A Fair Snape Fell Circuit

10th October 2023

By the time I had decided to go for a walk, it was too late to head to Lakeland given that rain was forecasted from midday onwards, but here in Lancashire, the drier weather would hold until late afternoon, so after double checking the forecast for the Forest of Bowland, I planned a circular walk over Parlick and Fair Snape Fell.

Admittedly, and it pains me to write this, but I only ever visit this area if the forecast for Lakeland is poor, and thats not good enough. I've read so many good things about this particular area of Bowland, which is known for its escapisum, bleakness, and population with wild camping, something of which I must try given how great the sun rises and sets are from up here. So there it is. The seed has been planted for a wild camp sometime in the future, but for now, it's time to let the mind drift and wonder.

Ordnance Survey 41
Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale

Ascent: 1,700 Feet - 518 Metres
Marilyn: Fair Snape Fell
Visiting: 3, Parlick - Blindhurst Fell - Saddle Fell
Weather: Weak Sunshine Through High Cloud. Highs of 22°C Lows of 19°
Parking: Road Side Parking Fell Foot Farm
Area: Forest of Bowland
Miles: 6.2
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL41
Time Taken: 2 Hours 40 Minutes
Route: Fell Foot Farm - Parlick - Nicks Chair - Fair Snape Fell - Saddle Fell - Saddle End Farm - Wolfen Mill - Fish House Lane - Fell Foot

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code:  
Grid Reference:  


Map and Photo Gallery


Parlick from Fell Foot 10:45am 19°C
I managed to park without any issues, opting to drive half the way up the steep lane, which I know I'll curse myself for as I'll have to walk back up it on my return, but that's later, and I'm eager to get out while the sun is shining. I'm always amazed when viewing Parlick how subltle the ascent looks, which is anything but, it's up there with some of the steepest ground I've ascended, the good thing being it's less than 160 feet higher than Hallin Fell, just steeper. It was mild enough to wear shorts and a technical T-shirt, but I packed a windproof just in case, and within minutes of arriving at Fell Foot, I was ready to leave.

Views beyond Fell Foot towards Longridge Fell (right) and Pendle Hill (left)
Instead of hitting the fell side directly I opt to ascend via the west flank of the fell which is the slightly less steeper ascent.

Views beyond Blindhurst Fell towards Fair Snape Fell.
I followed the path as far as a fence appeared to my right from where there was a 300-foot steep pull onto the summit, where I found the couple I'd seen ascending earlier nestled in the summit shelter. The wind had picked up and the couple were adding layers, but despite the increase in wind, I found it was mild enough to keep with the T-shirt.

Fair Snape Fell from Blindhurst Fell.
I would usually cross the fence here but seeing as the gate has seen better days I'll continue towards the stone wall where there's a second gate.

The view from Nicks Chair over Bleasdale towards the Fylde Coast.
Sadly it was too hazy for any long distant coastal views which extend as far as Morecambe Bay on a clear day.

Looking back on Blindhurst Fell and Parlick.
I'm really fond of this sweeping curve in the ridge seen here as I approach Fair Snape Fell summit.

Fair Snape Fell summit cairn and Paddy's Pole.
Just to confuse matters the cairn is named Paddys Pole not the stick poking out the top of it.

Fair Snape Fell summit trig point.
The wind had picked up and I was on the verge of adding extra layers but I knew I'd be taking them off again within half an hour so I stuck with the hairs sticking up on my arms for a wee bit longer. Sadly the views were just as limited from the summit but through the haze I did manage to spot Heysham Power Station with a hazy Morecambe Bay beyond.

Heading Eastwards across the top of Wolf Fell.
I left Fair Snape Fell behind and followed a narrow path through peat bog while heading towards the fence line seen ahead and stone cairn seen far right. Unless you know this area well I wouldn't recommend taking this route if the cloud is down as for around half a mile this area is boggy and completely featureless.

Crossing the top of Wolf Fell.
Once I arrived at the fence this path appears to my left which extends all the way back to Fair Snape Fell summit, why pass through the peat bog I hear you ask? because I'm a glutten for punishment!

Looking back on Wolf Fell and White Stone Clough from Saddle Fell.

After crossing the top of Wolf Fell I arrived at a wooden gate which was surrounded by peat bog and mud, I could see to the left and right where folk had damaged the wire fence trying to avoid it but I didn't want to do that so I just went for it quickly learning that my levitation skills need some practice.

Parlick beyond Wolfen Hall Plantation.
I'm almost off the fell side now as I approach Saddle End Farm.

Looking back on Saddle End Farm and Saddle Fell.
I'm not a big fan of passing through working farms, especially when the farmer is working, which is just what I encountered as the bridleway passed right through the farm yard, but I got a friendly hello from the farmer and his wife, who were tending to cattle in a nearby shed. In just a few moments, I got a real-life experience of the day-to-day workings on the farm, from the slurry under my boots to the conversation the farmer and his wife were having, and finally, the immaculate farm house and adjoining garden. Just like I felt on the Elidir Fawr summit two days ago, I really felt like I'd walked into someone's sitting room only this time with a more pleasant greeting.

Passing through Wolfen Hall Estate.
From the farm lane, I joined the road briefly before turning left onto Fish House Lane and the Wolfen Hall Estate, which have been turned into these immaculate holiday cottages.

Parlick from Windy Harbour.

The road descended through the Wolfen Hall Estate only to re-ascend over two separate ascents, sometimes steep and others not so. It had clouded over slightly, but I was still glad of the breeze once the third hill had been crested as I tucked my poles in before finally collapsing them as Fell Foot was reached. Up ahead, my car awaits at the top of the hill, where, as promised, I cursed myself for parking too close to my starting point. With the car reached, it was time to break out a late lunch, which came in the form of chicken salad on tiger bread. I was listening to news on BBC Radio 4, which was interrupted by a chap half running and half walking, checking his watch while the pack on his back swayed from side to side, such its weight.

A quick glance saw that the guy was running in boots, which led me to believe that he was possibly in the military. With lunch over, I started the car up, and as I approached the area where the cars were, I passed the chap again, who was de-shouldering his pack, which hit the ground and rolled onto its side. The guy screamed the F-word, confirming his run was over.


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