Saturday, 11 October 2014


There's been a definite change in the weather and seasons this week. Autumn has finally arrived in all her russet and golden glory (plus the blustery showers and downpours) and I've been marvelling at all the wonderful colours. However, I still have a couple of summery things to show you, so let's go back in time.

After visiting the singing ringing tree in July, I really wanted to visit some of the other panopticons in Lancashire. So, at the end of August, we (with the addition of Chickpea's boyfriend) headed to Wycoller Country Park, near Colne, to see the Atom. First we headed into the village.

I was amazed to learn that there had once been plans to put a reservoir here so all of these lovely cottages would have been under water. Thank goodness they changed their minds.

There are only a handful of houses in the village which lay abandoned for many years after the residents (mostly weavers) moved out to find work. There's no through roads and only residents and disabled visitors are allowed to bring in vehicles.

Ahead of us were the ruins of the 16th century Wycoller Hall. You can either cross the Beck using the ford or walk over the bridge...

Wycoller was also known as the Valley of the Seven Bridges, three of which are very old. This one is the Packhorse bridge which is of uncertain date but seems to be from sometime between the 13th and 15th century.

Like a lot of the bridges, it's pretty narrow and not for the unsteady!

Wycoller Hall is rumoured to have been the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

Leaving the Hall, we crossed back over the beck using Clapper Bridge (also called Hall, Weaver's or Druid's Bridge), which is equally as precarious as the Packhorse. It originally had a clog-worn surface but it was chiselled flat many years ago after a farmer's daughter died after falling from it.

Next stop was the cafe for a spot of lunch.

For such a small place and isolated location, there was a really good menu and very reasonable prices. I couldn't resist the pie, peas and gravy for a bargain £3.95!

Tummies full, we headed out to follow the path up to the Atom.

Along the field boundaries were these unusual slab stone walls, which look a bit like gravestones. They're known as vaccary walls and are thought to be unique to the Pennine area of Lancashire and Yorkshire. These are believed to be medieval: vaccaries were cattle farms.

Another view of the vaccary walls with Pendle Hill in the distance.

And there's the Atom in the distance.

It's made of ferro-cement and is coated in a metal-based paint. Can you see a stump in the middle inside? That once held a polished steel ball but some horrible person(s) has stolen it! You can see what it would have originally looked like and photos of it during construction here.

Having played around peeping in and out of the windows and admiring the amazing scenery, we carried on following a circular route back to the village.

The rocks on the hill are part of Foster's Leap where foolhardy souls try jumping across the gap between two of the larger ones!

Small Copper

The path took us straight through the manicured lawn of the farm ahead of us, which I felt a bit awkward about. However, they must be used to people tramping through their garden and it is a public footpath.

Over another small wooden bridge to cross the beck.

This is the last of the historic bridges, Clam Bridge, and by far the oldest as it's believed to be over 1000 years old.

I don't know how old the Copy House Bridge is but we crossed this one to follow a short path through a new plantation.

I'd love to know what bird this feather comes from. Chaffinch?

Back down on the main path, near to the village, there are willow sculptures and a tunnel.

Caterpillar of the white ermine moth

And that brought us to the end of the trail. It's well worth a visit if you're in the area as it's such a beautiful place. The Pendle and Bronte Ways pass right through the village too if you fancy a longer walk. There's lots more information and downloadable fact sheets on the Friends of Wycoller web site too.

Do you have anything planned for the weekend? We'll be having a quiet one again though not really through choice. I've managed to hurt my little toe and can't put a shoe on at the moment. Remember how I said about Autumn arriving this week? Well, I'm still having to wear flip-flops! Nothing a bit of rest and relaxation won't sort out though that's not exactly my strong point. Hopefully I'll be able to finish the scarf I've had on my knitting needles for absolutely ages and do some other crafting.

Enjoy your weekend whatever you have planned. x


  1. Hi Julie, I loved this post. Wycoller is somewhere I visited a lot as a child and it was great to see it looking so lovely. I blogged about it here photos are better.
    I've also been posting about another childhood place today :0)
    Jacquie x

  2. What a beautiful place Julie, so glad you shared these photos, this would be my kind of place to visit..
    Amanda xx

  3. I really enjoyed this post - Dave's parents live in Lancashire and we have visited Wycoller with them. It was a bitterly cold day, a couple of years ago, just after I'd had my first session of laser treatment (and shouldn't have been outside in the cold!) so we walked down to hall and visited the cafe but didn't make a longer walk of it. We've been saying we'd revisit ever since but haven't made it back yet. I'd like to see all the panopticans too, I'm sure I have a trail leaflet somewhere about them all, but it's another thing we talk about but never get around to! I really enjoyed visiting through your blog and seeing your lovely photos :)

    Oh, and I have deleted that comment containing your email address, I will email you now while I remember!

  4. What a beautiful and interesting place to visit. I especially liked seeing all the different sorts of bridges, they are amazing aren't they. xx

  5. What a beautiful walk, although those bridges look rather precarious! Just think how many feet have crossed them... I hope your toe is feeling better. x

  6. What a beautiful place to take a walk, so much history. It's a shame its not a little closer to us.

  7. I love it when you take us on these tours of your local area, I always feel like I discover something hidden and exciting! The views from the Atom are spectacular, but I was most excited by that feather. We've been collecting feathers this autumn and that one is a beauty. x

  8. My goodness Jules!! This place is amazing, just my sort of area that I could get totally lost in! I love the old ruins, the landscapes but especially that narrow bridge! To think of the footfall that has used it to have worn away the stones. Totally in love with the place and will look to visit. Thank you so much for sharing x

  9. I am nearly speechless at the beauty of it all - and the antiquity. My heart longs to wander among the stone buildings and the very old bridges. Everything is spectacular!!!!!!!

  10. This place looks amazing Julie...the perfect place for a day out. I would have loved the cafe too...your lunch looks amazing!
    Marianne x