Barley, Newchurch-In-Pendle And Pendle Hill
Pendle is a borough of Lancashire to the north of Burnley. There is a car park in Barley village, accessible from Barley New Road.
Even witches need to wrap up warm
‘The name “Pendle Hill” combines the words for hill from three different languages … In the 13th century it was called “Pennul” or “Penhul”, apparently from the Cumbric “pen” and Old English “hyll”, both meaning “hill”. The modern English “hill” was appended later, after the original meaning of Pendle had become opaque’ (Barley Parish Council, 2020).
Famous local figures include ‘Sir Jonas Moore … [,] known as “The Father of Time” for the part he played in establishing the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and Greenwich Mean Times’ (Welcome to Pendle, 2020).
The area is also famous for the trial of the Pendle witches in 1612.
The legend of the Pendle witches is one of the many dark tales of imprisonment and execution at Lancaster Castle. Six of the eleven “witches” on trial came from two rival families, the Demdikes and the Chattoxes, both headed by old, poverty stricken widows.
It was an accepted part of village life in the 16th century that there were village healers who practised magic and dealt in herbs and medicines. Indeed, it was a time when witchcraft was not only feared but also fascinated those from common village folk to King James I, who instructed his readers to condemn and prosecute practitioners of witchcraft.
Lancashire had been regarded as a wild and lawless society, possibly related to the general sympathy with the Catholic Church. The people of Pendle Hill reverted straight back to Catholicism when Queen Mary came to the throne in 1553.
It was with this background of unease that led to the sentencing of the Pendle witches. (Historic UK, 2020).
Leave the car park via the main exit and take a right, heading down Barley New Road. At the T junction, cross the main road (i.e. The Bullion) and go straight on down Barley Green road, passing Barley Village Hall on your left. The road eventually runs parallel to Lower Ogden Reservoir.
Take your next left where signposted. The route here leads you uphill into woodlands via a series of wooden steps. As you leave the woods, follow the footpath over the hills in a north-westerly direction.
From this point you will be able to see Stansfield Tower on a hill in the distance. The tower is in the nearby village of Blacko, and is rumoured to be named after a popular female vocalist from Rochdale (not true).
The footpath will eventually lead you down to Cross Lane in Newchurch-in-Pendle. Take a left here and head uphill.
The Witches Galore gift shop in in Newchurch-in-Pendle is well worth a look! On my last visit, the owner informed me that a great pilgrimage of tourists visited in 2012 to mark the 400-year anniversary of the famous trial, and ascended Pendle Hill dressed as witches. This apparently set a world record for the largest number of witches gathered in one place. Well, so far as these records have been held at least. The Guinness Book of World Records probably wasn’t a thing back in the 1600s during the witches’ actual heyday! The shop made a killing in sales, however.
Continue up Cross Lane and follow the curve left. Ignore the right-hand route where the lane forks. The lane will eventually lead you back into the village of Barley (twinned with Le Mans, he-he).
Take a right and head down Barley New Road, passing back through the car park on your left. Join the Pendle Sculpture Trail from here, leading uphill through the woods.
Follow the trail down between Black Moss Reservoirs, then uphill past the houses and left where the route leads down to Barley Lane. Take a right here and head uphill.
Take your next left where a public footpath is signposted. Take the right-hand route where the path splits. (The correct way is marked very clearly by the local residents.)
After passing Pendleside Farm on your right, the route eventually splits. Ignore the left-hand route which is gated off and leads to a private residence; instead take the right-hand route, which climbs all the way up to the summit of Pendle Hill.
The view from Pendle Hill
There will likely be plenty of others heading this way, so don’t worry, you won’t go wrong! The route to the top may appear daunting at first, but don’t be put off. It’s easier than it looks and doesn’t take too long! The views up top are amazing, but hold onto your camera as it can be very windy!
Interestingly, ‘The view so inspired George Fox in 1652 that he set up a world-wide religious movement, The Quakers’ (Welcome to Pendle, 2020).
Pass the trig point and follow the route as it curves left and downhill back to Pendleside Farm. Follow the route back to Barley Lane and take a right, heading down into Barley village.
The Barley Mow and Pendle Inn (c1920) are both worth visit a visit for drinks and dinners!
Barley Parish Council. (2020). Then & Now - Barley Parish Council. [online] Available at: https://barleyparish.uk/then-now/
[Accessed 4 Feb. 2020].
Historic UK. (2020). The Pendle Witches, a famous witch trial in Lancashire. [online] Available at: https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/The-Pendle-Witches/
[Accessed 5 Feb. 2020].
Welcome to Pendle. (2020). Visit Pendle, p.3.