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Ribble Rides - Whalley to Leeds/Liverpool Canal

June 10, 2021

Our latest guide is perfect for anyone who is new to cycling and looking for an easy route on mainly quiet roads and cycle paths. With historic landmarks aplenty it's also a great day out for the whole family. Read on for Ribble Rides - Whalley to Leeds/Liverpool canal. The ride is best suited to a bike that is all-terrain capable like the hybrid trail.

Whalley to Leeds/Liverpool Canal

Route distance: 7.14 miles

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Click below to see a map of the route


Part of the fun of discovering new cycle routes is looking at old travel routes. Seeing how they have been repurposed over time like our latest route. This ride follows the route of the old Great Harwood Loop, once part of the East Lancashire Railway Line. It once linked towns of the Ribble Valley together until its closure in 1957. There are many historical landmarks to see which give you a great excuse to stop along the way too.

The ride commences at Whalley railway station. Exit the station and turn right to pass under the railway bridge and then left onto Broad Lane. Follow the road as it sweeps under the magnificent feat of engineering that is the Whalley Railway Viaduct. Ride under the gatehouse of the 14th century Cistercian Abbey. To your right is the grounds of the abbey itself.

  • Multi-terrain bike and canal bridge, need we say more?

Follow the road as it winds its way past the church and all the way to the end. At the junction turn right onto the main street. At the mini roundabout take the left exit (Accrington Road). Follow the road until you reach the traffic lights where you turn right onto the A671. Take the next left onto Portfield Road (signposted for Sabden).

Follow the road as it climbs as far as the White House situated on the corner of a bend. Turn right here to continue down Portfield Road and descend gradually back to the A671. Turn left and cross over to immediately take the right fork, signposted for Accrington and Great Harwood. Follow the main road for approximately a mile or so, as it crosses over the River Calder. Continue past the Game Cock Inn (perfect port of call if you need a little refreshment) and take the next left onto Martholme Lane.   

  • The perfect terrain for a Ribble Hybrid Trail

  • The hybrid trail excels both on road or off it.

You should now see the next historic landmark, the Martholme viaduct rising up in the distance. As you arrive at the Viaduct you will see some stairs to your right. Head up and turn right at the top to follow the path of the disused railway line. When you reach the road (Mill Lane), turn right and cross over the main road. After crossing over, take the immediate left that runs parallel to it (Whalley Road). At the dead-end take the path to your left. Follow it as it sweeps round to the right to re-join the road again.  

Follow the road until you reach the Royal Hotel where you turn left onto Station Road. At the end of the road turn right and look for the start of the Great Harwood Greenway. Continue down the greenway for approximately 2 miles until you reach the road. At this point, you turn left to shortly arrive at the Leeds/Liverpool Canal. You now have two options, head right to take the canal towpath all the way to Blackburn or left and it will take you into Accrington.    

If you have a good level of fitness and fancy something a little more challenging why not try the Longridge Fell Loop?

If cycling with the family by the sea sounds like your cup of tea, why not try our Fylde Coast ride?