Burnley Things to Do

  • Cliviger towards Holme Chapel. Photo LCC
    Cliviger towards Holme Chapel. Photo LCC
    by MartinSelway
  • Cliviger Windfarm
    Cliviger Windfarm
    by MartinSelway
  • Leeds Liverpool Canal
    Leeds Liverpool Canal
    by MartinSelway

Most Recent Things to Do in Burnley

  • Straight Mile (almost)

    by MartinSelway Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Leeds Liverpool Canal

    The canal passing through the town includes the 'Straight Mile' a stretch which carries it 60 ft above the town and is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the British waterways system.

    Straight it is - it was built up on an embankment, but a mile it aint.

    The 127-mile long Leeds and Liverpool Canal is thought by many to be the finest in England, with spectacular Pennine views, fascinating staircases of locks and the sturdy architecture of mills, warehouses and cottages.

    Constructed between 1770 and 1816 it rapidly became one of the most prosperous canals in the country and played a major part in bringing industry to the towns through which it passed.

    The Burnley section, which includes the ‘Straight Mile’ – the impressive embankment that carries the canal 60 feet above the town, the 559-yard Gannow Tunnel and the Yorkshire Street ‘Culvert’, was one of the most difficult sections to construct. However, it created wealth in the town and provided the much-needed link with the great cities of Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Pendle Hill

    by MartinSelway Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The approach to Pendle Hill

    The view of Pendle Hill dominates the local landscape (except when it's raining!). On a clear day it looks very close, but it's a short drive away and you get great views from the top.

    We decided to go for a walk up there in Jan 2003 when there was a bit of snow on the ground. One of the quickest ways up is to park on the country road and head up the well-trodden path (you can see more pictures under the Travelogue for Pendle Hill).

    The hill is mostly famous because of the legend of the Lancashire Witches. It was during the reign of King James I that the events took place. Mother Demdike and Mother Chattox, two old women living beneath Pendle Hill, were accused of witchcraft and were sent to Lancaster Castle for trial. On Good Friday, 1612, twenty local people met to plot a raid on the Castle, intending to blow it up, kill the keeper and free the women. But as more investigations were made, additional confessions of witchcraft were collected and more prisoners were sent to Lancaster Assizes.

    The accounts of the trial were written in great detail, and record the shouted curses, betrayals and confessions of the most unsavoury rituals and murders by witchcraft.

    The witches were all found guilty, and were hanged in Lancaster, in front of huge crowds, on August 20th, 1612. The accounts of the trial of the Pendle Witches, together with the book written by King James 1 "Daemonologie" (which suggests techniques for finding evidence of witchcraft), became the basis of the career taken by Matthew Hopkins, a dreaded figure better known as the Witchfinder General. He and his assistants made a living by 'uncovering' witches and he arrested over 120 before he died in 1646.

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    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Windmills

    by MartinSelway Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Cliviger Windfarm

    In 1992 Coal Clough Windfarm was erected by Mc Alpines which provides clean electricity for around 6000 Burnley homes. There is a visitors car park on the long causeway above Burnley where you can see for yourself one of the UK's first commercial wind farms in operation.

    The 24 wind turbines are open to visitors, car parking available. You will be amazed how large they are close up.

    When they were first erected it was in the face of considerable local opposition. Now they are considered quite a feature of the skyline above Burnley, and the Parish Council even went to speak in favour of a similar project planned for nearby at the Public Enquiry.

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  • Forest of Burnley

    by MartinSelway Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Burnley Woodland

    The Millennium Commission gave Burnley 1.8 million quid to undertake a massive tree-planting scheme. The plan was to plant one million trees in and around Burnley.

    As such, the 'Forest' is a virtual forest because it is not just in one place. It is made up of planting 500 hectares of new woodlands, restoring 200 hectares of neglected woodland, and planting 2000 specimen trees throughout the town.

