Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lancashire Landscape

Last weekend we went to stay with friends in Helmshore, Lancashire, just north of where we all grew up together in Cheshire. It was a long time since we'd got together, so there was a lot to catch up on. Lancashire is not just large industrial cities but also has some beautiful countryside, as these photos show.

The weather was fine last Saturday afternoon when we took Silka for a walk around Calf Hey Reservoir, one of several reservoirs near Helmshore, in the West Pennine Moors.

Moorland is now Open Access Land thanks to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, meaning you can walk anywhere, but we stuck to the footpaths.

From here we could see Ogden Reservoir on the right of Calf Hey.
Calf Hey Reservoir was constructed in 1854, flooding what was previously farmland. The remains of several buildings, dating from the 17th century are still there next to the reservoir. There were originally a number of cottages and a substantial house. By the 18th and 19th centuries the cottages were used for handloom weaving, which were gradually superseded by the powerlooms of Calf Hey Mill. The Bury and Radcliffe Waterworks Company, who owned the land, terminated the leases on the cottages and farms to prevent contamiantion of the water supply and the Mill closed. With no employment this led to the abandment of the village and farms between 1890 and 1920.

Sunday morning was also fine and sunny and we did a circular walk from our friends' house, walking alongside a stream for most of the way, then through the little village of Irwell Vale and back home.

The white blobs on the trees in the middle of the photo below are actually herons (we forgot to take the zoom lens).

It rained in the afternoon when we visited Clitheroe and Waddow Hall, where my friend and I had first camped with the Girl Guides when we were 11.

It hadn't changed much!

This is the weir at Waddow, still looking just as I remembered it.

On the way back we drove past Pendle Hill shrouded in mist, which reminded me of Robert Neill's Mist Over Pendle, a story of witchcraft in the 17th century. I found my copy when I came back home. "If a hill could have an indwelling Spirit, then surely this had one - and it might not be the friendliest of Spirits.There was some brooding quality about this hill, as though it were sentient and knew more than it chose to tell. ... This hill seemed different from other hills, as though it possessed something - or even, perhaps, as though something possessed it."

In the mist and rain last Sunday I could imagine how the hill drew people's imagination. The weather was too bad to take a photo, but this is from Wikipedia, showing the hill on a fine day.


Tara said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time. What gorgeous countryside.

Nan - said...

Wish I could have been walking along with you!

I've heard of Pendle through the Beautiful Britain site. (I think) I seem to remember reading about witches and Pendle? Does that ring a bell? I may be way off. :<)

BooksPlease said...

I read the book many years ago, so my memory of it is a bit vague, but it is certainly about witches, or at least women suspected of being witches and their trial. There had been a number of deaths from belladonna poisoning. I remember being fascinated by the story and I'd like to read it again. There are so many books to read!