Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Boff Whalley brought the brilliantly subversive Commoners Choir to Brierfield Mill for a very special #BannerCulture Sunday. Now this erstwhile stalwart of Chimp Eats Banana and Chumbawamba joins two collaborators in a brand new project for #PendleRadicals. Together they look back to a time of creative ferment around the Pendle Hill area in the lastest #PendleRadicals blog. We can’t wait…

Sick of Being Normal!

Pendle Punk 40 Years On
Three of us – myself, Sage and Casey Orr – have spent the last few months talking to various people from all over England whose lives were changed by being part of the punk community in and around the Pendle Hill / East Lancashire area in the late 1970s. We’ve set a date for an exhibition and event in Colne in early February (more details soon) and it looks like the exhibition, publication and various discussions will carry on after the opening, over in That 0282 Place in Burnley Central Library. Here’s the background to the project.

When Sex Pistols burst onto British national TV in 1977, they set off an explosion of ideas that would, within the next three years, create a generation of thinkers, do-ers and makers. Taking the best principles of hippy – do-it-yourself, question authority, find an alternative – and aligning them with the chaotic spirit of 1968’s legacy of cultural, political and social revolution, punk reacted against the austere 1970s that ushered in Thatcher and instead created new and vibrant communities around its music, its literature and its style. Nowhere was this more evident than in the East Lancs/Pendle punk scene, which became a hotbed of invigorating cultural activism through its self-produced fanzines, its bands and its communally-run venues creating a region-wide community of people – many of them not much more than kids – who were able to seize their moment and, in doing so, change their own lives forever.

Much of the retrospective literature of punk, written as history by London-centric music journalists, likes to claim that by 1979 punk had burned itself out; what they miss is a nationwide blaze of energy that was ignited from that initial Clash/Pistols spark and took hold in towns and villages across the land. I grew up in Burnley, where as 14 and 15 year-olds we had secondary modern schools, growing unemployment and a second-division football team. Older kids at school played prog rock albums and the youth clubs were run by scout leaders and Methodist groups.

As kids we knew about the hippies and freaks who lived on the old council rubbish tip near Queen’s Park – we loved their huge bonfires and mad carnivals and processions. They were the inspirational Welfare State International, and when they left the town (1978) we turned back to our TV sets, where Granada’s Tony Wilson gave Sex Pistols their first airing. Johnny Rotten’s first words on that September early-evening family show were “Get off your aaaaarrrrsssse!”. In effect, this is exactly what thousands of young people from all over Granadaland did – we created our own world of noise and colour, frank and outspoken, and made things happen. Taking over Welfare State’s vacated building, bands formed and rehearsed. Mid Pennine Arts, with its photocopier and enthusiastic and encouraging staff, became a hub of fanzine-making. Local people went from pub to pub starting up venues, creating gig collectives that shared out performance dates among all the newly-rehearsed bands. As well as Mid Pennine Arts there were various local political groups and Colne’s Youth Theatre that actively supported this outburst of activity, along with the impact of national organisations like Rock Against Racism, that compounded the progressive ideas within this growing subculture.

By 1979 this ad-hoc, disorganised community had established itself not just as part of the local arts community but as a radical and dissenting voice in the region. Front page headlines in the local press were commonplace (MP Slams Obscene Punk Magazine!) and in early 1980, TV presenter Bob Greaves came over from Manchester to make a 30-minute TV documentary about this remarkable regional scene.

Now 40 years on, what is most notable about that time and place – stretching across from Accrington to Colne and from Pendle down to Rossendale – is that so many of the people who were part of that community of modern-day dissenters didn’t disappear into middle-aged anonymity but instead took the core values of punk and applied them to their everyday lives. Core values not of dyed, spiked hair and trousers full of straps and buckles but of fierce individualism, social responsibility, anger at inequality and a willingness to speak out.

Photographer Daniel Meadows, who worked extensively in the area in the mid-1970s, is famous for his work where he revisited the people he photographed decades earlier and let us see how much people had changed.  What ‘Sick Of Being Normal!’ will look at is how the characters in that East Lancs punk episode have changed and learned, how much they use that important time as a yardstick for how they live now, how their lives back then as active, creative, communal kids informs their decisions today.

