The beauty of Barrowford, Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 22:16 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:58 20 February 2013

Ralph Nuttall and Sandra Carter and dog, Max, enjoying Barrowford Park and Pendle Water

Ralph Nuttall and Sandra Carter and dog, Max, enjoying Barrowford Park and Pendle Water

We visit the pretty Lancashire village with a dedicated community, picture postcard views and a passion for fashion. Emma Mayoh reports

HAD Roger Bannister been able to visit his relatives in Barrowford, perhaps he wouldn't have been the first person to smash the four-minute mile.Within seconds of sprinting off on his 1,609 metre dash to Park Hill, the historic home previous members of his family used to own, he would likely have been distracted by the pretty views, friendly locals and the raft of shops on the high street.

These shops, including designer boutiques, high class interiors shops and little bakeries have already turned the heads of celebrities, footballers' wives and the elite of Lancashire society. Surely, Roger wouldn't have been any different.

The likes of Michelle B, a high fashion designer shop and family-run business Scruples Menswear attract an enviable clientle with famous names on their books.One of the village's own celebrities, Jody Latham, who plays Phillip Gallagher in Channel 4 comedy Shameless is investing in the village he grew up in and is transforming a once derelict pub into trendy wine bar, Jacks, named after his son and the bar's co-owner's late grandfather. Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars can sometimes be found enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and slice of cake in one of the local cafes.


There's no doubting this pretty Lancashire village is loved by the people who live and work there. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than at the Pendle Heritage Centre, which also houses the Tourist Information Centre, Pendle Art Gallery and a cracking little cafe.

It is run by workers, including a handful of volunteers, dedicated to promoting Barrowford and despite it being fairly early on a Wednesday morning it is buzzing with local families out enjoying the sun.

There is a museum telling of the history of Barrowford, the Pendle Witches - The Pendle Witches Trail starts here - the tales of the families who once lived in Park Hill, the historic home that now houses the museum and the stories of some of the local historic buildings. Angela White, operations manager, said: 'We do get a lot of locals here. People use it as a meeting place or to pop in for a coffee just as much as tourists come here to find out more about the area. I've worked here for over two years now and I love it.'


Around the centre are designated woodland walks and a 15th century cruck frame barn that originally stood near Towneley Hall in Burnley.
The cruck frames that support the roof date back to the 1400s.

Animals are kept in the barn and at Christmas an authentic nativity is held in here with audience members surrounded by livestock.
Perhaps most interesting about this site is the 18th century walled garden. All of the plants in it are either edible or can be used for medicinal purposes and it's an attraction that always leaves local schoolchildren open-mouthed.

Pauline Andrews, who helps run the shop, tourist information centre and turns her hand to just about any job that need doing, said: 'They absolutely love it. They're fascinated by it.We have all sorts in there from gooseberries, rhubarb, potatoes, sweet peas and we use the food we grow in the cafe. There's one plant that can be used as soap. You rub it into your hands and then rinse it off and it cleans your hands.

The young ones love hearing about the things they can and can't eat and all the different uses for them. 'We have a head gardener and two ladies who keep the garden looking tip top.We've just started to create a wildlife garden too and a special kitchen garden for us to use for the cafe. I just love it.' For Pauline, who has worked there for more than eight years, Barrowford is a real passion.

'This place is in my soul,' she said. 'I should have retired two years ago but I didn't want to leave this wonderful place behind. Because I've been here so long I know everyone and it's like having an extended family.

'I'll be in the shop and I've got the fabulous view of the river and the old building and if I'm in the cafe I can look out over the walled garden. It's absolutely terrific.Why would you want to be anywhere else? Barrowford is a fantastic community where everyone knows you and looks out for one another. It has a huge history, people can come and
learn all about it at the museum.'

Next to the Heritage Centre, owned by Heritage Trust North West, is Barrowford Park donated to the people of the village by two local cotton magnates, Sam Holden and John Dixon. Cotton played a huge part of the village's history.Today the park has a bowling green, a duck pond and a recently refurbished children's play area and is a popular spot for enjoying a walk or for families feeding the ducks.

