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The Barley Mow, Pendle Hill

Isolated from the Bowland Fells and the Pennines, Pendle Hill is impossible to miss as you speed past along the A59 heading toward the Yorkshire border. But this lonely whaleback is more than just a dominating physical presence; four centuries after the event it still looms large in the popular psyche as the home of the infamous Pendle Witches, who were hanged at Lancaster in 1612.


Barley, of all the villages surrounding Pendle Hill, is the best spot from which to mount an ascent of the 1,827-foot peak. It’s a short, sharp, circular five-mile hike that’s bracing in winter and pleasantly strenuous in summer, rewarding walkers with fabulous views out across Lancashire. Barley is also home to Witches Galore, a gift shop like no other, and The Barley Mow, a welcoming country pub that has been given a new lease of life under the ownership of the Seafood Pub Co.


The pub is a sturdy stone structure that was built to survive the vagaries of the local weather ("If you can see Pendle it's about to rain, if you can't, it's already started," goes the old adage!). It’s decorated in hunting lodge-style with antlers, a boar’s head and game birds adorning the characterful stone walls and wood burners to keep you cosy. There are six comfortable ensuite rooms too, fitted out to a high standard and with flat-screen TV and wifi. The accompanying Lancashire breakfast is a great start to the day’s activities which as well as hiking might include paragliding, mountain biking, dry-slope skiing or a more sedentary stroll around the shops in the nearby market town of Clitheroe.



As well as a hearty breakfast, food is served every day at The Barley Mow right through from lunchtime to late evening. The Seafood Pub Co has built a stellar reputation for its range of pub classics, international dishes and seafood specials and the menu at The Barley Mow does not disappoint with something to suit everyone from baby to great grandma. For the traditionalists, Rag Pudding is filled with minced beef and onion and comes with mushy peas, fries and ale gravy. There’s also fish and chips, scampi, burgers, salads or the heavy duty Pendle Grill – sirloin steak, lamb cutlet, Cajun chicken breast, gammon steak, sausage, fried egg, grill garnish, onion rings and fries – amongst the main course options.

Starters are more international in flavour and include Teriyaki chicken skewers with a sweet soy dip and Duck spring rolls with plum dipping sauce. Tempting desserts range from Rocky road cheesecake to Melting chocolate fudge pudding. Drinks-wise, they’re as passionate about their wine and beer at The Barley Mow as they are about the food with an extensive wine list, many available by the glass, and a good selection of cask ales. It’s also very much a family friendly pub with a play area and a special Little Ones menu of proper food in small portions.

The Barley Mow Main Menu



There’s a certain atmosphere to Pendle Hill and Barley which has to be experienced. The TV show ‘Most Haunted’ filmed here at Halloween in 2004 and it was supposedly the scariest episode they ever made. Visit at Halloween and you’ll be fighting the crowds as well as the witches but for the rest of the year this peaceful part of Lancashire with its unique history is a wonderful choice for an overnight escape – exercise optional!


To get you in the mood for a visit, here’s an old Lancashire song about Pendle Hill:

Old Pendle, old Pendle, thou standest alone

Twixt Burnley and Clitheroe, Whalley and Colne

Where Hodder and Ribble's fair waters do meet

With Barley and Downham content at thy feet.


Where witches will ride on a cold winter's night

We'll not tell a soul and we'll bolt our doors tight

We'll sit by the fire and keep ourselves warm

Until once again we mun walk on thine arm.


Old Pendle, old Pendle, o'er moorland and fell

In beauty and loveliness ever to dwell

Through life's fateful journey where'er we may be

We'll pause in our labours and oft think on thee.


Old Pendle, old Pendle - majestic, sublime

Thy praises shall ring till the end of all time

In beauty eternal thy banner unfurled

Thou dearest and grandest old hill in the world!


Old Pendle, old Pendle, thou standest alone

Twixt Burnley and Clitheroe, Whalley and Colne

Where Hodder and Ribble's fair waters do meet

With Barley and Downham content at thy feet.

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