Some time late last year – 2018 – we found out about Mid-Pennine’s ‘Pendle Radicals’ series, looking at the history of radical ideas in the East Lancs area, from Chartists to Suffragettes to Union organisers. It seemed like the punks of the late 1970s fit into this great history of mavericks and campaigners, both by challenging the cultural norms of the day and by creating a powerful and progressive community that sprang from the people, not from above. Mid Pennine Arts agreed, and invited us to gather ideas, stories and images that celebrate that particular time and place.

To this end we’re planning a publication and exhibition based on interviews with those characters and illustrated by present-day large-scale photographic portraits set alongside sourced photographs of them from around 1979/80. The photographs will inform the text and vice versa. It won’t just be a record of a particular time, but a way of looking at how that cultural hotspot changed people’s lives forever – looking at what exactly the ex-punks are doing now that is still informed by the local and national events of 1979/80.

We will gather artefacts and memorabilia, fanzines and posters, play the music of the time, show films taken at the time in the area (there’s a lot of fascinating but little-seen footage of bands and audiences at Colne’s Union Hotel and Rossendale’s Deeply Vale Festival). There’ll be a newspaper/fanzine styled publication with an extensive essay (how that gathering of nonconformists fits in with the area’s history of radicalism, from suffragettes, socialists and Clarion Clubs to Welfare State and Theatremobile) alongside the photographic portraits. The paper will be free. We will host a talk on the impact of those years on its local players. The opening of the exhibition will be a night of varied and diverse music and film. We want to echo the unconventional creativity of those times by creating something unexpected, an East Lancs celebration of how culture can change people and in turn how people can change culture.

‘Sick of Being Normal!’ was the name of one of local band Notsensibles’ songs, a song that resonated in this region-wide community of disaffected teenagers. The answer to that cry of nonconformity wasn’t inward-looking nihilism or cynicism but a flowering of creativity and energy. For many of the people involved, that energy never went away, and that’s what this exhibition / publication will explore and celebrate.

Boff Whalley, Casey Orr, Stephen Hartley, November 2019
With thanks to Nick Hunt at MPA and Jamie Cunningham at That 0282 Place

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Gatherings. What it's all about...

The touring mobile hut is becoming a locally recognised symbol of The Gatherings. We thought it was time to recap on what it’s all about….

Corky? Jabba? Hutty McHut Face?... Whatever name you would give to it, the hut has been travelling around Pendle all summer and now into autumn, meeting people who live in the towns and villages that circle Pendle Hill, enabling conversations in and about the area and showing work by artists and projects that are currently underway, all connected to the Hill.
The hut was commissioned by In-Situ and designed and made by artist and architect Nick Wood of How About? Studio. The initial idea to create a mobile space that could travel around Pendle was inspired by they history of the area, from the itinerary of the early Quakers, as they moved through Pennine Lancashire in the 1760s to the Clarion Huts which toured this area preaching the early message of socialism, and also shepherds huts that reflect the position of humans working in the landscape.

The finished Pendle Mobile Hut

Cutting a distinct shape against a rapid changing sky, its textured brown cork surface representing the rugged peat on Pendle Hill; this mini, mobile Pendle Hill reminds us not only of the fixed (yet not static), dominating presence of its name sake, but also of the way the hill can be seen from so many of the surrounding locations and is an everyday focus that pops up daily in people’s conversations, views and memories. It is a marker of place, a carrier and witness to many personal and communal associations, shared histories and familiar folklore and cultural customs.

Pendle Mobile Hut in progress, courtesy Nick Wood 

The design of the hut evolved through series of consultations and research visits and also out of early scoping that In-Situ had done with students at Manchester School of Architecture. When Nick travelled to the area to research the design, he visited local craftspeople, manufacturers, museums and archives to find out about local materials, colours, techniques to plot the visual elements to capture the essence of Pendle Hill in a tow-able form. The hut will be on the road for the next 3 years, to be a base for artist residencies and the teams working around the hill to spread the word about their activities and to engage with local people and visitors.

Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth, Courtesy Reece Straw 

What is The Gatherings? 

