Blackburn and Burnley are home to some of the most stimulating and intriguing walking spots, given over to local access and popularity. Routes here cater to the traditional, with acres of rural land available to scour, roam and forage through, but they also fulfil that need for something more, sometimes offering edge and eminence to otherwise typical and unexceptional participation afoot.
Pendle Hill is perhaps the most unconventional and rare experience in the area. The site is famed for its notorious witch trials, traceable as far back as 1612. Pendle Witches were executed here, for their practice, and the land, from it, has taken on new connotation. The landscape here speaks a language, and that language is one of mystery, intrigue and slightly sinister significance. It’s something the environment itself seems to pick up on, creating, overall, a space to walk in which is full of wonder and subtle allurement, credibly verifying what an environment can come to mean to us, personally, and to society, as a collective.
Bringing the community together is a value inherent to much of the local conditions here, both rural and urban alike. It’s a sentiment that’s built into the town’s cultural spaces, in particular, with many of their foundations originating out of a desire to connect and unify the local people. Walkers not wanting to stray too far can explore Blackburn Open Walls and Prism Contemporary. Both are arts venues centrally located, and suitably curated for a leisurely intake of exhibitions, where an array of artists, represented by the firm, are on display, be it contemporary or historical. For a complete update on the latter, The Weavers’ Triangle is the place to head, offering an outside space to hike through, along the canal, as well as an informative selection of building relics, leftover from the cotton trade, along the way.
For those craving a great escape, though, Gawthorpe Hall and the Stubbins Wall or Burnley’s Singing Ringing Tree each proffer an exclusive escape, with ample grounds for a sufficient walk or a slow stroll, depending on what takes your fancy. They’re both designed beautifully, with cultivated plants, gardens, wild foliage and forestry to brag of, providing an instant retreat. It’s Rowley Lake, though, that offers the truest and simplest getaway into nature. Naive in comparison, the site brags nothing more than a lake, rows of trees and a circular pathway, but the result is nothing short of elaborate. It’s a sight, and the views are well worth taking the traipse out of town to witness.
The key to walking this area is to be open-minded. There’s much on offer, which means there’s much to take in, too, and the walker who gets the most out of the ground here is the walker who is not opposed to remaining adjustable, willing to be formed and impressed upon by the lithe and pliant outside. Walking here is a communal act, too, but with enough space for the solitary saunterer, with the focus, again, being on being closed-off, but never fully, always aware and awake to how the landscape has changed, and is, still, changing.