Here is a walk that includes the River Ribble, a fine medieval church, the Roman road from Ribchester to Ilkley and a popular country inn. All in the space of six miles!

The parish of Great Mitton was part of the Yorkshire West Riding prior to 1974 and All Hallows Church, with its 13th century nave, is one of the most impressive churches in the Ribble Valley with its memorials to the Shireburn family of Stonyhurst. Many relics from the ruined abbeys at Whalley, Sawley and Cockersand on the Lancashire coast ended up here.

In the churchyard is an unusual 14th century circular cross head depicting a scene from the Crucifixion which may have come from one of the local abbeys. Priests from Cockersand Abbey resided at Mitton Hall overlooking the churchyard.

The walk takes in a stretch of the Roman Road running east-west through the ‘Aire Gap’ which linked forts at Ribchester and Elslack near Skipton. The walk route passes under a railway viaduct carrying the Ribble Valley line before returning to Mitton along the riverside Ribble Way.

The Aspinall Arms was a coaching inn once known as the Mitton Boat. A little ferry boat operated from a boat house here linking Lancashire and Yorkshire across the River Ribble before the present road bridge was built.

Sit in the beer garden and enjoy the view over to the medieval church on the opposite bank of the river.

START: All Hallows Church, Great Mitton. Some roadside parking along Church Lane. Alternatively there is a bus link from Whalley which has a train station. You can also walk from Whalley Station one mile away along the B6246 Mitton Road.

DISTANCE: 5½ miles (allow three hours)

MAP: Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale OS Explorer OL41

1. From the church join Mitton Road, the main B road, and walk downhill to cross the bridge over the River Ribble. Keep to the left hand side and pass the Aspinall Arms on the left continuing slightly uphill past Mitton Hall on the right for another three-quarters-of-a-mile until a signed footpath is reached on the left hand side.

Turn left and join this path through woodland. Go straight ahead and the path soon emerges from the trees and crosses Barrow Brook by a footbridge to enter a large rough pasture.

2. Continue straight ahead along the left hand side of this pasture and look out for the stone base of the old Mitton cross.

You are now on the old Roman road between Ribchester and Ilkley. Keep going straight ahead to go through kissing gates and take care crossing the railway line. Remember to stop, look and listen.

Keep to the track straight ahead which is still the Roman road route. It reaches stone houses. Turn right around the side of the house following waymarkers.

The path leads to the front of the house and follows a driveway straight ahead soon leading to a main road.

3. Turn left and follow the pavement downhill towards Clitheroe. As you cross a bridge over a stream and enter the town turn first left along signed Primrose Road past new houses on the left. Follow the road and it bends right.

Look out for a signed footpath on the left between the old mill buildings and new houses. Turn left along this and a track leads down to fields and the railway viaduct.

Walk under the viaduct and follow the waymarked path which keeps to the bank of a stream down to your left. Walk through a pasture to reach a gate on to a road to the right of a house.

4. Turn left along the road and follow it straight ahead past the recycling centre on the left. The road ends at Shuttleworth Farm.

Keep to the Ribble Way waymarked path around the right hand side of the farm buildings and enter riverside pastures. Keep to the waymarked path with the river on the right.

Eventually a footbridge over a stream is crossed and the waymarked path leads through fields back to the road. Turn right to the Aspinall Arms or left to return to Whalley along the road.

Nick Burton will be leading a guided walk, Cromwell in the Ribble Valley next Saturday (August 31) meeting at Hurst Green village hall at 10.15 am. For more information visit