    It's a great idea, and something very worthwhile. However, all has not been plain sailing! North West Water were to have allowed a massive planting scheme on their land but various groups objected that this would remove valuable bare moorland used by various animals and birds for breeding - so the scheme never quite met it's targets.

    Nevertheless, the programme over the past six years has led to three quarters of a million trees being planted, 18 miles of new footpaths opened and the doubling of the borough's woodland area. Quite an achievement.

    You can experience some of the woodland planting areas at the reservoirs at Dunnockshaw, Hurstwood and Cant Clough.

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  • Towneley Hall

    by MartinSelway Updated Sep 11, 2007

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    Towneley Hall, Burnley

    Towneley Hall was the home of the Towneley family from the 14th century until 1902, when the house and park were purchased from Lady O’Hagan by Burnley Corporation for use as an art gallery and museum.

    The Hall is full of period rooms and exhibitions, but best of all it is FREE, which is a rarity these days (update: now only free to Burnley residents, charge to others).

    My tips.
    1) Go for a walk around the trails in the wooded grounds and spot the various wooden sculptures that have been commissioned over recent years (also very popular with squirrels, so take some nuts).

    2) If you have children they will love the nearby playground, which is 1st class. It has lots of interesting and interactive toys for them like a sandpit with scoop, winch and pulley, and wind chimes – as well as the usual adventure playground equipment.

    3) Visit the gallery on the top floor to see Joseph Farquharson’s The Sun had closed the winter's day painting – one of the most reproduced paintings for Christmas cards ever.

    4) Pop into The Stables café just outside for a cup of tea.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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  • Thompson's Park

    by MartinSelway Written Oct 17, 2004

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    Thomson Park, Burnley (c) LCC

    A formal Edwardian urban park. Retains most original features: boating lake, Italian gardens, Ranger centre, and playground. Won a Green Flag award in 1999 and retained it for following 2 years.

    One of the many fine parks in Burnley. For a town of its size Burnley has more parks, and of a better standard, than you might expect.

    Others worthy of mention are Queens Park, Scott Park, Padiham Memorial Park.

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  • Weavers' Triangle

    by MartinSelway Written Oct 17, 2004

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    Weavers Triangle, Burnley

    Intersected by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal the Weavers’ Triangle is one of the finest examples of a Victorian industrial landscape still in existence. Dating from the time when Burnley led the way in the production of cotton cloth, a walk along the canal bank will give you the chance to step back in time.

    The visitor’s centre in the canal toll office and Wharfmaster’s house will tell you all about the cotton industry, the Weavers’ Triangle and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and on several times throughout the summer offers guided walks around the area.

    If your not interested in the industrial past, then this one is not for you as it may well resemble a bunch of derelict buildings!

    Opening Times:
    Easter – September: Sat – Tue 2pm – 4.pm
    October: Sundays only 2pm – 4.pm

    The place is run by an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers as a charity. There is no admisson charge, but donations are welcome.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology

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  • Cliviger & Holme Chapel

    by MartinSelway Updated Dec 20, 2003

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    Cliviger towards Holme Chapel. Photo LCC

    This is my home village.

    This unspoilt village is situated in the beautiful Cliviger Gorge three miles south east of Burnley on the A646. The church is of particular interest, built by Thomas Dunham Whitaker in 1794 it is the burial place of several notable Burnley people, including General Scarlett . Whitaker was also a great naturalist and planted over 40,000 trees in the area, his work was the inspiration for the Forest of Burnley. The woods at Holme Chapel are an excellent area for walking and also provide access to the Mary Towneley Loop and the rest of the Pennine Bridleway.

    For those with an interest in industrial archaeology there are all the clues to be found pointing to the past industries of coal, lead and limestone.

    For those simply in search of a pint there are several to choose from, but the Ram Inn takes some beating. If yo are calling at the Ram, check out the old village stocks across the road in a small enclosure next to the entrance to St John's Church.

    [For more photos see Cliviger travelogue]

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  • Queen Street Textile Museum

    by MartinSelway Written Dec 20, 2003

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    Weaving Shed

    This one is for the museum buffs out there.