The Gatherings is the arts and people strand of the £2.4m Heritage Lottery Funded scheme, Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, which is managed by Forest of Bowland AONB.
The Gatherings came about because of the recognition for the need to open up access to the the Pendle Hill Landscape and introduce artists and creative processes to explore the hill and its past, its ecosystems and the way people connect with it. As In-Situ, we are able to bring to the project our experience of working with people in place connecting people and re-positioning how we experience a place through art or artists interventions and processes, which often involve conversation, listening and working in response to these.
Through The Gatherings we are aiming to find longer term approaches and collaborations with artists and embedding artists into longer term programmes. Through differences in the way we commission artists, support the artistic process and encourage a slower, more embedded way of working in place, we are challenging the traditional ways that artists are commissioned to work in the landscape.
Rather than bring something to a place and say “this is art”, we aim to find better or more embedded ways to work with artists in the landscape that lead to more unexpected, subtle or meaningful interventions - and there is likely not be a visible permanent end result. This is challenging because it involves risk on both sides, as it is not always clear what the result or methods will be from the outset, and is a slow process involving investment of time in getting many people on board and talking and revising, honing ideas in a collaborative way.

Pendle Peat Pie 

Pendle Peat Pud

As we continue to work on The Gatherings for the next three years, we are interested in finding more extended ways of working in an interdisciplinary way, recognising the crossover in working processes between artists, ecologists and archaeologists. We also recognise the very real benefit of working outside of your own area, to enriched the conversation, pool knowledge and challenge ourselves to think beyond the obvious. By continuing to develop working in this way we aim to find more effective ways to explore our shared interest in the Pendle Hill landscape.

A few recent projects

Pendle Peat Pie- a culinary dish inspired by the peat restoration on Pendle Hill and to spread the word through food about the importance of peat
Embedding Artists into Landscape Projects- a symposium for artists and commissioning organisations about alternative collaborative approaches
Beyond the Dig- artist duo devise outdoor activities for children and young people exploring ‘What is an archaeologist in 2019?’
Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth- a mobile micro opera created in response to a residency on an archaeological dig at Malkin Tower Farm.

What is an Archaeologist in 2019? Courtesy Lunchtime Practice

Since 2017, In-Situ has been working with Forest of Bowland AONB on the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership. We deliver ‘The Gatherings’ strand of this £2.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded Project, which is part funded by Arts Council England. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

My year as the Graduate Trainee

Jessie, 2018-2019 Graduate Trainee for Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership

I don’t have long until my contract with the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership is up, and what a year it has been! I have been the graduate trainee working on the Traditional Boundaries Project.

When I started, this project had hardly been touched and my first task was to produce a GIS map with some hedgerow and dry stone wall boundary data that was collected in 2016. This was a challenge in itself as I had forgotten how to use GIS after university!  It was a great excuse to learn more though and I have continued to use these skills throughout the year.
I went out visiting 25 different farms across the area, all part of the PHLP Farmer Network Group, to discuss hedgerows and walls. This was all new to me, and so I was a bit nervous at first, but after the first few farms I was happy to have a brew and discuss what the farmers want restoring. Our Traditional Boundaries project aims to have a positive effect on landscape and Natural Flood Management but of course we also want any restoration work to be beneficial to the farm on a practical level.

After initial discussions I was able to develop the boundary maps and then spent a time visiting and assessing every single boundary (about 360 of them!) so that we can develop a list of boundaries which can be restored as part of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership.
I have also helped 2 farmers apply to Hedgerow and Boundary grant schemes, a different pot of funding which will be beneficial to boundaries of their choice.

My biggest achievement to date has to be the organisation and delivery of the Lancashire and Westmorland Bowland hedgelaying Competition in March. This is an annual competition which is held across the Forest of Bowland, and we decided this year to host somewhere around the Hill. I couldn't have done this without the help of Dave Padley, who organises the competition (competitors, judges and prizes). I then developed the event further by involving local businesses and the local church hall. There was stalls, cake, a guided walk and lots of local people! All the money raised went back into the Sabden village economy and all agreed it was a great success!

Competitors at the Bowland hedgelaying competition
Inside Sabdden Church hall for the hedgelaying competition. 

Through this event, and other activities, I found my new call to fame and was interviewed a few times on BBC Radio Lancashire. I also sent out press releases to try and tell more people about the amazing work I have been doing, plus writing blogs.

Through my role, I was also lucky enough to join in with some of the PHLP training opportunities. As well as the planning and overseeing, I have got stuck in with a number of beginners hedgelaying and walling courses and managed to improve my skills. In August, I was one of 8 participants who passed their Level 1 Dry Stone Walling test (after 10 days of training in all weathers!).

We still have a few places on our next beginner's hedgelaying course at the beginning of October if you fancy it? Please get in touch via

Participants on the level 1 dry stone walling course. 

