Gisburn Forest 

Riding - Hurstwood

Hurstwood Trail Sign on Hurstwood Trail Hurstwood trail Hurstwood Trail

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Key Information:


United Utilities LogoThis short but sweet trail is located in the woods next to Hurstwood reservoir close to Burnley. 

Bordering the Mary Townley Loop it's definitely worth the detour for a couple of laps. Not overly technical but flowing beautifully the trail will put a smile on your face. Also an ideal place for those starting out their mountain biking adventures to get a taster of what man made trails can offer.

How to Get Here:

For Sat Nav:

Hurstwood Car Park - BB10 3LH

From the West:

On the M65 exit at junction 9 and turn left onto Accrington Road (A679). At the lights turn right onto Rossendale Road. At the next light go straight across onto Glen View Road (A646). Stay on the A646 until you get to Cliviger. When you get to Cliviger turn left onto Red Lees Road. After about a mile turn right onto Salterford Lane. Take the next right onto Hurstwood Lane. At the End of Hurstwood Lane (by the red phone box, bear left and then right. Take the second left into the car park.

From the South / West:

From Rawtenstall take the A682 (Manchester Road) towards Burnley. As you enter Burnley turn right at the traffic lights onto Glen View Road (A646). At the next set of lights go straight across. When you get to Clivigier turn left onto Red Lees Road. After about a mile turn right onto Salterford Lane. Take the next right onto Hurstwood Lane. At the End of Hurstwood Lane (by the red phone box, bear left and then right. Take the second left into the car park.

From the North:

Come in on the M65 and get off at Junction 10. Take the first exit at the roundabout and head towards Burnley on the A671 (Westway). At the Traffic lights turn right onto Trafalger Street. 2nd exit at the roundabout onto Centenary way passing Tescos on your right. 3rd exit on the next rounabout onto Yorkshire Street. Stay on this road passing Turf Moor football ground until you leave Burnley after a couple of miles. After the last of the houses lookout for Salterford Lane on your left. Turn left onto Salterford Lane and then take the next right onto Hurstwood Lane. At the End of Hurstwood Lane (by the red phone box, bear left and then right. Take the second left into the carpark.

From the East:

From Todmorden take the A646 (Burnley Road) towards Burnley. When you get to Clivigier turn right onto Red Lees Road. After about a mile turn right onto Salterford Lane. Take the next right onto Hurstwood Lane. At the End of Hurstwood Lane (by the red phone box, bear left and then right. Take the second left into the car park.


Trail Map
.gpx File

Trail Status:


14-05-12 The trail is still very new and is bedding in. Some of the berms and other sections have loose gravel on them. The trail is otherwise fully open and in excellent condition. Signage is in place but is temporary in nature so may blow away! 

Given the nature of this trail there may be other people using the woods as it's a popular spot with walkers and horse riders. Although the trail is dedicated to mountain bikers keep an eye open for other users who may have inadvertently wandered onto the trail.

Emergency / Mobile Reception:

Mobile reception is reasonable across the trails and car park.

Hurstwood Car Park grid ref is SD 882312, in the event of emergency ring 999.


There is a pay and display carpark at the bottom of the trail. Car parking is 50p for up to 2 hours and 1.00 for more than 2 hours. Alternatively there is a free car park up on Long Causeway opposite Coal Clough windfarm. This car park is about 1.5 miles from the trail and links directly via the Mary Towneley loop


There are currently no facilities at Hurstwood car park. 


Worsthorne village is about a mile away and Burnley a little further.

Bike Shop:

The closest bike shop is On Yer Bike in Burnley, Ride On in Rawtenstall or Blazing Saddles in Hebden Bridge. 


Accommodation is available in Burnley and Rossendale including The Boot & Shoe in Waterfoot.

Bike Hire:

Rossendale Pennine Adventure based in Rossendale can provide bike hire locally.

Key Contact:

Worsthorne Moor and Hurstwood reservoir are owned and managed by United Utilities.

The Trails

The trail at Hurstwood is currently very short totalling around a kilometre of trail with a 600m fire road return to start. If you're just starting out with your mountain bike or you've got a younger MTBer in the family it's an ideal place to get some confidence riding a man made trail, getting to grips with short slopes and berms.

However a number of longer routes lead out from the Hurstwood car park meaning you can have a play on the purpose built trail and then get out and explore the natural riding the area has to offer.

History of the Trail

Sign on Hurstwood TrailThe mountain bike trail is a small part of a 300k effort to transform Worsthorne Moor by United Utilities to upgrade the facilities for all sorts of users including walkers, equestrians and mountain bikers. The project is also conserving the fragile peat environment of the moor to reduce erosion and protect the quality of the water supply to Burnley.

The project has been a joint initiative between United Utilities, Pennine Prospects and Lancashire County Council.

The trail opened in early 2012 and although short is actually an important recognition of mountain bikers as legitimate countryside users alongside the more traditional groups. Hopefully this will be a stepping stone to great access and trails on United Utilities land.

The Trails

The Hurstwood Trail

Length 1.6km
Ascent 38m
Grading - Blue

Hurstwood reservoir dam.From the car park head out through the top gate and bear right onto the tarmac road heading up to the reservoir (you'll see the end of the trail opposite you). Spin up the fire road, you'll see the trail crossing the road about two thirds of the way up and continue until you get close to the reservoir dam. The start of the trail will be on your right hand side.

