Beacon Fell

Beacon Fell country park is located in Goosnargh, Preston, Lancashire. It’s 266 metres above sea level and is isolated within a two-mile radius.

It has scenic views, a cafe, picnic sites, a visitor centre and multiple woodland trails, along with monuments, sculptures and a playground within the woods.

The main car park is located next to the visitor centre and one of the picnic areas.

Orme Sight – a giant stone face sculpture.

There is a one-way road that circles the forest with multiple car parks located in the woods. All car parks have access to the woods and you can join the circular walk from each entrance. This is the path from the main car park.

The Walking Snake sculpture that’s located in the playground just at the top of the hill of the main car park.

Tree carving in the playground.

The path up to the summit.

Owl sculpture within a circle in the forest. Most of these sculptures were designed by Thompson Dagnall.

There’s plenty of seating and picnic benches along the trail.

Some of these sculptures are beside the pathways, others are inside the woods and you will have to go off the track to find them.

The view from the summit where the monument is.

The entranceway into the woods from one of the other car parks.

A sculpture of a lizard, visitors have pushed coins into this one.

A sculpture that’s not accessible sits overlooking an empty pond.

There are uniquely named woods that comprise the larger forest, all accompanied by a variety of trees including Norway Spruce and Scots Pine

Across the road, on the outer circle are smaller woods and monuments.

On clear days you can see the Isle of Man from here, as well as the Forest of Bowland including Fair Snape Fell and Parlick, Morecambe Bay, Blackpool, Preston and Pendle Hill.

A film set was constructed here in 2018 for the Television series Curfew with Billy Zane and Sean Bean. (All photos are my own.)

Blessed Be )O(

Easedale Tarn

Easedale Tarn is located near the village of Grasmere, the Lake District.

The Tarn walk starts in the village, taking the lane out of the village and upwards until you get to the off-road entrance.

The entrance to the fields start at the bridge, you’ll need to cross multiple bridges with a lovely view of shallow water that is enticing enough to dip your feet in.

Parts of the path are rough cobblestone, you’ll follow this until the trail leads out through the fields.

The path continues through the fields, be mindful there is livestock that grazes here.

You will pass by more bridges and streams as you follow the direction of the Easedale beck.

Once at the mountainside, the path starts to narrow and the descent upwards begins.

The path on the mountainside has very rocky parts, waterfalls and small makeshift rock bridges.

The tarn lies in a Hallow between Tarn Crag to the North and Blea Rigg to the South.

This is one of the largest tarns in the Lake District at 1,570 feet long and 980 feet wide at 910 feet above sea level.

You can walk right up to and even dip your feet in the waterfall at the very top of the mountain.

A tarn is a circular lake at the very top of a mountain, it’s formed by glacial erosion leaving a corrie that is filled with water. This tarn formed about 11,000 years.

I walked the path along the top of the mountain for a while, but I didn’t make it to the lake as it was a very hot day and the walk is quite a tough one.

This walk is a minimum of two hours each way (up and down,) that’s if you don’t walk the circular route around the lake at the top or stop to take a dip at the top of the waterfall. You’re looking at a six-mile bare minimum walk here with a steep climb, rocky paths and watery areas to pass.

If you can make that then the views from the top of the waterfall are worth it!

Blessed Be )O(

Christ Church

Christ Church is located in Chatburn, Lancashire.

The church was built in 1837 with the first foundation stone being laid on 22nd June, and underneath this stone, they placed coins, medals and a copy of the Blackburn Standard. An article inside this newspaper suggested that Christ Church was the first to be commissioned under Queen Victoria’s reign.

The church was consecrated on 18th September 1838 by the Bishop of Chester.

On 3rd May 1854, the spire was struck by lightning which damaged both the spire and the tower.

Between 1882-1883 the church was enlarged which included two extra isles, an organ chamber and a choir vestry.

The churchyard includes three graves of soldiers from World War 1 and the grave of an airman and soldier from World War 2.

Blessed Be )O(

My Samhain 2021

A few days before I took a trip up to the villages around Pendle Hill, these are some of the Halloween decorations from Downham.

These are some of the pumpkins I found around my own village.

Unfortunately, it hadn’t stopped raining for about three weeks, so everything was soggy and a complete washout.

My Mabon scarecrow from this year was decorated for Samhain.

These were all the pumpkins I got.

From the pumpkin farm, which you can find here.

I decorated my back garden with a few spooky decorations.

The porch decorations.

The carved pumpkins outside.

The butternut squash I carved for my altar.

Blessed Be )O(

Chatburn Halloween Trail 2021

Chatburn is a village near Pendle in Lancashire.

Each year the village decorates their houses and community areas for Halloween.

Visitors can participate in the scary Halloween scarecrow trail with a quiz and the spooky displays are judged on the best decorated.

Come along and enjoy this year’s frighteningly good displays along the street.

Blessed Be )O(

St James’ Shireshead Old Church

St James’ is located in the hamlet of Shireshead, near Forton, Preston.

It’s a tiny church with a small graveyard, surrounded by fields.

This church which was originally called St Paul was founded in 1520 and it was renamed St James in 1889.

