The rolling Lancashire hills and the stunning views of the Irwell Valley are unmissable as you steam through them on the East Lancashire Railway. But if you really want to experience the beauty of the area, then we’ve got lots of places you can hop off to explore the great outdoors.
Before you begin your day of hiking up hills and rambling across rivers, you’ll need to fill up on a good, hearty breakfast. There’s loads of options wherever you’re starting your journey on the ELR, but we recommend Katsouris Delicatessen in Bury, which serves up breakfast using quality local produce, including the famous Bury Black Pudding.
Fully fuelled and raring to go, hop on the train at Bury Bolton Street Station to get a taster of the day ahead, as you steam through the breathtaking countryside towards Rawtenstall.
Climb the Top o’ Slate
At Rawtenstall, turn left as you leave the station and wander up through Whitaker Park. You’re on the path to a beautiful 2.8km trek through the Rossendale Valley and up to the Top o’ Slate.
Reach the summit and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across East Lancashire and a close up look at the mesmerising Halo Panopticon. It’s a steel lattice structure that is visible for miles by day and a shining blue beacon by night.
Ramble through the Irwell Valley
Head back down to Rawtenstall Station and back on the train. If you’re feeling peckish or in need of a drink, stop by one of the lovely little cafes in the town centre before you board the train. There aren’t many places for refreshments at your next stop.
Hop off at Irwell Vale and make your decision. Take a scenic stroll down one of the two rivers which weave through this lovely little village? Wander part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail? Hike up onto the West Pennine Moors for some vast, breathtaking views? You choose.
Hike to new heights in Ramsbottom
Though it’s easy to while away the day walking around Irwell Vale, you’ve got one more stop. Hop back on the train and hop off at Ramsbottom Station, ready for a 10km circular hike from the platform up to one of the most iconic peaks in the area.
You’ll walk through woodland, along rivers and take in unmissable views of the whole county, as you climb up the wonderful Peel Tower. Worth every step.
And when you get back to Ramsbottom, you can treat yourself to a much-deserved meal at one of the hearty gastro pubs in the town.