Pack Horse Bridge
The pack horse bridge built by
Sir Richard Shireburn in 1562
still stands -
as viewed from Lower Hodder Bridge.
The River Hodder is a dominant feature in the Forest of Bowland landscape. From its source high above Stocks Reservoir to its confluence with the Ribble two miles east of Hurst Green, the Hodder is a delight to the walker and fisherman alike. The river is a valuable wild life resource; grayling is the main catch in the upper Hodder, while brown trout is found in the lower reaches. The months of May to July see the run of sea trout, while September and October bring the salmon. Water fowl can be seen along the length of the river and the stalking heron is often disturbed.
As the crow flies the distance from Slaidburn to Hurst Green is 9 miles, the Hodder however meanders some 19.5 miles from Stocks Reservoir until it meets the Ribble.
The Lower Hodder between Higher and Lower Hodder Bridges marks the historical county boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire.
The object of this series of walks is to explore the Hodder from Hurst Green in the south to Slaidburn or Stocks Reservoir in the north. It is not possible to follow the banks of the Hodder wholly along public footpaths, so some diversion has to be made. The route has been divided into 5 stages; each stage made into a circular walk with a pub as a possible objective. The completion of these stages enables the whole of the Hodder to be explored.
Walk details for each stage can be found by clicking the respective link below or on the map.
It is essential to use the O.S map for each walk which may be printed off from the respective web page.

Stage 1 - from Hurst Green to Higher Hodder Bridge.
Starting at the Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green the walk initially follows the Ribble and then meets the Hodder as it enters the Ribble. The walk continues to High Hodder Bridge and returns to Hurst Green via Stonyhurst College.
Stage 2
- from Higher Hodder Bridge to Doeford Bridge
The return leg passes the former Craven Heifer at Chaigley and thereafter the steep climb up and along Longridge Fell.
Stage 3 - from Doeford Bridge to Burholme Bridge

The Inn at Whitewell is encountered here on the banks of the Hodder.
Stage 4 - from Burholme Bridge to Newton

There is no pub in Dunsop Bridge but the Parkers Arms in Newton makes for a popular half-way house.
Stage 5 - from Newton to Slaidburn and beyond

The short walk from Newton to the Hark to Bounty in Slaidburn can be extended to take in Stocks Reservoir.
map Hodder Walks
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Walking the Hodder


The plot shows the height profile for the River Hodder starting at its confluence with the River Ribble on the left and its exit from Stocks Reservoir top right. The water falls through 135 m/443 feet over its meandering course of 19.5 miles. The 5 stages described in the walks above and points of interest along the River are shown on the diagram.
The plot was produced using Google Maps Pro.
The name Hodder is likely derived from Brythonic. Its meaning is either "pleasant stream" or possibly "boundary" (Welsh yr odre), the latter suggesting that the Lancashire/Yorkshire border has its origins in the depths of antiquity. It is thought that  Bowland takes its name from the Old Norse boga- meaning a bow in a river; the Hodder being characterised by the way it meanders and twists through the Bowland landscape.
River Hodder Ref.:Wikipedia®
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