Lancashire – Pendle Witches Trail from Barley
Barley is a small pretty village in the borough of Pendle, in Lancashire situated just below Pendle Hill. The car park has an information centre and the picnic area is just to the side next to the river. Barley is a popular starting point for the Witches Trail and the steep climb up Pendle Hill and the Pendle Way, a long distance trail, passes through the village. Barley became an agricultural village after a cow farm was established in 1266 and flourished until the 18th century when textiles began to be manufactured. The brooks around Barley offered a good source of waterpower which led to several cotton factories being built. The Barley Green Mill had 200 looms until floods destroyed the building in 1880 and the cotton twist mill at nearby Narrowgates was built to spin cotton warp thread and the adjacent cottages are now private houses. Barley also lies between Black Moss Reservoirs and Ogden Reservoirs and recently a 17th century cottage, complete with a cat skeleton, were found during a construction project in the village near Lower Black Moss Reservoir. The well preserved cottage is believed to have belonged to one of the Pendle Witches. New church in Pendle, a small pretty village adjacent to Barley, is famous for the Demdike family of Pendle Witches who lived there in the 17th century. The restored tower of St. Mary’s Church is the only original part left of an earlier chapel and the “Eye of God” is built into its west side to ward off evil and to the right of the entrance porch is the grave, carved with skull and crossbones, of Alice Nutter one of the famous Pendle Witches. The Witches Galore is a fascinating shop with hundreds of different types of model witches and objects to do with witchcraft and can be purchased as souvenirs of your visit. Faugh’s Quarry is where Demdike claimed to have met the devil and he promised her that she would have anything she desired in return for her soul. If you search (difficult to find) the right hand side of the quarry there is a wonderful piece of quarryman’s humour “the wizard of the stone pit”. Moss End Farm was home to witches John and Jane Bullock. James Device, son of the witch Elizabeth Device, testified at the Pendle witches trial that they had been responsible for the death of Jane Deyne. Bull Hole Farm was the home of John Nutter and it is said that two of his cows died due to being bewitched one by Demdike and the other by Chattox. Saddlers Farm now the Shekinah Centre is a possible site for Demdike’s home but is more likely to be at Malkin Tower Farm east of Blaco. Roughlee is an attractive village with a wonderful waterfall. Alice Nutter was the widow of a yeoman farmer who lived at Crowtrees Farm in Roughlee but it was always believed she lived at Roughlee Old Hall. Pendle Hill will always be associated with the Pendle Witches but was also the subject of religious inspiration. In 1652 George Fox is said to have had a vision on the hill which inspired him to found the Quaker Movement.
For 400 years the villages below Pendle Hill have held stories of intrigue and witchcraft. The Pendle Witches lived in the early 1600’s at a time of religious persecution and superstition. Catholics and those suspected of witchcraft came under more scrutiny than ever after the protestant king, James I, had just survived the Catholic gunpowder plot and he brought in the death penalty for those found guilty of witchcraft. It was a dangerous time for two Pendle families, led by two wily old matriarchs, Demdike and Chattox. Long since widowed they depended on exaggerating the cures they offered to local villagers. It would prove to be their undoing. It is said that Device, Demdike’s granddaughter, cursed and paralysed John Law, a pedlar, because he would not give her the pins that her grandmother wanted for a spell. On the 3rd April 1612 twenty witches, of whom sixteen were women of various ages, including Demdike, Chattox and Device were committed for trial for witchcraft at Lancaster Castle. The trial began on the 17th August 1612 and ended after three days. Upon evidence ten of the accused were found guilty and swung from the gallows, except for Demdike, who died as a prisoner before the trial. For more on the Pendle Witches story come for a visit and find out for your selves. Leaflets can obtained from the information centre or Witches Galore and both will be more than helpful with any questions you may have.
This year 2012 is the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches and to mark the occasion there are a number of great events going on all year including walks, exhibitions, plays, festivals and much more.
This walk can be done as one walk or split into two walks.
