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The historic Red Rose county has always been a walker’s delight. Walks in Lancashire place you amongst wonderfully secluded, high and atmospheric moorland; deep, fertile river valleys and a dynamic coastline with sumptuous Lakeland views. Some of the most remote and beautiful walking in the country is found right here.
From short, gentle rambles to long distance treks offering superb Pennine adventures, hikes in Lancashire have something to suit every taste. Lord of the Rings author and avid rambler JRR Tolkein was so enamoured with the region that the origin of many fantastical Middle Earth landscapes can be traced back to the county.
Covering much of Lancashire, the Forest of Bowland is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with almost endless options for superb hiking in splendid wilderness. There are many fells up which to hike, rewarding you with staggering panoramas of the sprawling Northwest.
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Perhaps the best hiking trails in Lancashire are those found in the Forest of Bowland AONB. Not a forest in the traditional sense but a high, uncultivated moorland, it offers some of the most remote hiking in England. The region is characterised by its whale-backed fells, peat moors and, in its lower reaches, a patchwork of ancient settlements, alluvial river valleys and picturesque woodland cloughs.
Experience the adventure of peak bagging amongst the Bowland Fells. Whilst not as high as those found in neighbouring Cumbria, the challenge of navigating this isolated, windswept landscape will keep you on your toes. Your reward is huge views to the Yorkshire Dales, Morecambe Bay and distant Lakeland.
Cleaving the upland in two, the deep valley and high pass of the Trough of Bowland is a scenic delight. Don’t be surprised if you catch glimpses of peregrines or merlins darting through the sky, these spectacular birds of prey are just a taste of the wonderful wildlife found here.
Many hikes in Lancashire explore landscapes that are associated with the fantastical in one form or another. In the east of the AONB, rising to 1,827 feet (557 m) above ancient hunting ground, is Pendle Hill. Synonymous with the infamous witch trials of 1612, today it is not the trials but the trails that bring you here. There’s much to enjoy on the long sloping plateau of this gloriously isolated Pennine hill.
You can ramble in Tolkein’s footsteps in the invigorating Ribble Valley. Keep your eyes peeled for place names that sound oddly familiar to anyone who knows the fantasy world of Middle Earth. Meanwhile, in the south of the county, popular Rivington Pike, at 1,191 feet (363 m), and its surrounding woodland were the setting for the 2016 feature film A Monster Calls.
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Explore more of England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.