General Guidance

We have some of the most spectacular riding in the North West on our doorstep but it has come at the cost of a few dedicated people who have fought the authorities, landowners, other outdoor recreational groups to ensure our right to ride along the Drove Roads, Pack Horse Ways, general bridleways and, in the more recent era, the so called ‘Cycleway’ where although the bridleway network has embraced use of the cycle since 1968, it seems the feeling is not reciprocal.  This needs to be corrected if we are all to enjoy our common history and landscape in harmony and mutual respect.  Hence the Burnley Bridleways Association is an organisation dedicated to working with the Local Authority, Landowners, National Bodies and other Access Organisations to enhance and grow the local network for all non-motorised users both within the Borough and with networks contiguous with our borders.


Please always ride safely.  Take a map – the Leisure Map OS21 – South Pennine is double sided and the one you want for Burnley and its neighbours – and not just your ‘phone.  Make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear, head gear and that someone knows where you are going.  None of these rides are out of bounds to beginners …. a horse has 4 legs and knows how to use them but be aware that you will need to know how to open and close gates, scramble over wet patches and there may be road work.  So trust your fellow travellers – human or  horse and go with the flow.


Finally, please join our Bridleway Association.  It is only through membership that we gain the numbers to persuade those that CAN that we NEED.  In Burnley we are lucky that we have the support of the Local Council but that does not mean we are always top of the list of consultees or simply considered when a scheme is suggested.  Your £10 will help us help others to maintain and open more routes where we can all enjoy both the rural and urban landscape we are so lucky to live in.


And remember

‘The Air of Heaven is that which Blows between a Horses Ears.’  Onward and upward……..

Map of the Mary Towneley Loop
Map of The Mary Towneley Loop

Blue Horseshoe

The Blue Horse Shoe is a circular ride of about 3 miles, if starting from Hurstwood Car Park, or it can easily be incorporated into any other circuit within the Worsthorne – Cliviger network.

The route was the first collaboration between Cliviger Riding Club, headed up by their Chairman, Mary Towneley, and North West Water (now United Utilities) in 1974.  It is marked in brown on OS21 denoting a Concessionary route.  The route earned it name ‘Blue Horse Shoe’ from the markers placed along the route which were, literally, old horse shoes dipped in blue paint, fixed to posts along the route to lead the traveller along the drier path which runs along the lip of the clough.  Today, users are warned to take extra care as use by cycle has eroded the original route to a degree that the rider needs to be especially vigilant of the spread of the bog.  Ride as close to the Clough edge as possible as, although it may not look very attractive, it is better than riding inwards which leads you further into the mire.  The best advice is – be brave and keep moving….. look ahead and kick on.


This is no longer open due to new ownership at Stipperden Farm on the key County crossing point. It is subject to a User Evidence Claim and I am looking for people who can remember riding this route, either to return to West Yorks/Calderdale or from the Cliviger side, returning through Coal Clough Farm either before or after the wind farm.  The last time the round was ridden was 2003 before the gate was hammered shut.

It is a very beautiful route of about 13 miles, circular with good parking and a couple of pubs, if needed!  It can also be linked into the Pennine Bridleway, the Blue Horse Shoe, Dukes Cut and Hurstwood as well as the extensive Calderdale network.  Any one who remembers riding this, as I do, please be in touch.

Gorge Packhorse Circuit

Do not be fooled, this is not a valley ride, the Cliviger Gorge is an iconic geological formation, very steep ups and very steep downs.  Approximately a 10mile circular with a need only to cross the A646 at either end, it is a spectacular route no matter what the weather.  However, it is high and relatively isolated so dress appropriately for the sudden changes in weather – fog, rain, sleet and occasionally sun.  You can go as fast or slow as you like but keep moving as it can be a long day.