Dry stone walling course level 1.

Throughout the 12 months I have been lucky enough to meet some great people through our volunteering opportunities. I have been involved in planning and leading various volunteer tasks and have loved getting involved in the different conservation activities. We have just visited the Peak District with some of our volunteers to learn some new skills and to find out more about what the Dark Peak National Trust do.

Volunteers after Balsam pulling in Barley. 

Volunteers tree planting with the Ribble Rivers Trust

Participants on the hedge laying beginners course

The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership is led by the Forest of Bowland AONB, which is in turn part of the EUROPARC Federation. Through this link, I was lucky enough to head to a 4 day conference in Germany which was focused on young people and looking at more ways of getting more young people into nature conservation. The trip was really useful, and I learnt a lot and was able to network with people from across Europe.

In my last few weeks before I leave, I am finishing two main projects:

Over the past few months I have been developing a guided route around the Downham area, producing information to be collated into a leaflet focused on the traditional boundaries. I will be launching this with a guided walk on Thursday 3rd October 10am from Downham Car Park. It would be great if you wanted to join me for this scenic 4 mile walk, and I will be talking more about the walls and hedgerows which are so important in our landscape.

Some of the views from the new Traditional Boundaries Downham walk

Some of the views from the new Traditional Boundaries Downham walk

To leave my final mark, I will be arranging the installation of some stone waymarkers at various points on the Hill. I have developed the idea and design of these to reassure people they are heading in the right direction when they reach the top of the hill. We would always recommend taking a map whenever you go for a walk up the hill – but hopefully these signs can reassure your map reading skills!

Thank you to everyone in the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership team, I have thoroughly enjoyed this year working with you, and I have learnt so much which I can now use to progress on to the next step of my career.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

End of Archaeology Internship 2019...

Danielle has now finished her internship with us- here she reflects over the past 8 weeks!

So that just about wraps it up for me this summer. I finished up my placement by attending Clitheroe Food Festival dressed as a Roman, joining some great family events in Nelson and Brierfield, and my own (fully booked) event at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford. Thank you to everyone who came and I really hope you learned a lot about local archaeology and inspired a generation of new people to get into archaeology.

So, what was it all about?

My hopes for these sessions was to inspire interest in community archaeology, and hopefully break down the barriers that make it hard for people to get involved. I wanted to reach people of all ages and different backgrounds, and give them access to knowledge which will build their confidence and help them to feel comfortable exploring archaeology in the future.

My sessions were designed to show people there is more to archaeology than 'just digging', and that lots of different career backgrounds and skills are needed on an archaeological team. I did this by taking inspiration from different jobs and tasks that an archaeologist does, and reshape them into a fun, educational activity. I wanted to challenge preconceptions of archaeology and present it in a new way, proving that it is in fact a future-facing field which relies on, and encourages, public input.

For example, some of the sessions I delivered involved pottery and teaching participants how to make pinch pots and coil pots. These are techniques which have been used for thousands of years, and because many civilizations have created pottery, ceramic artefacts (or normally pieces of) make up a large percentage of artefacts found by archaeologists all over the world.

Other activities within some of the sessions included looking at how archaeologists interpret and read artefacts they find. We did this using our own rubbish and broken up pieces of modern pottery - no fancy archaeologist's technology, however the aims and engagement linked very strongly with how current archaeologists have to work.

I wanted to give people the opportunity to talk to professional and amateur archaeologists alike, and have sessions that involved the input of volunteers helping us put on the activities. Community archaeology aims to inspire people to find a place for them within archaeology, no matter their skills set, education, background or age.

I wanted to educate people about local heritage, build bridges between the past and today, and explain how archaeology is important in telling those stories and making those connections. I wanted to bring communities together under one share interest - archaeology.

Thank you very much to all the people who have participated in events, the volunteers who have helped out and the individuals who have worked with our sessions. I hope that those of you who did attend any of the sessions feel like you may want to get more involved in local archaeology or are more interested in the heritage of the Pendle Hill area.

If you are interested in getting more involved, the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership deliver a number of training events and volunteer opportunities through their Community Archaeology project. Call 01200 420 420 or email to find out more. We are also lucky enough to have different local history groups in the area, many of which organise a schedule of talks throughout the year - ask around your local village to find out more information. Pendle Archaeology Group are based from the Pendle Heritage Centre and they offer a number of walks and talks, as well as practical archaeology. Look at their website to find out more about how to become a member -

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Community Archaeology in Action!

