North West England

Places to visit and things of interest in North West England.  To many visitors, North West England means the Lake District; to others it is the home of the Beatles.  Including the counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, North West England is a hugely diverse region of Britain.  It has lively urban areas like Liverpool and Manchester, shaped by Georgian and Victorian trade and industry; attractive market towns; large country estates; ruined castles; a heritage influenced by Roman, Norse and Norman invaders (as well as border warfare); countryside ranging from lush farmland to fells, lakes and mountains and a varied, often unexpectedly beautiful, coastline that includes both brash resorts and barely visited backwaters.

The Witches of Pendle

St Mary's, Newchurch, Lancashire

The story of the Witches of Pendle is one of the most sinister and troubling tales to come out of Lancashire.  It does not feature cackling old hags riding broomsticks across the night sky, but real living beings, victims of time and circumstance.  The broad facts are well-known locally, but lest you be unaware, in […]

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Ravenglass to Eskdale and return

La'al Ratty

A meeting of the Ways and Means Committee decided that a visit to Ravenglass and its steam railway was required. Dissent would not be brooked.  Reports of riding the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway were examined.  Indeed, a stationary lurking locomotive had even been spotted a couple of times, at Ravenglass and Eskdale (respectively).  But the

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Why hadn’t I heard of Holme Cultram?

Holme Cultram Abbey feature on A Bit About Britain

“Do you want to go into the church?”  The neatly dressed middle-aged lady beamed at us. It was a little late in the day and it seemed she was just about to lock up. “Well, if it’s not too much trouble…”. Visiting Holme Cultram was one of those happy accidents.  I had never heard of

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The ghosts of Wycoller

Wycoller Hall

It is a wild, wind-blown, rain-lashed winter’s night.  A spectral horse gallops up to the moss-covered ruins of old Wycoller Hall, the rider a man dressed in early 17th century fashion  He slides swiftly from the saddle, enters the house and dashes up long-vanished stairs.  A door is flung open.  Terrified shrieks pierce the pitch

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Test your lungs on Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill from the south east

Pendle Hill looms over East Lancashire between the towns of Clitheroe and Nelson.  With its distinctive humpback shape, visible for miles around from all directions, it is a local landmark, rising from an area of green beauty.  The district is dotted with tiny hamlets and farms, divided by ancient drystone walls and full of folklore

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A walk in Smardale Gill

Smardale Gill and Viaduct

Some years ago, we spent a happy couple of days with good friends in the Eden district of Cumbria.  For many, Cumbria means the Lake District – which is, of course, a wonderful place; but there is more to the county than that.  Eden, named for the river that flows north through it to the

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Cat Bells

Cat Bells, Catbells

Motivated by Jo Williams’ suggestions for five easy walks in the Lake District, a bright April morning found the ABAB team resolutely heading in the direction of the northern English Lakes, with the ultimate destination being Cat Bells.  Look elsewhere for furry friend gadgets.  Cat Bells, or Catbells, is, for the benefit of the uninformed,

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Helvellyn, England’s third mountain

Helvellyn

England, unlike Wales, is not a mountainous country.  Indeed, it is fair to say that other countries, with the possible exception of Holland, have mountains that come in larger sizes than England’s.  But England does have some fairly serious lumps of rock and Helvellyn is one of them.  At 3,117 feet (950 metres), it is

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5 easy walks in the Lake District

Lake District, Keswick, Derwent Water

A Bit About Britain is delighted to welcome Jo Williams, traveller and blogger at Lost Wanders, and Jack Russell expert, as a guest writer introducing readers to five easy walks in the Lake District. 5 easy walks in the Lake District Get out of London and England has some amazing countryside waiting to be explored.

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A Silverdale saunter

Silverdale cave

This walk round Silverdale began as a bimble, but in the interest of alliteration became a saunter. Silverdale, for those not in the know, is a small, almost modest, parish nestling close to the Kent estuary on Morecambe Bay in the northern English county of Lancashire.  As you would expect, it possesses a little natural

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Race relations and the place names of North West England

Lake District

I have recently wondered if there is a particular lesson for us in the old place names of North West England.  Now, the interpretation of place names can be a complicated, uncertain, business and it should be stressed that I am no toponymist.  That said, a lack of knowledge doesn’t deter anyone these days, and

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Clifton, England’s last battle?

Jacobite Gardens, Rebel Tree, Clifton

18 December 1745, and a rebel Jacobite army arrives at the tiny village of Clifton, right at the top of the old county of Westmoreland in the north-west of England.  Maybe four and a half thousand armed men, trudging back to Scotland along rutted, wintry, roads with horses, artillery and baggage.  In November, Bonnie Prince

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