Part One Western Loop: From the entrance to Barley car park we turn right and walk to the t-junction. We cross straight over and follow the sign to Barley Green. Follow the no-through road between two pillars to pass by Nelson water works. We cross the stream on our left via a footbridge just after the water works, go through a gate and head uphill to cross a stile. We then turn diagonally left uphill through the field to a marker post below a house. We cross over a broken wall to another marker post and turn left uphill to a gate and a stone pillar with a white cap. We go through the gate and turn left and follow the Pendle Way, with wonderful views of Pendle Hill and Barley, over the brow and then keeping to the right of a building and the wood we can see in front of us we head downhill going through a gate at the end of the wood into the village of Newchurch in Pendle. We turn left at the road passing the public toilets to visit Witches Galore shop. We then walk back down the road past the toilets and the old slaughter house on the right to visit St. Mary’s Church. We then turn left out of the church and walk down the road to the junction where we turn right into Well Head Road sign posted Sabden Fold. After 400 metres we take a look in Faugh’s Quarry on the right then continue on the road passing Moss End and Bull Hole in the valley below and then past Saddlers Farm on our left which is now Shekinah Christian Centre. Just after a large house and the drive way on the right we turn right through the gate and head steeply uphill by the side of the dry stone wall on our right, not the track going to the left. We go through a gate with a yellow arrow and keep heading uphill to the crest. We then head downhill still with the wall on our right towards Upper Ogden Reservoir. At the reservoir we go over a stile and descend the steps on the right, go through the kissing gate on the left and turn right and follow the track to Lower Ogden Reservoir. We continue to follow the track with the reservoir on our right through the valley back to Barley.
Part Two Eastern Loop: We walk through the car park to the right and follow the Pendle Way sign into the trees with the river on our right. We follow the track between some houses and then in front of some more houses and just before a ford and a bridge look for the Witches sign on the right pointing left and towards Whitehough Outdoor Education Centre. We follow the road round to the right and immediately after a red brick building we turn right and follow the footpath through the wood over a number of small footbridges keeping the Outdoor Centre on our left. At the end of the wood we go through a gate and take the path to the left up some steps and keep to the path uphill to a gate, with a Witches sign, on the right above the wood and below a farm. We go through the gate and cross the field to go through another gate. We head forward downhill through the wood to a tarmac track and turn left along the track. At the end of the track we turn left uphill on the road and after a short way turn right onto a tarmac track towards Hollin Top. We cross over a cattle grid and follow the Witches sign on the right downhill to pass to the left of a farm and head forwards through the field and bear to the left at a stream and a sign post on the right. We head towards the farm, go through two gates then forward to the road. We then turn right to the village of Roughlee. As we walk through the village we admire the waterfalls on our left and then pass Crowtrees on the right. We turn immediately right after the road bridge to follow the way marked footpath with the river on our right. We continue on the footpath until we arrive at the Whitehaugh Bridge where we turn left up the road then at the main road we cross over and go over the stile opposite. We head uphill to go through a gate and turn left onto Heys Lane. We follow the lane back to Barley.
This is a moderate walk on uneven grassy paths over the fields, good tracks and some quiet road. There are some steep inclines and declines.
Approx 7.5 miles using OS map OL21 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale. The walk can be split into two walks the Western loop is 4 miles and the Eastern loop is 3.5 miles.
Barley is in the Pendle area near Clitheroe in Lancashire.
From Skipton take the A59 and at Gisburn take a left turn onto the A682 towards Nelson. Just before the village of Blacko take a right turn to go through Roughlee and follow the road bearing right to Barley and the car park is on the right just before the t-junction.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets in Barley car park and at Newchurch in Pendle. For refreshments in Barley there is the visitors centre and cafe, a village tearoom, a pub The Pendle Inn and a restaurant The Barley Mow. In Newchurch in Pendle there is the Witches Galore shop open from 11am till 5pm and in Roughlee there is the Bay Horse Inn.