Our archaeology intern, Danielle is in the last few weeks of her placement - and she has had a busy time so far! Here she talks about some of her community archaeology sessions:

I have been delivering sessions to groups from different community services from the local area. I spent a day at the lovely Clarion House in Roughlee taking Young Carers on an archaeological journey after they'd had a morning of minibeast hunting in the garden with Alison from Ernest Cook Trust. They made prehistoric-style pots, matched Roman emperors to their coins, identified an industrial era object from broken pieces, and interpreted a pile of modern rubbish!

I took my clay and twigs to Whitehough Outdoor Centre where a group of Adult Carers came to create their own Prehistoric Pottery, too. With the help of UCLan tutor, Rick Peterson (and despite the rain!) they created some really great pots and learned about local archaeology, what inspires people to get into archaeology, and opportunities to get involved in future community archaeology events.

I have also worked with two People Enjoying Nature groups to bring them activities which go 'beyond the trench', demonstrating the other side of archaeology which is not just digging. One group took part in the Uncovering Archaeology journey but with an added emphasis on how each individual activity aimed to demonstrate a different part of archaeological research. The others learned how to spot 'invisible archaeology' by walking in the footsteps of Romans on the Roman road in Downham Village and took part in a discussion about the lack of in-depth archaeological research in the area. They then took part in Prehistoric Pottery making (a kind of experimental archaeology) and sorted and cleaned some real finds from local farm, Gazegil Dairies. 

I also worked with the artists-in-residence at In-Situ, Lunchtime Practice, to provide the inspiration and information for a Beginners Guide to Archaeology, as well as a certificate which went along with the Uncovering Archaeology activity. These Beginners Guides will be handed out at all my events, as well as (hopefully!) future community archaeology events hosted by Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, and has a handy list on the back of local community projects and links to where people can find out about more Community Archaeology projects.

Into my final week now, and I have just one more session to deliver! Over the past few weeks we have been exploring 'What is Community Archaeology in 2019?' and 'What does an archaeologist look like?'. Through the sessions and guides we have created, I hopefully have shown people that there is a lot more to archaeology than just excavation, as well as how there are lots of different tools and technologies which are now used by different archaeologists. 

Please look out for my final blog post over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Danielle has joined us on an internship with UCLan. Follow her Community Archaeology Journey over the next few weeks...

For those of you who haven't heard, I am Danielle and this summer I have the privilege to work with the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership as a Community Archaeology Intern. I'm going into my third year studying for a Masters of Science in Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston having decided four years ago to change my career.

My role this summer involves planning activities and events around the Pendle Hill Landscape which explores the rich archaeological history of the area and highlight local opportunities for people to take part in community archaeology projects. With a focus on the locale and community involvement, I have been designing an array of different activities for different people to take part in.

With the help of Rebecca, the Community Archaeologist from NAA who works with Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, Jayne from PHLP, and Alison from The Ernest Cook Trust, I was able to run an event at Portfield Hillfort on private land near Whalley as my first venture into public outreach.

Three high schools from the local area came in a series of sessions where they were able to handle real archaeological artefacts, take part in discussions about archaeology and career opportunities, and even use an app on a tablet to map part of the fort itself and explore the methods and techniques archaeologists use to recognise and identify 'invisible' archaeology.

It was a great experience, and I would like to thank all the volunteers who came to assist to put on this event, and I would like to thank the landowners for being so accommodating and allowing us to spend a day and a half in their back garden on one of the oldest known archaeological sites in Lancashire!

Over the next few weeks we will be hosting some more outreach sessions, introducing as many different local people to archaeology and showing that there is more to archaeology than just digging! Look out for us at the Clitheroe Food Festival on 10th August, and at the Pendle Parks Summer series events on 12th and 14th August. 

Stay tuned for more over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

This month's blog is by Faye Weatherall who has been working with Mid Pennine Arts who run our very successful Pendle Radicals project as part of the landscape partnership. 

Thank you Mid Pennine Arts!

Today is my last day volunteering at Mid Pennine Arts, having taken on the role as Project Assistant a year ago today in order to complete a year in Industry as part of my Art and Design degree at the University of Leeds, I just want to say a massive thank you to Mid Pennine Arts for such an amazing and worthwhile year!