This small Lancashire village is as much as gem for people around the world as it is for its Lancashire locals. People from across the globe make pilgrimage to this gorgeous part of the county. Suzanne Beresford, gallery manager of the Pendle Arts Gallery, said it was common for people from Canada, New Zealand and Australia to revisit their
Lancashire roots.

'It tends to be the families that moved out to these frames that support the roof date back to the 1400s.

Animals are kept in the barn and at Christmas an authentic nativity is held in here with audience members surrounded by livestock.


Perhaps most interesting about this site is the 18th century walled garden. All of the plants in it are either edible or can be used for medicinal purposes and it's an attraction that always leaves local schoolchildren open-mouthed.

Pauline Andrews, who helps run the shop, tourist information centre and turns her hand to just about any job that need doing, said: 'They absolutely love it. They're fascinated by it.We have all sorts in there from gooseberries, rhubarb, potatoes, sweet peas and we use the food we grow in the cafe. There's one plant that can be used as soap. You rub it into your hands and then rinse it off and it cleans your hands.

The young ones love hearing about the things they can and can't eat and all the different uses for them. 'We have a head gardener and two ladies who keep the garden looking tip top.We've just started to create a wildlife garden too and a special kitchen garden for us to use for the cafe. I just love it.'
For Pauline, who has worked there for more than eight years, Barrowford is a real passion.

'This place is in my soul,' she said. 'I should have retired two years ago but I didn't want to leave this wonderful place behind. Because I've been here so long I know everyone and it's like having an extended family.

'I'll be in the shop and I've got the fabulous view of the river and the old building and if I'm in the cafe I can look out over the walled garden. It's absolutely terrific.Why would you want to be anywhere else? Barrowford is a fantastic community where everyone knows you and looks out for one another. It has a huge history, people can come and
learn all about it at the museum.'

Next to the Heritage Centre, owned by Heritage Trust North West, is Barrowford Park donated to the people of the village by two local cotton magnates, Sam Holden and John Dixon. Cotton played a huge part of the village's history.Today the park has a bowling green, a duck pond and a recently refurbished children's play area and is a popular spot for enjoying a walk or for families feeding the ducks.

This small Lancashire village is as much as gem for people around the world as it is for its Lancashire locals. People from across the globe make pilgrimage to this gorgeous part of the county. Suzanne Beresford, gallery manager of the Pendle Arts Gallery, said it was common for people from Canada, New Zealand and Australia to revisit their Lancashire roots.

'It tends to be the families that moved out to these countries on 10 tickets many years ago,' she explained. 'They will be keen to keep their Barrowford link or their families want to come and see where their relatives grew up. The local artwork is popular - people can take home something to remind them of home.'

Art plays a big part of the community. Suzanne, who is a mixed media artist and photographer, is responsible for sourcing artists who supply work for the exhibition space. Many local artists are featured including Donald Holden, one of the founding members of the gallery. For Suzanne, a former art teacher who also had an exhibition of her photographs of local scenes shown in an exhibition at Towneley Hall, it is all about raising the profile of the village's art scene.

'We get some excellent artists showing their work here,' she said. 'We have Royal College of Art graduates, artists who create stunning pieces of work using unusual materials like felt, and we also have work by a renowned wildlife artist, David Binns.

'There is something for everyone and all budgets. I'm hoping that we will be able to do more to get children interested. One little girl came in here last week and said she was bored. By the end she was skipping around and enjoying herself. That's how it should be.'

Artists have taken up residence in units at Higherford Mill, a former mill featured on BBC programme, Restoration. The units were created for fledgling arts, crafts and graphics businesses in former weaving sheds at Higherford Mill and soon changes will be made to improve the ground floor reception and gallery.

Suzanne said: 'It's fantastic that we have all of these creative people in such a small place'.

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