Spike and I at the start of the Pendle SCultpure Trail in Lancashire
Days out,  Travel,  Walking

A trip into the hills – The Pendle Sculpture Trail

So this post has been a while in the making. Truthfully I’ve wanted to write it for ages but kept forgetting about it when I was sat down to write! However with #NationalWalkingMonth upon us I realised it was the perfect time to talk about amazing walks me, T and Spike have enjoyed. 

The Pendle Sculpture Trail is high on the list. We took to this trail on New Years Day. I always love to go for a walk on New Years Day, it starts the year right and clears your head. This trail was no different. It was harder than expected but with such a mild day to enjoy, we had fun even on the steep parts! 

Finding The Pendle Sculpture Trail 

The trail is set in woodland close to Barley, in Pendle, Lancashire. The area is steeped in history to do with witchcraft and the story of the Pendle witches is one that I am fascinated in. The trail pay homage to those witches, with ceramic plaques for each of the 10 sentenced women, and other sculptures which were beautiful.

Getting to Barley 

From our house, Barley isn’t that far. However like many things in the countryside, it takes a while to get there. We drove over tiny bridges, felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and skirted down one way tracks. Eventually though, we made it to Barley. It’s a beautiful little village and obviously attracts a lot of visitors as the biggest place in the village was the pub! We tried to park in the car park but failed to get a space so ended up on the roadside, then we headed to the picnic area for a bite to eat. 

Getting our bearings

Once we’d been fed, watered and had a wee, we started the walk to the Trail. I read on the leaflet that it was a 1 mile walk to the Trail from the car park but it felt like longer. We had to work out where we were and which direction was right… but it wasn’t too difficult as there were so many other people going the same way! Once we’d worked it out and got to walking me and T were perfectly happy, however the walk up to the trail is a stone track, and Spike got bored quite quickly.

The Ogden Reservoirs

The walk up to the trail takes you past two magnificent reservoirs with a backdrop that is simply breathtaking. There are obviously a lot of places to go walking in Barley as there were people going in multiple directions. We could also see a huge hill on the other side of the reservoirs with people walking up (and paragliding off!). We continued pass both reservoirs though and made our way to the woods where the trail takes place. 

Aitken Woods 

Spike and I in front of the trees at Aitken Wood Pendle Sculpture Trail

The Trail is within Aitken Wood. It’s worth noting that in addition to the incline past the reservoirs, the trail starts with a big hill. The woodland is set on a hillside and while beautiful, its difficult to walk up while carrying a small child. Meaning the walk was slow going for a while at the start! Once we were well and truly in Aitken Wood though, the views were even more breathtaking and the hill paid off. 

The Pendle Sculpture Trail and its Sculptures 

The start of the  Trail was marked with an interesting cube sculpture which Spike loved. At around 1-1.5 miles long the trail wasn’t too long once you got there, and the sculptures were quite close together, so Spike was kept so amused. I told her a bit about the Pendle witches and explained there was a plaque per witch. But there were also other sculptures which she loved just as much! 

Getting in touch with nature at Aitken Wood

The best, most beautiful thing about this trail is that it has been lovingly placed within a beautiful woodland. The woodland hasn’t been negatively impacted by its addition. You can tell every Sculpture was perfectly placed and some use fallen trees as a basis for the art. The trees were majestic and it felt like a world away. Even though it was a busy day for the trail once you were amongst the trees, the sound of others faded away. All you could hear the sound of nature, I loved every minute. 

Heading back to Barley 

Once we’d completed the trail, talked about the witches a little more and met a unicorn in the woods too. (Much to Spike’s excitement!) Then we headed back to Barley. There was a small play area over the road from the pub which you have to walk down the side of to get to the car park. We stopped to let Spike have a little play on there. We’d carried her back down the hill and were both glad of the 5 minute peace it brought us before heading back to the car. There’s handy toilets by the car park and like I say, a couple of pubs. Perfect if you want food or drink. There’s not much there but everything you need for a family walk in the countryside. 

Forest of Bowland and the Pendle witches

Thankfully the walk is on the edge of the huge Forest of Bowland, which lays between Lancaster and the borough of Pendle. With our move to Lancaster on the horizon I think we’ll be spending more and more time in the forest as there are so many walks around. It’s an amazing backdrop for any walks and I’m certain we’ll do the Trail again. Like 

I mentioned, I love the story of the Pendle Witches so I think I’ll be trying to take in some more of the walks focussed on the area they were walked through before they were jailed in Lancaster Castle. It’s a fascinating history and Spike is interested too. So I’m sure we have plenty of witchy stories and adventures in our midst.

Find out more about the Pendle Scultpure Trail & The Forest of Bowland

Want to head up the Sculpture Trail, or find walks through the Forest of Bowland and the Pendle hills. Head here for more info.