I have absolutely loved being a part of the MPA team this last year, working with such lovely people who are all so amazing at what they do has been very special.
When I applied to extend my degree to four years at University so that I could complete a year in industry I never imagined that I would get so much out of it! 
Thank you for giving me so much confidence in what I enjoy doing.

I remember sitting down with Nick (Creative Director) during my first couple of months and speaking about what it was that I wanted to achieve whilst working at Mid Pennine Arts. 
After helping artist Cath Ford a few weeks prior, running some primary schools workshops, I said that by the end of my placement I wanted to be running such sessions myself and to have brought something new to MPA. Thanks to the brilliant team who have given me lots of responsibility and trust I have been able to achieve this.

Over the past few weeks for example I have been running my own project ‘Banners, Protests and Campaigning with a group of high school pupils and this week we celebrated their hard work with their own pop up exhibition. It was lovely to see the girls faces when they saw their work displayed and being viewed by members of the public, they have worked so hard and have listened so amazingly to the advice and support I have given them.

Helping out with this years Todmorden Treat, artist Cath Ford gave me the confidence to lead several sessions. Hearing and seeing the children really enjoy the sessions I was delivering was great, and I felt so confident interacting with them and helping them with what they were doing.

There have been many more highlights: Working alongside the brilliant Spodden Valley Revealed project manager Diana Hamilton in order to organise several events and seeing my proposal for ‘Character bags’ come to life has exceeded my expectations of what I would be doing as an intern. 
Helping to organise a very successful and sunny Burnley Canal Festival, embarking on various research trips and helping to source material for a huge exhibition which will be a part of the British Textiles Biennial. 
I was also really happy to be asked to work with the lovely Greenways Project Manager Shonagh Short to interview artists for a new commission. Working with such a range of partners and community members has been so valuable.

My time at Mid Pennine Arts has also encouraged me to take on further volunteering at a local women’s refuge, I feel so lucky to have had this experience and work with such strong and inspiring women.
I could continue on about all of the other fabulous things I have been involved in and the opportunities I have been given, but more importantly I want to say a massive thank you to everybody at Mid Pennine Arts and everybody else I have worked with, for making this my best year yet! 
A special thank you of course to Nick and Melanie for being fantastic hosts, it has been brilliant to work alongside you both and despite being dressed as an explorer many times I still want to work in the Arts!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

A view from Downham

By Hon R.C. Assheton, chair of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership

After the years of planning, discussion, form filling (and occasional disappointments), it is fantastic that the PHLP has got off to such a flying start in its first year. I will not attempt to go through all the projects that have gone on, as Cathy and her team have produced regular reports for the HLF and you can access them at here if you want more detail. I will just touch on a few things that have enthused me.

Pendle Hill itself was always going to be a prime focus for works, with the benefits and projects rippling out from there. Therefore the improvements to the “Cart Track” route to the summit, the ancillary works to the paths leading up to the Trig point and the peat restoration have been an impressive start and an emphatic demonstration that something is happening at last.

Having, for years, been one of those who looks at Pendle every day, but hardly ever climbs it, I seem to have been up at least once each month for the last year. Not being a great fan of steps, I think that the repaired Cart Track is a great improvement. 

You can stride (or tiptoe) as you please, with plenty of room to walk as a pair and pass others easily

The new stone shelter in the wall near the summit is a blessing to the unfit such as me!
The drainage bars work well (I have been up in storms to check), so there is no longer a river on the path to contend with on rainy days. The restored peat is already looking natural once more and will only improve with another year’s growth.

Drainage bar on the cart track

Being a tree enthusiast, I am very happy that the WINNS project has been able to plant so many trees in new woods around the flanks of the hill. Although it is a sometimes depressing time to be a tree grower as diseases seem to try to kill every species, it is a joy to see so many varied native trees being planted for future generations to enjoy.

The 'Big Tree Plant' 2018, at Swardean Clough

I was fascinated to visit the “Malkin Tower” archaeological dig last summer. The fact that it was possible to find traces of habitation from four hundred years ago seems incredible, as was the fact that students from the USA wanted to come to sunny Lancashire to spend their vacation.

The PHLP Board members visit Malkin Tower, Summer 2018

A chance conversation I had two years ago with the CEO of The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT) has led to the appointment of Alison Cross as an ECT funded Education Officer for the PHLP. Though this was not in the original plans presented to the HLF, the fact that the ECT wanted to join the partnership has been a wonderful boost and has added a huge amount to the value of a number of the projects in the Scheme.

