The Pendle Sculpture Trail

 

 

In 1612 a group of hapless men and women were sent to trial at Lancaster accused of witchcraft. Evidence based on rumour, superstition and “confessions” led to them being found guilty and executed. Since then the story of the Pendle Witches has had a powerful hold on the imagination. Two years ago a number of events were staged to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the trial. As a more permanent monument to the history (and legend) of the Pendle Witches a superb sculpture trail has been created in Aitken Wood above the Black Moss Reservoirs with an iconic view of Pendle Hill as a backdrop. This is a “must do” family outing for the school holidays.

 

Start: Barley Village Car Park BB12 9JX SD 823403  
 

Fact file:

Distance:  3 miles 5k

Time:  1 ½ - 2 ½  hours

Summary:  Mainly easy but with a steep climb into the wood to reach the start of the trail. This route is tramper friendly. (See below) For full appreciation of the sculptures be sure to have a copy of the leaflet produced by Pendle Council.

 

Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

 

Map. OS OL41 The Forest of Bowland


Directions. 
 

1. From the car park take the path behind the information centre and café leading across a wedge of parkland to a footbridge leading onto Barley's main street - the Bullion. Turn right. Continue along the Bullion and soon after the Methodist Church turn right on a tarmac service road in the direction of Blacko.

 

This lane soon becomes unsurfaced as it approaches the lower of the two Black Moss Reservoirs.

 

Incidentally there is a particularly fine view of Pendle Hill across the water along this stretch.

 

At the end of Lower Black Moss bear right at a junction to make a short gentle ascent  to the level of the upper reservoir. 200yds further along reach the entrance to Aitken Wood on the right.

 

2. Even without the Sculpture Trail this would be a worthwhile walk providing superb views of the countryside on the east side of Pendle Hill.

 

As the track turns right it begins to climb with surprising steepness as it enters the wood. After 300yds the way begins to level out as it reaches a junction.

 

The recommended route starts from this point on a circuit of half a mile which takes an anti-clockwise direction.  Before reaching the southern edge of the wood the trail swings left

 

and then loops back on a downward track

 

to the junction.

 

From here if you are satisfied you have seen all that there is to see retrace your steps to Barley.

 

 

Tramper trail. The upper part of the trail is accessible for tramper type vehicles. These can be booked in advance (48 hours notice) from the Bowland Experience 01200 446553


Points of Interest.
 

The Pendle Sculpture Trail. The predominant theme of the trail is based upon events which took place nearby over 400 years ago. Following what nowadays might be regarded as a domestic dispute between neighbours the subsequent investigation identified a group of ten men and (mainly) women to be witches. They were sent to Lancaster for trial, found guilty and executed. Sarah McDade's ceramic plaques waymark the route as you follow it through the wood. These represent the eight women and two men sent to Lancaster.

 

 

Interspersed with these are the tree sculptures

 

 

of Philippe Handford, Steve Blaylock's metal bats, owl and giant spider's web representing the natural world after dark and "the Witchfinder"

 

a statue by Martyn Bednarczuk that reminds us of the role of Roger Nowell the local magistrate who extracted "confessions" from the accused.

Useful websites
www.visitpendle.com
www.lancashirewitches400.org 
 

Where to eat and drink

The Barley Village Tearoom Tel:  01282 694127
The Pendle Inn (See www.pendle-inn.co.uk ) Tel: 01282 614808
The Cabin Picnic site Tel: 01282 696937
The Barley Mow restaurant Tel: 01282 614293