Use of a map for this walk is essential please use OS Explorer OL41
The Valley holds one of the largest and most important areas of ancient semi-natural woodland in Lancashire. Those along the steep eastern valley slopes through which the footpath runs are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The wise range of soils is reflected in the range of woodland types represented. Upland Oak woodland with Bilberry, Wavy Hair Grass, and Heath Mosses is the most extensive whilst mixed Ash woodland with Dog's Mercury, Ramson's and False Brome and Wet Alder woodland are also present. The woods support a diversity of breeding birds including Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Green Woodpecker.
The River Roeburndale has shaped the landscape as we know it today and continue to provide vital habitats for the resident wildlife. The valley's ancient roots as a hunting ground can be seeing the place names of the area. Roeburn, Harterbeck and Bow skill Wood all make reference to deer stalking and it is said that even the name Barkin Wood related to the strange barking calls made by the deer.
Many of the meadows and pastures alongside the river have escaped agricultural improvement as a result of their small size and inaccessibility. They continue to be managed traditionally and support a rich variety of plants and invertebrates. Look out for plants such as common Knapweed, Harebell, Pignut and Yellow Rattle. Wet ground supports plants such as Marsh Marigold, Meadowsweet and Ragged Robin.