All in all the first year has been a great success. Well done team!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Digging up Pendle Hill's Past

The community archaeology project in the Pendle Hill LP is now well underway with plenty of people involved and lots of ideas suggested about what we could do in the upcoming years. This work is being led by Northern Archaeological Associates’ ( Community and Outreach Officer, Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons, who is working as our Community Archaeology Co-ordinator.

Part of the project is a series of training workshops for local volunteers to take part in and learn key archaeological skills and techniques. Five workshops have been run this year, focusing on finds identification, geophysical survey, archiving and desk-based research, LiDAR interpretation, and how to plan and run a community archaeology project.
Volunteers have been able to try their hand at identifying different types of 'finds' that are commonly found in archaeological excavations, and also at reconstructing broken pots from fragments of pottery.

They have also used geophysical survey equipment to investigate how different features would show up in the results. During the LiDAR and desk-based research workshops they were shown what resources are available to them for free, both locally and online, that can aid their investigations of local archaeology.

Finally, the volunteers brought their ideas for possible community archaeology projects together and learned how they might be able to turn those into real projects and what steps they would need to go through to complete this.

The attendance at all these workshops was excellent and volunteers brought along their own ideas and suggestions of what work could be undertaken within the Landscape Partnership area. We are hoping that these training workshops will equip people with the skills and knowledge to start planning their own small-scale archaeological research projects.

By giving local individuals and groups the skills to run these projects themselves, we are optimistic that the legacy of community archaeology within Pendle Hill will continue and expand beyond the life of the Landscape Partnership. 

In addition to the training workshops, we also ran two open days during the excavations at Malkin Tower Farm, by UCLan in summer 2018. During one of these days, volunteers were given the opportunity to have a go at archaeological excavation. Students taught the attendees what they had learned about excavating and recording, as well as being able to show off what they had found so far. The second open day saw groups of interested locals being given tours of the site at the end of the excavation. This allowed people to see the progress that had been made before it was all covered over again. 

This is just the start though; there is lots more community archaeology to come within the Landscape Partnership.

On Tuesday the 23rd April 2019, we will be holding an Archaeology Forum that will feature talks and displays about all the archaeological work currently being undertaken in the area, as well as information about how you can get involved. This will be held at Clitheroe Castle Museum and is free for everyone to attend. We will also be running more training sessions in the upcoming year, featuring topics such as archaeological landscape survey and how to use software called QGIS (a very important tool in recording and reporting on archaeology). If you would like to find out more about these events, or for information on how you can get involved, please email Jayne Ashe (

We are really looking forward to the coming year of community archaeology within Pendle Hill and we can’t wait to hear what other ideas the volunteers have come up with! 

See more about the Malkin Tower on our short film here 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Why are hedgerows a heroic feature in the landscape?

You may see hedgerows in the landscape when you're out walking, but have you ever wondered about why they are there, and why they are so important?

History of Hedgerows

The first hedgerows appeared when woodlands were cleared to make room for fields and sometimes strips of trees and shrubs were left to make boundaries.  Between 1604 and 1914 Enclosure Acts were enforced, to put boundaries on land to mark out the individual holdings. This transformed the land from open and communal to being separated by planted hedgerows and walls.

Farmers planted rows of trees and shrubs not only to separate and mark out farm and parish boundaries; but also to control the roaming of livestock and to provide them with shelter from poor weather. Popular species planted as hedgerows include hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, hornbeam, dogwood and dog rose. Other species such hazel, ash and oak are sometimes used.

During the Second World War, the government encouraged the removal of hedgerows to increase field sizes so production of food could be increased and the UK could become self-sufficient. Financial incentives were put in place to encourage removal of hedgerows and new, bigger, more powerful machinery was created which was too big to be used in small fields. Other factors such as changes in farming practices and development has also caused the loss of hedgerows. This resulted in a huge loss in hedgerows throughout the country, and therefore a huge decline in species that relied on them, especially birds and dormice. To find out more about the history of hedgerows go to

Removal of hedgerows is now recognised as having had a negative impact on the landscape, biodiversity and natural flood management and now more planting has started across the country. Government changed their financial incentives from removal to re-planting of hedgerows to try and regain the habitat and increase species populations.

