The City of

Historic Buildings

Visitor Attractions
Villages and

Prehistoric Sites

Map & satellite

Pendle Hill

OS Grid ref:- SD804414

Pendle HillThe atmospheric brooding bulk of Pendle Hill, (or “Pendleside” as it is sometimes known), forms part of the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.The hill dominates the skyline to the east of Clitheroe, the summit of the plateau rises to a height of 557 metres (1,827 ft) and is the second highest point in the Forest of Bowland.

The name 'Pendle Hill' is formed from three different languages. In the thirteenth century it was known as Pennul or Penhul, deriving from the Cumbric pen and Old English hyll, which both mean "hill". The modern English "hill" was added later, after the original meaning of Pendle had become opaque. Pendle Hill's history dates back as far as the Bronze Age, an ancient burial ground was discovered at its summit.

Pendle is a popular location with paragliders and hand gliders. The hill is home to a wide range of of wildlife, from grouse and curlew to hare and fox, and provides excellent walks with stunning views over the Forest of Bowland, Yorkshire and across Morecambe Bay to the distant Lake District Fells. The most often used route to the summit starts at the village of Barley, situated just to the east of the hill. This route also provides the steepest ascent. (Parking is available in the village at a cost of £1 per day)

Pendle HillPendle Hill, the “brooding” hill of Robert Neill’s classic story ‘Mist Over Pendle' is famous for three events which occured there in the seventeenth century, the infamous Pendle witch trials of 1612, Richard Towneley's barometer experiment, which took place on the hill in 1661 and the reported vision of George Fox in 1652, which gave rise to the Quaker movement.

'As we travelled, we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered.' George Fox: An Autobiography, Chapter 6.

Today Pendle is still strongly linked to the Quaker movement, and gives its name to one of their centres for religious and spiritual study and contemplation in the United States.

The notorious Pendle witch trials of 1612 are among the most famous witch trials in English history. Twelve people from the area around Pendle Hill were charged with the murder, by witchcraft. A seventeenth century cottage was discovered by water engineers from United Utilities during a routine construction project. The cottage lay under a grass mound near Lower Black Moss reservoir by the village of Barley, in the shadow of Pendle Hill. It is thought that it could have been the home of one of the Pendle witches.

The hill continues to be associated with witchcraft; large numbers of visitors climb to the summit each Hallowe'en, although in recent years this has been discouraged. The area is popular with ghost hunters after Living channel's show Most Haunted visited it for a live investigation on Halloween 2004.

A walk to the summit of Pendle Hill from Barley

Pendle Hill Pendle Hill

Back to Landscape