    Queen Street Textile Museum is a unique survivor of the nineteenth century textile industry. Recognised as a national treasure and designated as part of the textile industrial collections of Lancashire County Museum Service Queen Street Textile Museum preserves an age now gone from Europe. This mill was a workers co-operative, which ran commercially from 1895 to 1982 when the mill became a museum. The 500 horsepower tandem compound steam engine Peace, with its impressive 14ft (4 metres) flywheel powering the weaving shed now containing 308 Lancashire Looms. The Lancashire Boilers that power Peace with steam are original to the mill. Queen Street Textile Museum shows through machinery the story of weaving from spun yarn processing to woven cloth, through a Cylinder Tape Sizing machine, drawing-in frames and the weaving shed. The engine powers the machinery every day the museum is open. Queen Street Textile Museum has a range of special events, programmes, activities and exhibitions throughout the year.

    The noise from the looms was deafening and workers had to lip read and use sign language to communicate.

    The Mill employs some of the original workers to explian and demonstrate the weaving process. Allow about an hour for a visit.

    There is a Weavers Rest Cafe for drinks and light snacks.

    A shop sells gifts including textiles, fabrics and books.

    Opening times are:
    Closed all day Sun & Mon
    May to Sep 12 noon - 5pm
    Apr to Oct 12 noon - 5pm (except Sat)
    Mar to Nov 12 noon - 4pm (Tue/Wed/Thr only)
    Open BH Sun & Mon.

    Admission is £2.50 adults, Children free, Concessions £1.25.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Rourke's Forge

    by MartinSelway Written Nov 29, 2003

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    Roukes Forge Showroom

    If you like wrought ironwork, then this place will capture your imagination - if you don't, then give it a miss!

    Rourke's Forge has produced some of the best and most famous wrought ironwork in Britain e.g. Paisley Gates, Liverpool Football Club, and have exported their work all over the world as their reputation has grown.

    Their large showrooms have a vast variety of top quality work on display, from very large gates down to individual pieces like candle sticks and dog grates.

    By appointment or at special openings you can watch the blacksmiths at work.

    Their work is truly fantastic, but quality does not come cheap!

    Open Mon-Thr 8am to 5pm, Fri & Sat 8am to 4pm.

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  • Thieveley Scout

    by MartinSelway Written Nov 23, 2003

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    Thieveley Scout

    This is a great place for a walk. The best place to start is the Ram Inn car park (see food tips for details).

    The area around Thieveley Scout by Thieveley Farm was a popular Victorian Picnic site in the 1920's. The climb up to the Scout is an interesting one via "Jacob's Ladder" - a series of well known steps cut. The route passes by Holme Hall, the local residence of the Whitaker Family. Dr. Whitaker was a local celebrated historian. The final climb up to Thieveley Farm rewards you with a wonderful view of the Burnley / Pendle countryside and of course the Cliviger Valley. The farm itself was demolished in 1976.

    The knoll behind the farm ruins is called Dean Scout. The notable rock formation outcropping on the Scout is Beacon Rock. It is here that shafts of the Thieveley Lead Mine were situated. The Lead Mine has a particularly interesting history. It was indeed work unsuccessfully for King Charles I from 1629 - 1635, and again by a private company in 1754.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Gawthorpe Hall

    by MartinSelway Updated Oct 19, 2003

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    Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham (photo LCC)

    A National Trust property, this Jacobean manor house is set in a green oasis of gardens and woodland on the banks of the River Calder. The hall is home to the world famous Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth collections of lace, embroidery and costumes, has civil war connections and was visited several times by Charlotte Bronte, who was a friend of the Kay- Shuttleworth family. The Great Barn has recently been restored to its former glory and is available as a performance space or to hire for special occasions including wedding ceremonies for which they have a civil licence.
    Opening Times:
    Easter – Oct 1pm – 5pm (except Mon & Fri)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits

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Burnley Things to Do

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