Why do we lay hedges?
Hedgerows that are left unmanaged will grow into a line of trees which makes it a poor habitat for many species, see picture on the right. Small mammals and birds will not use tree lines to nest or shelter as they are too open to predation. Livestock do not get much shelter from a line of trees either, and generally if it is used as a boundary, farmers will end up fencing along the line of trees to make it stock-proof.

 Laying the trees in the hedgerow is the traditional way of managing hedgerows and creating a living stock-proof barrier. By laying a hedge it creates an amazing habitat for a wide range of species from mice, to hedgehogs and birds. It creates a wildlife corridor for species to move throughout the landscape which decreases the chances of disease, population fluctuations, starvation and inbreeding. Hedgerows are also used for nesting sites, food, shelter and hiding from predators. Hedgerows also double up as shelter for stock and reduce wind speeds which helps with reducing erosion of soils.

How do you lay a Hedge?
To be able to lay a hedge, firstly a cut called a pleacher must be made at the base and to one side of the tree depending on which way it is to be laid. All hedgerows are laid up hill, although if it is a hedgerow alongside a road it is always laid in the direction of the traffic.
Using hand tools is the traditional way of hedgelaying. Tools used include an axe and billhook, which are used to create the pleachers. Bow saw, pruning saw and loppers are used to trim the tree back and cut off the left over stump – a feature called a heal. To see pictures of these tools follow this link

This is a picture of the first cut being made to the tree with an axe. This will reduce the thickness of the tree so that it can be laid down to create the hedge, however not so thin that the tree snaps off from the stump. This will leave a section of the tree trunk left behind, which is called a heal which will be cut off once the tree has been laid.

Once the tree has been laid into the hedge, a diagonal cut towards the roots of the tree can be made to smaller branches which stick out too much from the hedge. By doing this it is representing the pleacher cut of the tree trunk and allows the branch to be bent towards the hedge to make the laid hedge thicker and denser so that it is more stock proof.

Professional hedgelayers use chainsaws to lay the hedges as it is quicker and more cost effective. The chainsaw does the same cuts, so this picture is showing the pleacher cut being put into the tree trunk.

This is a picture of the final laid hedge. The lighter coloured parts at the bottom of the tree trunk is the pleacher cut which enables the tree to be laid. Stakes are then put in about every meter on alternate sides, to retain the hedge. The material from the trees is used to give the hedge thickness. Everything in this hedge is still attached to the trees so it creates a living boundary.

Sometimes when hedgelaying, technical cuts such as this 'Z' cut is used to fill up a gap in the hedge. This is not often used but it is a good way of filling the space. A cut is made either side of the trunk shown in the picture on the left. It is then bent backwards and then folded on top of itself – shown in the picture below, to fill in the space but the tree is still being laid in the same direction. The heels of each cut are taken off to neaten it up.

All cuts that are made to the tree, will
encourage the tree to re-grow, and therefore
make the hedge thicker and more stock-proof.

Different styles
There are more than thirty different styles of hedgelaying across the UK. Each style has been developed over many years to cope with the climate of the area, different farming practices and the type of trees and shrubs that grow in the hedge.

The Lancashire & Westmorland hedge style; which is used in the Pendle Area, need to be well maintained to retain both cattle and sheep. Wooden stakes are placed about 18″ apart on alternate sides of the laid hedge with the pleachers (cut stems) layed between at approx 45°. The pleachers are woven around the stakes and the hedge finished to a height of at least 3′ 6”. To find out about other common styles and the pictures of them follow this link 

If Hedgelaying has interested you…
Come along to the Bowland Hedgelaying Grand Prix Competition, on Saturday 2nd March at Cockshotts Farm in Sabden, BB7 9EH.

Come see the hedgelayers in action, join a guided walk around Sabden Valley at 10.30am, get involved in a family friendly nature trail, and have a go at hedgelaying and drystone walling. Refreshments and local stalls available all day!
For more information visit:

Want to get involved in the landscape and join our volunteer group?
The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership offer a variety of volunteering opportunities at various locations.

·      Want some experience of dry stone walling, archaeology, conservation management or working with schools?
·       Got some spare time this year and love your local landscape?
·        Love sharing your stories and researching about local historic figures?
·       Want to keep fit, learn new skills and assist your local community?

If you answered YES to any of the above then head to our website to find opportunities for you to #GetInvolved