Wednesday, 9 November 2011


On Saturday we went to Wycoller on Sal's suggestion as it wasn't too far to travel. I was working the night shift so a drive into the Dales was out of the question. Anyway I had never been before and had only looked down on it from the Haworth to Colne road, so this made a nice change. It's a bit finicky to get to which I suppose is a good thing really as it keeps the visitors down, in fact I was quite surprised how quiet it was. Another factor could have been that the carpark was about half a mile from the village, people tend to stay away if it isn't on the doorstep.

Wycoller derives it's name from the Anglo Saxon Wic-Alr, meaning dairy farm among the alder trees. From the 15th century the Wycoller area was a sheep farming and weaving community, but the invention of power looms eventually led to the village's decline. In the 1890s there were plans to create a reservoir by damming Wycoller Beck, but the plan never materialized.

Wycoller Hall which is in ruins now, is thought to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in the novel Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Bronte who lived only a few miles away in Haworth.

Seven bridges cross Wycoller Beck. The three in the village are the Pack-Horse Bridge, a twin arched bridge which may have originated almost 800 years ago, but has been reconstructed over the centuries. Sally Owen, mother of Wycoller's last squire has led to the bridge's alternative name - Sally's Bridge.

Clapper Bridge which is close to the ruins of Wycoller Hall and probably dates from the late 18th or early 19th century and Clam Bridge is possibly more than 1000 years old and is listed as an Ancient Monument. It is a single slab laid across Wycoller Beck and once had a handrail.

It is certainly a picturesque little spot surrounded by woodlands and is a walkers paradise with many paths and bridleway leading to and from the village. Sal told me that the Peninne Way  ran only a few miles out of the village at Pondon. We explored and took photos of the ruined Wycoller Hall and had a look around the The Aisled Barn Visitor Centre which was very interesting and had an amazing wooden roof. One of the houses in the village had a pair of the largest St Bernard's dogs I think I've ever seen. They were bloody huge, I wouldn't fancy having to shell out on their food bill.

To round the visit off nicely we went into the Wycoller Craft Centre and tearooms for  a natter and some refreshments and Sal bought yet another mug and various pieces of tat.

We then drove to 'The Atom' - a panopticon located high above the valley on the Haworth Road. A panopticon is a structure, space or device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view which in this case was a view of the beautiful countryside of The Forest of Trawden and Pendle Hill. 

It was then just a short drive to our final destination, The Grouse Inn near Oakworth. We promised we would go back here for a meal as the menu looked just up our street and the smells coming from the kitchen were absolutely divine. Unfortunately we didn't have the time as I was working nights so I settled for a pint on Landlord which was perfectly pulled and Sal had her customary pint of cider.

To cap off a lovely afternoon we sat in the car and watched a beautiful sunset.

Sal getting a close-up

Sal on Pack Horse Bridge

Pack Horse Bridge

Sal in Wycoller Village

Wycoller Hall

Wycoller Hall

Wycoller Hall Information Board

Clapper Bridge

Clapper Bridge

Aisled Barn Roof

Clapper and Pack Horse bridge

Wycoller Doorway

Wycoller valley

Pendle Hill through the Atom

The Atom.

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...