Countryside

Places to visit, of interest or beauty, in Britain’s countryside.

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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Swaledale meadows and the corpse way

The Corpse Road

We set off with friends David and Cecile (and Hamish the dog) to visit Swaledale’s corpse trail.  It is one of their favourite walks and the views are terrific.  You may know of Yorkshire’s Swaledale, but I suppose I had better explain what a corpse trail is: so here goes.  Once upon a very long

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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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Attermire and the caves

Attermire Scar and Victoria Cave, Yorkshire Dales

Time for a walk in the Yorkshire Dales. We will stroll from the old market town of Settle, up into the hills and do a circuit of around 5 miles.  The route will take in the lonely starkness of Attermire Scar, the Victoria and Jubilee Caves and, along the way, encounter preparations for war.  This

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The Stone Circle at Mitchell’s Fold

Mitchells Fold Stone Circle, image

Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle is one of those places you think you should have arrived at much sooner than you do. “We must have passed it.  Maybe I should turn round”.  Surely, supernatural forces were at work, discombobulating me as I (unsuccessfully) navigated the car along narrow border lanes between England and Wales.  In fact,

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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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World Heritage Sites in Britain

World Heritage Sites in Britain

Britain has 29 World Heritage Sites.  The United Kingdom has 30, including the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland but excluding overseas territories.  It would have been 31, but Liverpool’s maritime mercantile city was, sadly, stripped of its status in 2021.  Don’t let that put you off; Liverpool is more than worth spending

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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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A walk in the Weald

The Weald, East Sussex

The Weald is an area of outstanding natural beauty in South East England that, broadly speaking, stretches through the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent, between the chalk of the North and South Downs.  It is characterised by small farms and fields, sunken lanes, gentle hills, deep deciduous woods, pretty picture-box ridge-top villages and attractive

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The Hospital of St Cross

Hospital of St Cross

The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty, to give the institution its full name, is almost nine centuries old and said to be England’s oldest charitable body. Never heard of it? Neither had I – until reading about it in Ian Marchant’s delightful book, ‘The Longest Crawl’. This is an account of

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English Heritage or the National Trust?

English Heritage or National Trust

People often compare the relative merits of Britain’s two largest membership heritage organisations, the National Trust and English Heritage.  In fact, there are several heritage organisations in the United Kingdom that offer membership, the main ones being Cadw, Historic Houses, Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland – as well as English Heritage and

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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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