PENDLE HILL & THE WITCHES

Hike up the famous hill & overlook the beautiful county of Lancashire

Discover the circular route up Pendle Hill…

Walking up Pendle Hill, via the village of Barley in Lancashire offers breath-taking views, fresh air, and a deep sense of tranquility.

The steep-stepped climb rewards hikers with panoramic landscapes, vibrant wildflowers, and a rich historical tapestry. Each step fosters a connection with nature, providing a serene escape from daily routines and invigorating the spirit.

Then you get to walk along the flat, stony pathways and finding a favourite spot to contemplate the views.

It’s possible to continue along the ridge of the hill, but there’s an easy path back down leading towards Barley with a kiosk for refreshments at a local farm, and two pubs when you finally make it into the village both serving food.

There are picnic benches in the park with public toilets and a cafe for snacks and hot drinks.

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The Village of Barley

The lane in the village of Barley leading to the path that takes you to Pendle Hill.

Steps to Pendle Hill

The steps to Pendle Hill

The steps that give you a great view and the steep climb up Pendle Hill.

The Pendle Hill Trig Point

The trig point at the very top of Pendle Hill with fantastic, panoramic views of the Lake District and the moor to the East.

The Path Leading Down

Just 200m further from the trig point is a sharp left path leading down the hill.

Some Friendly Locals!

The route is mostly along edges of farms and you can expect sheep and cows on the paths.

The Historic Pendle Inn

One of two pubs in the village serving traditional ales, hot food and places to sit outside.

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The story of the Pendle Witches!

This is one of the most famous witch trials in English history, unfolding in 1612 in the county of Lancashire. This tale of superstition, fear, and judicial zeal has left a lasting mark on the region and serves as a grim reminder of the perils of mass hysteria.

The saga began in the early 17th century when James I, known for his fear of witchcraft, ascended the English throne. His book “Daemonologie,” published in 1597, advocated the persecution of witches and fueled a climate of fear and suspicion.

In this atmosphere, a series of events in the rural area around Pendle Hill led to accusations of witchcraft that culminated in the infamous trials.

The Pendle Witch trials were primarily triggered by an altercation between Alison Device, a young woman from a poor family, and a peddler named John Law.

Alison allegedly cursed Law after he refused to give her some pins. Shortly after, Law suffered a stroke, and his son accused Alison of witchcraft.

This incident spiralled into a broader investigation, leading to the arrest of Alison and other members of her family, including her grandmother, Elizabeth Southerns, also known as “Old Demdike,” who was reputed to be a witch.

Simultaneously, a rival family, the Chattox clan, was also drawn into the accusations. Their matriarch, Anne Whittle, known as “Chattox,” and her daughter, Anne Redferne, were accused of practicing witchcraft.

The rivalry and animosity between the Device and Chattox families likely fuelled the fervour of the accusations.

The local magistrate, Roger Nowell, spearheaded the investigation, and more accusations surfaced.

Neighbours accused each other of witchcraft, often to settle old scores or grievances. In total, twelve people from the area around Pendle Hill were arrested and charged with witchcraft.

The trials were held at Lancaster Assizes in August 1612. The evidence against the accused was flimsy and often based on superstition and hearsay.

Nonetheless, the confessions extracted from the accused under duress and the testimonies of dubious witnesses, including a nine-year-old girl, Jennet Device, who testified against her own family, were taken as proof of their guilt.

The trials concluded with the conviction and execution of ten people: Alison Device, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Anne Whittle (Chattox), Anne Redferne, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John Bulcock, Jane Bulcock, and Isabel Robey.

Another accused witch, Elizabeth Southerns (Old Demdike), died in prison before the trial. These individuals were hanged, not burned, as is commonly mistaken.

Burning was not a method of execution for witches in England; it was reserved for heretics. The convicted witches were executed by hanging on Gallows Hill near Lancaster.

The Pendle Witch trials are remembered for their stark illustration of the dangers of superstition, fear, and the use of judicial power to settle personal vendettas.

The trials were marked by a lack of concrete evidence and were largely based on confessions obtained through coercion and the unreliable testimonies of children.

Today, the story of the Pendle Witches is woven into the cultural fabric of Lancashire.

Pendle Hill itself has become a symbol of this dark chapter in history, attracting visitors and historians interested in the tales of witchcraft.

The area around Pendle Hill, with its scenic beauty and historical significance, serves as a poignant reminder of the consequences of paranoia and injustice.

The legacy of the Pendle Witches continues to captivate and caution, underscoring the importance of due process and rationality in the face of fear and superstition.

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Free parking & how to get there!


It takes approx 45 minutes to drive from Haworth to the village of Barley where you can park your car in the visitor car park or along the nearby road for free if it’s full, though it rarely is.

It’s a relatively easy walk through the village with small bridges to cross and lanes to walk along. You can decide to either walk back the same way you came or follow our map for a circular route.

Please take your litter home with you and there’s a cafe by the car park with soup, sandwiches and hot drinks too.

There’s a large Pendle Inn if you’d like to have lunch or a pint or two. Either way, it’s a beautiful walk, though it’s steep as you climb the hill with stone steps. But once you’re at the top, it’s flat and you can rest on the stone benches and shelter from the wind.

Then just continue along the flat section and you’ll come to the trig point which is where most people take photographs and enjoy the spectacular views below.

Pendle Hill is definitely worth a trip and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, though you do need to check the weather forecast and take the necessary precautions. However, in the Summer months, it a wonderful spot for a picnic at the top.

Care For The Countryside

Thank you in advance for following these basic requests when visiting the moor:

  • Park in public car parks like Pendle Hill and not on residential streets or country lanes. It really helps.
  • Take your litter home. It’s yours.
  • Keep dogs on leads to protect sheep and nesting birds.