Villages

Interesting villages to visit in Britain, including hamlets, whether in England, Wales or Scotland.

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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Coombes

Coombes Church, chancel arch

The tiny, downland, Church of Coombes is one of the most extraordinary English churches I have ever seen.  There are thousands of medieval churches in Britain, each one illuminating parts of our nation’s story.  Though not a religious man, I am a long-standing member of the “Oh Look, There’s a Church, Let’s Go in” Club

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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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Bourton-on-the-Water, model village

Bourton-on-the-Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is one of Britain’s honeypot villages.  Situated in the Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that straddles five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire), Bourton-on-the-Water’s main claim to fame is that it is a very pretty village surrounded by lots of other very pretty villages.  Perhaps ‘honeypot’ is an archaic term

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Blessed Virgin Mary and St Leodegarius

The manor of Ashby St Ledger and the church of St Leodegarius

Someone on Twitter was talking about Ashby St Ledgers.  This is a small, attractive, village in Northamptonshire, famous for being home to the Catesby family and for its associations with the Gunpowder Plot.  Then I remembered a brief winter’s morning visit to the peaceful old church, and that it is dedicated to St Leodegarius.  Leodegarius

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Fotheringhay

Fotheringhay

Some places inspire a sense of curious awe.  Though the past is ubiquitous, shaping who and what we all are, there are particular spots on earth where the shades of great events and people gather, jostling for attention.  Visiting them is like walking across the hallowed pages of a giant book, catching tantalising glimpses of

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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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Adventures in Isurium

Isurium Brigantum

The ancient stones of little Aldborough village, less than twenty miles north of York, tell of Romans, Danes, Normans, Scots, corrupt politics, brave fliers and a trusting churchwarden. Not to mention the maypole. Before we go there, be sure you don’t confuse Aldborough with Aldbrough in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Aldbrough St John (also

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Ten of the best in the west

Polperro, Cornwall

South West England has two main draw-backs: it is popular and, as it’s on the west, it can suffer from wetness – particularly at its extremities.  Other than that, it has pretty much everything, including mystery, prehistory, history, cuteness, grand vistas, impressive buildings and plenty of things to do.  For an introduction, see A Bit

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Sheriff Hutton in 30 minutes

Sheriff Hutton Castle

The Ryedale village of Sheriff Hutton is unlikely to be on most people’s tourist trails. Yet it is a reminder, if one is needed, that history, like love, is all around us.  Frankly, the first I heard of the place was when reading about the dreadful wars of the fifteenth century and learning that the

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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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