Thieveley Pike and the Singing Ringing Tree
A short but interesting walk in the South Pennines just south of Burnley. The walk visits the unique sculpture, The Singing Ringing Tree, before following the Burnley Way footpath to Deerplay Moor and the summit of Thieveley Pike.
Length: 5.82 miles
Start: Crown Point Road
Area: Lancashire – Southern Pennines
GPX File: Download
Thieveley Pike – (Height: 449m, Drop: 56m)
White Hill – (Height: 389m, Drop: 35m)
Other POI: Crown Point, Singing Ringing Tree, Dixon Hill, Heyne Farm, Bacup Road, Dyneley Farm, StoneHouse Farm, Scout Farm, Monks House Ride, Buckley Wood, Dean Scout, Cliviger Gorge, Thieveley Scout, Thieveley Farm Ruins, Beacon Rock, Deerplay Moor, Black Clough, Heald Quarry, Dunnockshaw Community Woodland, Clough Bottom Reservoir
Me and the kids were up in Lancashire for the day visiting relatives, and so I thought it would be a good idea to squeeze a short walk in beforehand. Normally we’d head off to Pendle Hill, but this time I decided to do something a little different. I consulted the map and picked out a little area just south of Burnley that looked interesting. I devised a small 6 mile route that incorporated two summits named Thieveley Pike and White Hill, and an outdoor sculpture called the Singing Ringing Tree.
We parked at the car park on Crown Point Road, which was quite high up and offered a great viewpoint without even having to get out of the car. There was a clear easy path from here to to the Singing Ringing Tree, which was visible in the distance. Now you’re probably wondering what on earth this Singing Ringining Tree actually is? My kids were too when I kept telling them we were going there. In fact, I don’t think they even believed me and thought I was talking a load of old bollocks. They were quite right to suspect this as I do have an annoying habit of making silly stuff up to see what kind of rubbish I can get them to believe.
The Singing Ringing Tree is one of four Panopticons in East Lancashire. And a Panopticon is?? Well, in this case, it’s basically a sculpture providing a comprehensive view, commissioned by East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network as part of an arts and regeneration project. Four large scale sculptures were made and placed in the districts of Blackburn, Burnley, Pendle, and Rossendale, and were supposedly symbols of the renaissance of the area.
The Singing Ringing Tree is the Panopticon for the Burnley district, and is a musical sculpture made from pipes of galvanised steel that harness the energy of the wind in order to produce its sound. The sculpture is around 3 metres tall and is designed to resemble a tree. Enough talk – here’s a picture of it:
From the tree, we gradually descended across rugged farmland on Dixon Hill until eventually reaching the farm track at Heyne Farm. This brought us out onto Bacup Road which we then followed for a brief period before turning off down a bridleway. We were now on the official route for the long distance footpath – The Burnley Way. The footpath is 40 miles long and, as the name suggests, circles the area of Burnley taking in some of the fantastic countryside and varied terrain that the area has to offer. The route was devised in 1993 by the Civic Trust and Burnley Council’s Planning and Environment team.
The track continued without any complications past Dyneley Farm, StoneHouse Farm, and Scout Farm. The yard at Scout Farm contained a couple of aggressive looking, snarling, foaming at the mouth dogs which, thankfully, were behind the gates and on a chain. I still nervously looked back over my shoulder for a while just in case they somehow broke loose.
The route eventually took a sharp turn to the right and ascended the hillside of Thieveley Pike and Deerplay Moor. The footpath, according to the maps, is named Monks House Ride and initially skirts around Buckley Wood before crossing Dean Scout where it’s certainly worth stopping to admire the scenery. There were some fantastic views looking out over Cliviger Gorge, with the exposed Namurian rocks flanking it on the right on Thieveley Scout. Also of note around us were the remains of Thieveley Farm, and evidence of the Galena mining activity back in the 1700’s in the form of bell pits and spoil heaps. Slightly higher up is the prominent sandstone outcrop named Beacon Rock.
After looking around, we continued uphill until eventually we arrived at the trig pillar on top of Thieveley Pike. The view looking back towards Cliviger was beautiful and looking slightly more to the north, Pendle Hill was also visible in the distance – looking grand as always. Thieveley Pike is the site of an ancient warning beacon that was lit during a national emergency, something I wasn’t aware of whilst I was up there but it does make perfect sense. At this point, we left the Burnley Way as it headed south-east towards Heald Moor. We instead headed in the opposite direction across Deerplay Moor and towards the Burnley Road, Bacup Road junction, crossing the top of Black Clough on the way. As we approached the final slope down to the road, we had a great view across Eaden Clough to Heald Quarry – or at least I think it was Heald Quarry. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!
Once back on Crown Point Road and on our way back to the car park, we made a small diversion into Dunnockshaw Community Woodland so that we could bag our second summit of the day – White Hill. It’s not the most spectacular of hills by any means – more of a mound, however I thought it would be a shame to miss it as it was so close. The summit is reached quickly and is identifiable by a pond, with the highest point being just on its bank on the other side. We had a quick gaze at the view down towards Clough Bottom Reservoir before circling back to the road and the car park through a plantation of small pine trees of the Christmas Tree variety.
It was only a short walk in terms of mileage, but there was plenty to see and admire. It would be great to return again in the near future to explore the area some more.
Walk completed on 6th April, 2017