the railroads, as the towns in the area were now much better connected. This, combined with the introduction of paid holidays for workers in the late 19th Century, allowed people to use the railways to travel to different parts of the UK on holiday.

Continue along the railway for 0.3 miles, taking in the views over Helmshore to your left as you do so, until the path dips down towards Ogden brook. Here you will find yourself at a bridge with the path forking at the other side of it. Cross the bridge and take the left path that bends around to the right up the grass banking.

Follow the path as it snakes through the woodland and as you emerge out of the trees, you will find the path widens and straightens out. You now find yourself on another section of the old railway lines.

Follow the old railway lines for 0.2 miles until you reach a fork in the path. Take the left path through the housing estate and follow Holden Place for 0.1 miles until you reach the junction with Grane road.

Turn Left up Grane road and follow the pavement for 0.3 miles until you reach the Holden Arms pub. Be careful at this point as this road is a very busy road. If you have a dog, I would recommend keeping it on a lead here.

Once you reach the Holden Arms pub, turn left down Holcombe Road. Cross Holcombe Road straight away and head towards the farm track between the pub car park and the houses.

Head down the farmers track for 0.1 miles. Just before you reach the reservoir on your right there is a gate in the wall. Go through the gate and find yourself on the banks of the reservoir. You are now entering farmland where sheep are known to graze. Therefore, if you have a dog, please ensure it is on a lead.

Follow the path keeping to the wall all around the eastern shore of the reservoir, towards the dam, until you reach the bridge over the brook that feeds the reservoir.

Cross the bridge, hop over the style, and follow the footpath up the farmers field, keeping the metal fencing to your right. You will eventually reach another style, climb over the style and continue to head straight up the valley sides until you reach a footpath sign and a gate on your right

Turn right through the gate and pass through the tunnel. If you don’t fancy going through the tunnel, you can always climb up the banking and go over it.

Once through the tunnel, follow the path North for 0.2 miles as it gradually climbs the valley side. until you reach a stream and a fork in the path. At this point, you take the left path, heading back on yourself, continuing up the valley side.

Continue on this path for 0.1 miles as it heads up the valley side. At the summit of this path, you will again experience fantastic views down the Rossendale valley. After the viewpoint, the path bends around to the right, follow it, crossing the collapsed dry stone walls, and you will reach a fork in the path. Take the right hand path heading through the gap between the two mounds covered in heather.

In front of you, the remnants of an old 19th Century Quarry emerges. This stone quarried here was millstone grit. This is a very strong sandstone which was perfect for building the large mill structures down on the valley floor. So by the valley sides being made out of this strong rock, it made the Rossendale valley a perfect location for the textile industry to thrive in large mills.

Follow the path into the middle of the old quarry complex until you reach the old cart path that heads straight through the site. Turn left and follow the cart path towards the South East. Continue along this path, out of the old quarry, until you reach a crossroads with a gate in front of you. Continue straight across the crossroads heading straight for the gate. Pass through the gate and continue down the cart path.

You will now start to descend back into the valley, following the path as it follows the valley sides to the right, and you will eventually reach a junction with a cart path going down to your left with a gate blocking it off. Ignore this first junction and continue to the second junction. Turn left here and follow this cart path, passing through the gate.

Continue down the path following it until it bends around to the right. Leave this path here and continue straight on passing through the small gate into the small wooded area.

Pass through this gate

Continue down the footpath, crossing the style and passing the house on your left. You will eventually reach a T junction. Take the road to the right.

Here you find yourself on park road which heads back down towards Helmshore. Follow this road for 0.3 miles until you get to a junction between park road and Musbury road.

Follow park road as it bends down to the left, with the new apartments to your right, for 20 yards until you reach Holcombe Road. Take care whilst crossing Holcombe Road and turn left.

Follow the road until a footpath appears on your right, opposite Musbury Fabrics. Follow this footpath until you reach a gate on your left. Pass through the gate and you will find yourself back at the textile museum. Congratulations, you have complete the Helmshore’s Industrial Past Loop.

If you want to reward yourself for achieving this feat with a pint of ale. You can head 0.2 miles up Holcombe road to the North where you will find the Robin Hood Pub.

Did you enjoy this walk? Why not leave us a review in the comments below and share your thoughts with your fellow hikers.

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4 thoughts on “Helmshore’s Industrial Past Loop

  1. Another fantastic walk! We completed this yesterday having attempted it the week earlier without as much success. Amazing views looking down on the valley. Our children were tired but enjoyed the adventure!


  2. Great walk in the sunshine.
    Good climbs with a lovely rest spot for a packed lunch sandwich and drink at the old quarry.
    Gentle decent.
    Do it in reverse if you prefer gentle climbs.


  3. An enjoyable walk, with good views from the top. However, with the abundance of rain we’ve had recently, the walk around the reservoir and at the start of the uphill climb, is extremely wet and boggy.


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