There’s practically no information to found on this church, it seems to be a little piece of history stuck in time.

Blessed Be )O(

St Michael and All Angels Church

St Michael and All Angels church is located in Much Hoole, Preston.

The tower was first constructed in 1720 with alterations made in 1799. A bell was hung in 1823 which would eventually crack and have to be replaced in 1971, at this time it was upgraded from a manual to a mechanical one.

There has been some form of burial ground on this site since the 11th century with reference to the chapel existing since the early 13th century.

The land was always owned by the de Hoole family and their gravestones can still be found in the churchyard.

In churchyards, you will often find that the south and east sides are the sunniest, most maintained and often house the majority of the gravestones, this is because in medieval times the north and west sides were considered the “Devil’s side.” This superstition meant that the doors on these unfavourable and shaded sides were blocked off so witches couldn’t enter, they were left to go into a state of disrepair and no person of respectability would be buried here.

Blessed Be )O(

Pumpkin Patch 2021

This year’s pumpkin picks.

My picks from the field.

This is inside the farm shop, the ones already picked from the field.

Blessed Be )O(

Samlesbury Hall

Samlesbury Hall is a historic house in Samlesbury, Lancashire, near Preston.

The earliest settlement of the Samlesbury family dates back to 1185 where the manor was located on the Ribble’s flood plains and owned by Cospatric de Samlesbury.

In 1256, the house was passed onto Cospatric’s three granddaughters; Margaret, Cecily and Elizabeth de Samlesbury. 

In 1267 Margaret died childless, her husband died ten years later in 1277 and the manor was then divided into two. Elizabeth and her husband Robert de Holand received the Lower Hall, whilst Cecily and her husband John d’Ewyas inherited the already established building on the eastern side which they turned into the Higher Hall Manor in 1286.

In 1322, the Earl of Lancashire who was the overlord of the Holands’ estate, was defeated in a rebellion against Edward II. In the aftermath, Lancashire descended into civil unrest. The Banasters who supported the king and the Holand family, who supported the rebellion against the king, turned to attacking each other.

The Lower Hall was raided and goods were stolen. A few months later, Robert the Bruce took advantage of the civil unrest by raiding the Lower Hall where he stole all the property and arms, as well as raiding Samlesbury Chapel. These events devastated the village.

In 1325, it was the granddaughter of Cecily, the daughter of her eldest son, Nicholas, who inherited the estate. Alicia’s brothers and uncles were believed to have been killed in the rebellion and when Alicia married Gilbert de Southworth, land was transferred to them both to consolidate the ownership.

Alicia and Gilbert resided at the Higher Hall where she fully inherited it in 1336. Gilbert was credited with building the great hall.

Their descendant Thomas Southworth, restored the south-west wing and built the long gallery, he died in 1546 and the hall was inherited to his son, John Southworth.

Sir John took a leading role in treasonous plots to replace Elizabeth with the Roman Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots which unfortunately lead to trouble with the authorities. He died in 1595.

John Southworth, grandson of Sir John, who was a priest, declared it his mission to persuade the heretics back into the Roman Catholic church. He spent his time in London and was imprisoned on several occasions. After Cromwell issued the arrest of all priests and nuns, John was apprehended but denied he was a traitor.

John was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, on 28th June 1654. His remains were stitched back together, embalmed and taken to Douay. His coffin was hidden in the chapel until it was discovered in 1927 and now rests in Westminster R.C. Cathedral.

In 1678, after a twenty-six year legal battle with two nieces, the sixth John Southworth was on the brink of bankruptcy. His son, Edward, inherited the hall and sold it to Thomas Braddyll. In 1710 the house turned into a fustian factory before the rooms were let to handloom weavers and their families later in the century.

In 1834 Col. T.R.G. Braddyll converted Samlesbury Hall into The Braddyll Arms. Thomas Southworth’s gallery was stripped of his elaborate panelling and it was taken to enhance Col. Braddyll’s rebuilt house at Conishead Priory.

Mrs Blundell was the first landlady, she farmed 130 acres of the manor and won the Preston Agricultural Society’s Prize in 1838.

Col. Braddyll bankrupted himself through unsuccessful mining ventures and the hall was forfeited into chancery.

in 1851 the hall was bought by Thomas Cooper and in 1852 he let the old hall out to Mrs Harrison who turned it into a school.

Joseph Harrison purchased the hall, he was an iron founder, mill owner and philanthropist. In 1862 his wife died and after that he devoted his time to restoring the hall. Later on his widowed sister, Agnes, would live with him and his son William.

William had a bad accident in January of 1879, where he fell on ice and sustained a head injury. In May, after his dog was bit by a rabid dog, he knew that his dog would have to be shot. William was later found to have shot himself, suspected that the gun accidentally went off when he was loading it. Agnes and William’s brother Henry gave evidence that William would never do such a thing but since his accident, he hadn’t been the same and that he could no longer make rational decisions.

The same year, their father Joseph died. Mary, another sister, who had nursed Joseph, moved to Samlesbury and when Agnes remarried shortly after, both Mary and Agnes relocated. Henry, who was the only sibling left at the hall, bought his sister’s shares of the estate.

