Slaidburn, Lancashire Sunday 25th February 2018

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader : Jimmy Need     Distance : 8.00 miles

We set off from Slaidburn and make our way to Hammerton Hall and from there over to Bridge House Wood which could be our lunch break. After this we go to Stocks Reservoir and walk for about one and a half mile on the circular route. We then head up to Ten Acre Hill and from there we make our way back to base for some well-earned refreshments.
The conditions were very testing on this walk after the recent bad weather so what it lacks in distance it makes up for in stamina required.

Leisurely Leader : Peter Denton     Distance : 6.00 miles

Our walk today is in the top end of a leisurely walk. with a total of 550ft of climbs. There had been a lot of rain in the preceding weeks so there will be some road walking to avoid the worst of the wet land in the second half of our walk.
We leave the village on the road toward Towhead. We leave this road on a Bridleway that takes us down to where we cross the River Hodder. We then follow the footpath up to Hammerton Hall, and on up to Ten Acre Hill from where we head down to Gisburn Forest with some stunning views of the hills over and around Stocks Reservoir. At the bottom sits a little place of rest where we can stop for a rest before we then head up towards Cocklet Hill to a picnic area, and if the weather is kind to us we could have our butties here. We then head up to Stony Bank and to Meadow Top. Finally we head back down to Slaidburn, via road or pasture and meadow. Have a lovely day walking in Mother Nature’s finest.

Easy Leader : Cynthia Prescott     Distance 4.50 miles

This walk starts from the car park, cafe and toilets with a stroll up through Slaidburn and then a pleasant woodland walk just above a stream. There are a number of ladder stiles and stone stiles as we move on up over farmland and up to a footbridge. As we progressed we found it became muddy so we head back on a quiet country lane with good views.

Notes On The Area

The important village and ancient sheep farming settlement of Slaidburn sits in the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It lies at the head of the River Hodder and Stocks Reservoir. Markets were once held at the top of Church Street by the old village cross, the base of which is now built into the side of New Hodder Bridge. Stock and cattle fairs have been held in the village since 1294, and in the 17th century cattle fairs were held four times a year.

The village once had a smithy, a wheelwright, a tannery and a corn mill. Past industries have included hat manufacture, shoe and dress making and, in the 19th century, hand-loom weaving was carried out in the little community of Mount Pleasant at the top of the village.

The ‘Halmote’ or Chief Court of Bowland was once held at Slaidburn. The court room is still preserved and is located above the Hark to Bounty Inn with access by way up the outside steps. Inside one can view the original oak furnishings of benches, dock and witness box, along with the timber-work of the ceiling. Permission to view can be obtained from the innkeeper.

St Andrews Parish Church, anciently known as the Wanden or Warden Chapel, was first mentioned in 1120 when Hugh de la Val granted the monks of Kirkstall Priory ‘some interest in the Church at Slaydeburn’. The tower is early English in design, but it has been subject to reconstruction many times. The massive angled buttresses were added when the west wall was rebuilt in the 14th century. Above the main west window are two highly decorated image niches. Sadly, the figures are long gone. The three-decker pulpit is an attractive creation from the early Georgian period (1740). In three tiers, it combines the parish clerk’s seat, a lectern, and a pulpit. The clerk would lead the responses from the lowest stall. These lofty pulpits became necessary when high box pews became fashionable.

Built into the fabric of the north interior wall of the nave is a rather friendly stone head. This is one of many Celtic stone heads that are found in the north, and points to a pagan origin for the site.

The famous Roman Road, Watling Street, which went from Manchester north to Carlisle, passed just to the west of the village in what is now known as Hornby Road. The proximity of this famous road probably helped to make Slaidburn important.

The tiny hamlet of Dalehead, with its fine 17th century houses at Stocks and Rushton Grange, has now disappeared beneath the great expanse of water known as Stocks Reservoir. The old church that stood at Dalehead was the only building to avoid a watery grave. It was taken down and rebuilt in 1938 further up the valley. The graves were removed and now lie in the present churchyard.

The Witches of Pendle are remembered by the Lancashire Witches Walk.

Many famous and influential people have come from Slaidburn. One was Thomas Sanderson who emigrated to the US where he and his sons became prominent cattle farmers and politicians in places like Wisconsin and Nebraska. They knew Buffalo Bill. Robert Parker became a well-known and top lawyer working mainly for gentry in Yorkshire. Tempest Slinger, what a great name, was another top lawyer who worked in places like Lincoln’s Inn in London. Finally, James Radley was one of the first aviators.