The former Great Harwood - Burnley Railway covers a distance of 12km and runs through the three districts of Hyndburn, Ribble Valley and Burnley. Part of the route was still in use as a railway as recently as 1993. In addition to passing through or close to the settlements of Great Harwood, Read, Simonstone and Padiham the railway also provided a link into the former Padiham power station, (now Shuttleworth Meade Business Park). The route passes through both urban and rural areas and over the impressive Martholme Viaduct, which is a listed building, as it crosses the River Calder.
Grid Reference: 374500 432360
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The Padiham Greenway section within Burnley Borough runs from Mollywood Lane, Rose Grove to Padiham Memorial Park and is approximately 2.5km in length. This section of the route is varied in character, running through the urban centre of Padiham and also through more rural areas to the south close to Lowerhouse Lodges Local Nature Reserve. The Padiham section of the route has been used informally by local residents for many years.
The West Padiham Greenway runs from Padiham Memorial Park in the east to the Padiham by-pass (the A6068) in the west and is approximately 1km long. Although the Shuttleworth Meade Business Park is just to the south of the route, this section of the Greenway is more rural in character than Padiham Greenway with good views out to the countryside, especially to the north. An informal path already exists along this section of the former railway but this is poorly drained in places, particularly as it passes under the bridge carrying Blackburn Road.
The Simonstone Greenway section is located within Ribble Valley and runs from the A6068 Padiham by-pass in the east to Gooseleach Wood, Read in the west. This section of the route is much more rural in character than Padiham Greenway even though the eastern section is located adjacent to the former Time Computers Industrial Estate. There are also several bridges missing from the former railway, most notably at Simonstone Lane.
The remaining Read to Great Harwood section runs through the districts of Ribble Valley and Hyndburn from Gooseleach Wood, Read in the east to Great Harwood in the west. East of Martholme Viaduct there are several sections of the railway in private ownership with no public access. A significant length of the route in Hyndburn has already been reclaimed as a footpath and cycleway but there are gaps in the route in certain areas as development has taken place blocking the line of the former railway.
The railway was still in use by passenger trains as recently as 1957 when the three former stations of Padiham, Simonstone and Great Harwood were closed. Freight services continued along the route until 1964 although some trains continued to use the route to access the former Padiham Power Station until 1993.
The REMADE scheme proposes to create a greenway with pedestrian, cycle and horse access along the length of the former Great Harwood - Burnley railway line. However, because the former railway passes through different landscapes with varying habitats, the construction and treatment of the greenway may vary between the different sections.
View an aerial photo of the site.