After Henry’s death, his nephew, Agnes’ son Montague Charles Somerset Johnstone inherited the house but declined to live there. His brother FitzRoy Lewis Montague Johnstone would live there instead. Unfortunately, FitzRoy was killed at the Battle of the Marne in September 1914 and the gardener assumed the role of caretaker.  

By 1925 the hall had become derelict and was bought by a firm who intended to demolish it to build a housing estate instead. The local community got together and purchased the house, where it has been managed by the Samlesbury Hall Trust ever since.  

One of Sir John’s Southworth’s daughters began to keep company with a man from an Anglican aristocratic family. After being forbidden to marry him, she planned to elope to get married but her brothers discovered the plan and killed the man. She died of a broken heart in a foreign convent.

It’s believed that Dorothy is the White Lady ghost of Samlesbury’s hall.

In 1612 Jane Southworth, Jennet Bierley and her daughter-in-law, Ellen Bierley, were accused of witchcraft by Grace Sowerbutts, the teenage granddaughter of Jennet. It was acclaimed that they had killed Grace’s twelve-month-old baby. Once the child had been buried, the three women exhumed the body from the graveyard, cooked it, ate it and saved the fat to rub into their bodies in order to change their appearance. The three accused women were incarcerated at Lancaster castle.

Jane was married to the grandson of Sir John Southworth, who was the heir to the estate but had recently died. During the trial, a witness claimed that Sir John was so frightened of his granddaughter-in-law that he would avoid her, dispite the fact that Sir John had died seventeen years earlier when Jane was only a young girl.

The uncle of Jane’s husband was a priest and when Grace was sent to Christopher to learn her prayers, it’s believed that Christopher talked Grace into accusing the women of witchcraft as he disapproved of Jane marrying his nephew. Once Jennet and Ellen gave their similar testimonies about Christopher at the trial, the other witnesses began to accuse each other and in the end, the Samlesbury witches were acquitted.

Blessed Be )O(

Leighton Hall

Leighton Hall is located near Yealand Conyers, Carnforth, Lancashire.

The earliest record of this historic house was back in 1246 when it was a fortified manor, owned by Adam D’Avranches.

George Middleton, a cavalier, was the only owner to conform to the Church of England, the rest being Roman Catholics. He was a colonel of the Royal army, he was both knighted and made baronet on the same day at Durham in 1642. He was the High Sheriff twice, once being in 1641 and the Middleton legacy died with him. He was succeeded by his grandson, George Middleton Oldfield, who died at Leighton Hall in 1708. 

The next owner, Albert Hodgson, was involved in the Jacobite Rising of 1715 in Preston and he was taken to prison for his participation. The manor was burnt to the ground and all his possessions were confiscated.

In 1722, the hall was sold, which was the first of only two times this happened. It was purchased by Albert’s friend Mr Winkley, who later gave it back to Albert. Once he was released from prison, Albert returned to his ruined property. The house wasn’t repaired until Albert’s daughter Mary married wealthy George Towneley in the 1750’s.

George Towneley rebuilt the hall between 1759 – 1761. The woods were replanted and the park was laid out by 1763. Most of the estate’s layout and how it appears today is thanks to George’s investment.

George and Mary had no children so the hall was inherited by George’s nephew John, who sold the estate in 1805.

The house was sold to Alexander Worswick who was married to Alice Gillow. Their son Thomas was a failed businessman but when he sold the property to his cousin Richard Gillow, this sparkled the long legacy associated with the famous Gillow family.

Richard was the the grandson of Robert Gillow, the founder of the famous furniture business Gillow & Co. of Lancaster.

Richard refaced the house between 1822 and 1825 into the Gothic style using white limestone.

In 1849, their son Richard Thomas Gillow inherited the property where he added a three-storey wing containing a billiard room and guest rooms.

In 1906 Richard died at the age of 99. He had left the building in a neglected state to which his grandson, Charles Richard Gillow inherited the very dilapidated property.

Charles died in 1923, but his widow lived on at Leighton Hall until her death in 1966 at the age of 96. Their daughter Helen married James R. Reynolds and upon her death in 1977 the house passed to their son Richard Gillow Reynolds.

Richard married Susan, they are the current owners of the estate and they have two daughters Katherine and Lucy.

Even though the house was sold twice, the current owners are descendants of the original owners.

This cottage garden is full of fragrant roses and herbs with a herbaceous border.

The pond was created in the 18th century and had at some point supplied water to the house. It is now full of wildlife and plants. To the right side of the pond is a sundial that was built in 1647, standing as one of the oldest remnants, it has the initials of George and Ann Middleton on it.

The woodland was planted in the 18th century.

Surrounded by Yew trees which are traditionally found in graveyards, the old stone cross is a reminder that this was once a graveyard to the Catholics of the family who couldn’t be buried anywhere but on private land.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Mr Gillow built a Catholic church in Yealand that the bodies were removed and reburied there.

The wall marks the boundary between the woodland and the parkland. The parkland is inhabited by sheep, cows and deer.

The Russia house is something left behind from a film set. It has views overlooking the Lake District fells, Arnside and Silverdale.

Blessed Be )O(

%d bloggers like this: