My sister, niece and nephew and I ( and Hugo, of course) had planned to do the Walking With Witches Trail , a 4 mile loop starting at Barley Car Park. The pretty villages of Barley, Newchurch and Roughlee lie in the shadow of Pendle Hill. The area is famed for its spooky associations with The Pendle Witches , a group of individuals who in the 1600s were sentenced to death for witchcraft. Of course the day we set off on our witchy wander it was chucking it down with rain and the foreboding bulk of Pendle Hill was enveloped in mist.
We only managed to follow the trail from Barley to nearby Newchurch over boggy fields, before calling it a day and turning back. I didn’t take many photos, but still thought I would share with you what we did see between showers. The scarlet and yellow waxy cap mushrooms we spied along the way are a fairly good indicator of ancient meadowlands.
Newchurch is named after its ‘ new church’ of St Mary’s consecrated in 1554. The west side of the churches tower is unusual for its Eye Of God. Can you see it? Maybe the eye was there to watch over the locals, more likely it was used as a window by the bell-ringers, so they could view approaching service goers. Whichever, it is a little bit spooky on a grey Lancashire day.
To the right of the churches porch is a Nutter family grave, inscribed with a skull and crossbones, athough it is unlikely that Alice Nutter herself was buried here. Alice Nutter was a land owning gentlewoman from nearby Roughlee. She had been involved in a boundary dispute with her neighbor , local magistrate Christopher Nowell. Maybe the dispute was easily solved when Alice herself was conveniently found to be one of the 12 people in the area sentenced to death for witchcraft.
Although the superstitious times of the 17th century are thankfully over, there is a little shop in Newchurch that sells all things witchy, so we couldn’t resist a mooch…and shelter from the rain.
Inside Witches Galore there is certainly plenty to look at. My sister purchased a painted Pendle witch pebble and as for myself? An ornamental toadstool. 🙂
If only we could have used Pendle Transport ( broomsticks!) for our journey back to the car. We settled on walking to Barley along the road instead of through the muddy fields. Another time we will do the whole Walking With Witches Trail. There is so much more to explore!