Leisurely, Moderate

South Pennine Water Trail


5 miles long

Bear Hill House, Hollingworth Lake #Rochdale

Bear Hill House cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Carroll Pierce - geograph.org.uk/p/5684385 - cropped from original

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Discover Hollingworth Lake and Littleborough with this delightful 5-mile (8-km) walk (with a shorter 2.5 mile/4 km option). With scenic views over the Pennines, this circular route takes in some of the best countryside the area has to offer. The initial section of the walk offers easy walking through the Ealees Valley, Littleborough and along the Rochdale Canal towpath. Whilst the final stretch is perhaps a little more testing the rewards are worth it with breathtaking views over Littleborough, Rochdale and beyond. Whether you choose to walk the entire route or split the walk into smaller sections, you will find no better away to explore the beauty of Littleborough and the South Pennines.

Along the way, take time to explore Littleborough. This small Pennine town has a history of both wool and cotton-weaving. The stone-built heart of the town has retained its character with many fine buildings including Holy Trinity Parish Church, the Coach House Heritage Centre, the old Falcon Inn and the circular Wheatsheaf building. These days, the town hosts a range of delightful little shops.


For wheelchair users and families with pushchairs, click here for an alternative Hollingworth Lake circuit. Rochdale Council states that the main footpath around the lake (approximately 2.5 miles/4 km) is fully accessible with no gates or styles to navigate. This walk is therefore classed as partially suitable for wheelchair and pushchair-users.

How to get there

The main start point given in the leaflet and on this page is Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre, where there is extensive parking. However, for better public transport connections, we also give an alternative start point of Smithy Bridge train station, between points 4 and 5 in the walk description. The station offers full step-free access according to the National Rail website.

To work out how to get to and from the walk start points, simply click the Google Maps link(s) on this page. Then click ‘Directions’ and enter your postcode or location in the relevant field. For public transport options, click on the train icon.

Alternatively, input the postcode(s) shown on this page into the TfGM journey planner at https://my.tfgm.com/#/planner/

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