Hurstwood TrailIt starts off nice and gentle leading up between the trees before starting to drop and going through a series of gently bermed corners. As you pick up speed you'll come to nice right handed berm followed by a short slope and a little trail feature. This first section the culminates in a sharp right handed berm which brings you back to the road.

Hurstwood TrailThe trail then continues across the road weaving between the tree and through a nice little bomb hole. The character of the trail changes a little on this side of the road becoming a little more challenging in places but with a additional grin factor. Still trending downhill it's easy to pick up speed as you pass through a small dip before coming to the trickiest section of the trail. A steep drop takes you down and part way back up again before pitching you into a steep right handed berm and back off down the trail.

Hurstwood TrailA couple of small berms and another dip take you onwards to a sharp upward slope (keep pedalling). More speeder bike nipping between the trees follows before bringing you to the trails finale.

A right handed berm is followed by a left handed berm shepherding you down the last slope and to shoot you back out onto the road at the bottom.

Turn left for another run? Yes you will, this time try and keep it a little tighter and a little faster.


There's plenty of other longer riding also on offer from Hurstwood, here's a couple of suggested routes incorporating the Hurstwood Trail.

Longer Route 1 - Pennine Bridleway and Rams Clough

Distance 7km                                 Map
Ascent 188m                                 .gpx file

Cant Clough DamA short but varied ride up past Hurstwood reservoir on the Mary Towneley Loop. There's a bit of climbing and descending, surfaced bridleways, 'natural bridleways' and double track. A great little tastier of what mountain biking can be.

Start from the Hurstwood car park and head up the tarmac road to the reservoir gate. Follow the track up the right hand side of the reservoir and keep going until you reach a T junction. Turn right at the T junction and continue climbing. Where the track you are on turns sharpley left there is a permissive bridleway running off to the right. If you stay on the track it'll make a right hand turn as you cross a small stream, you've gone too far!

The bridleway is usually fairly visible although doesn't have an armoured surface so can be very muddy in places (not great after lots of rain). Follow the trail back down the valley until you catch sight of Cant Clough reservoir. The bridleway runs down the northern edge of the reservoir (although there's also a surfaced track just above). When you get to the dam take the track to right and follow it back to the Dam on Hurstwood reservoir. You're now at the start of the Hurstwood trail and warmed up for a couple of laps.

Longer Route 2 - Coal Clough Wind farm to Hurstwood and Back

Distance 8.5km                               Map
Ascent 202m                                  .gpx File

Sheddon Clough Stream CrossingThis route starts at the Coal Clough wind farm and uses a fantastic section of the Mary Towneley Loop to get across to the Hurstwood trail before retracing it steps back to the Coal Clough car park.

From the car park head out right on the road until you come to the signs for the Mary Towneley loop on your right. Follow the trail to Sheddon Clough, this is a lovely section of trail, generally dry and smooth with a few rockier (but not difficult) sections thrown in, and it's downhill! At the bottom you'll get to a stream crossing, it is ride able (take care if it's been raining a lot as the stream can be quite fast flowing) but if you'd rather avoid a dunking it may be advisable to get off and hop across on the rocks.

The trail continues on past the stream on clear double track climbing up to the dam for Cant Clough reservoir which you cross. At the far side of the reservoir go through the gate on your right and up the track with your back to the reservoir. Follow this track down the other side to the Hurstwood dam and go through the gate on your right. This brings you to the start of the Hurstwood trail ready for a couple of laps. When you've had enough retrace your route back to the car.

Longer Route 3 - Duke's Cut and Gorple Stones

Distance 25.8km                            Map
Ascent 580m                                 .gpx File

A much more demanding route taking you up onto the open moors crossing a variety of terrain. There are some fantastic views from this route and it is rideable all year around although it can get very exposed on the higher sections so be prepared.

Duke's CutStarting from the car park at Hurstwood follow the tarmac road up to the dam. At the dam take the track to your right signposted as the Mary Towneley Loop. Follow this track across the dam for Cant Clough reservoir and head up to the wind farm at Coal Clough. Where the trail meets the road turn left and follow the road. After a couple of kilometres you'll see a road branching off to the left, the entrance to Duke's Cut is just after this on your right. There's also a radio mast which is a good land mark.

Follow the double track until you get to a gate with the bridleway dropping away to your left. Go through the gate and follow the trail down the hill to another gate. Follow this double track until you reach a tarmac road. Turn right onto the road. At the end of this road turn left and follow the tarmac lane up the steep hill to a junction with another road. Turn left again and follow the tarmac.

Gorple RoadThe tarmac eventually runs out and you go through a gate following the double track onto the open moor. The track takes you down to the dam for Gorple Lower reservoir which you cross. Follow the two lines of concrete down to the road and turn left following the road back up to Widdop reservoir. Leave the road and cross the dam to follow the track around the southern edge of the reservoir. The track climbs steeply as it leaves the reservoir switch backing up to Gorple Gate where it levels out. Stay on the track past Gorple stones and descend, watch out for the water bars on the way down.

When you get to the junction with another track turn left to Hurstwood reservoir. The track takes you back to the dam and the start of the Hurstwood trail. If you've got the energy  a few laps will round the ride off nicely.


Share your views on the riding in and around Hurstwood (

Submitted Comments

I just wanted to say thanks for putting in such a great kids mountain bike trail at Hurstwood. We really enjoyed it. My sons who are 6 and 3 had a great time.- Stu Harper


Mary Towneley Loop    

Healey Nab

Billinge Woods
Lee & Cragg Quarries
Pennine Bridleway
West Pennine Moors