On 18th September 1848, the East Lancashire Railway opened a branch from its Manchester-Rawtenstall line at Stubbins Junction, over the hills to Accrington. It included a 146-yard tunnel at Haslingden and a number of viaducts.
One such - in two parts - was at Helmshore where the line climbed between a collection of mills as it curved northwards. It features two seven-arch masonry structures connected by a revetment, passing to the east side of Higher Mill which is now a textile museum. Engineered by J S Perring, the segmental arches are carried on battered piers with dressed springing band and parapet copings which continue along revetment.
Following closure in 1966, part of the route became the adopted home of the East Lancashire Railway Preservation Society whose line might have been extended over the structure had it not chosen to relocate to Bury.
Helmshore Viaduct was listed in November 1984 and a £400,000 scheme later saw it incorporated into a footpath.