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Coordinates: 53°54′53″N 2°11′22″W / 53.9147°N 2.1895°W / 53.9147; -2.1895

Barnoldswick, Lancashire.jpg
A view over Barnoldswick, towards Weets Hill
Barnoldswick is located in Lancashire

 Barnoldswick shown within Lancashire
Population 10,859 (2001)
OS grid reference SD875465
Parish Barnoldswick
District Pendle
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BB18
Dialling code 01282
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Pendle
List of places: UK • England • Lancashire

Barnoldswick (colloquially known as Barlick) is a town and civil parish within the West Craven area of the Borough of Pendle in Lancashire, England just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town is built in the shadow of Weets Hill, and Stock Beck, a tributary of the River Ribble runs through the town. It has a population of 10,859.[1]

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and nestling on the lower slopes of Weets Hill in the Pennines astride the natural watershed between the Ribble and Aire valleys, Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal[2] , lying as it does on the summit level of the canal between Barrowford Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town. It is approximately 30 miles (48 km) from the cities of Leeds, Manchester and Preston, and 27 miles (43 km) east southeast from the county town of Lancaster. Nearby towns include Clitheroe to the west, Nelson and Burnley to the south and Keighley to the east southeast.

Barnoldswick is one of the longest place names in the United Kingdom without repeating any letters. Buckfastleigh in Devon, Buslingthorpe in Leeds, West Yorkshire and Buslingthorpe in Lincolnshire are longer with 13 letters.



Barnoldswick dates back to Anglo Saxon times. It was listed in Domesday Book as Bernulfsuuic, meaning Bernulf's Town (uuic being an archaic spelling of wick, meaning settlement, in particular, a dairy farm). [3] [4]

A Cistercian monastery was founded there in 1147 by monks from Fountains Abbey. However they left after six years, before construction was complete, driven out by crop failures and locals unhappy at their interference in the affairs of the local church. They went on to build Kirkstall Abbey. They returned after another ten years to build the isolated church of St Mary-le-Gill close to Barnoldswick to Thornton in Craven road.

For hundreds of years Barnoldswick remained a small village. However, the arrival of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and later the (now closed) railway, spurred the development of the existing woollen industry, and helped it to become a major cotton town. The engine of the last mill to be built in Barnoldswick, Bancroft Mill, has been preserved and is now open as a tourist attraction - a 600HP steam engine which still can operate.[5]


From 1894 until 1974, Barnoldswick formed an urban district within the administrative county of the West Riding of Yorkshire[6] (although Blackburnshire in Lancashire sometimes claimed the area [7] [8] [9]. More informally, until 1974 post used to be addressed via Colne, Lancashire, to addresses in Barnoldswick. Barnoldswick has had a Burnley telephone code even when it was in Yorkshire. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Barnoldswick and a number of surrounding Yorkshire villages, including Earby, Waddington and Gisburn, were transferred to the Borough of Pendle in the Non-metropolitan county of Lancashire in 1974.

At present, Barnoldswick[10] has a town council, and forms part of the West Craven Area Committee on Pendle Borough Council.[11] [12]

Local Media

Barnoldswick can only receive TV from Leeds; ITV (Yorkshire Television) and BBC North are both transmitted from the TV mast at East Marton, 3 miles north-east of Barnoldswick.[13] TV transmissions from the North-West region BBC North West and ITV (Granada Television) are blocked by Weets Hill. Channel 4 can be received, but Five (TV channel) is extremely limited. Radio reception is also restricted in the town. There is a local low-power FM relay station, transmitting the four main BBC national radio stations (Radio 1 to 4), but no local stations.[14] Fresh Radio[15] in Skipton claims to cover the area on AM – 1413 kHz.

The town receives no digital signals at present, and has no cable services.

The local press is published twice weekly; the Barnoldswick and Earby Times is published on Fridays and the Pendle Express is published on Tuesdays. The daily Lancashire Telegraph newspaper covers Barnoldswick in its Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale edition. Some of the Yorkshire press is circulated in the area, owing to both the geographical anomaly and the fact that many of the population still consider themselves "Yorkshire folk". The weekly, Skipton-based Craven Herald & Pioneer and the daily, Leeds-based Yorkshire Post newspapers are prominent.

Local Industry

Barnoldswick is home to Silentnight Beds, the UK's largest manufacturer of beds and mattresses. Silentnight, is part of the Silentnight Group with the head office and manufacturing premises in the town.[16][17]

Rolls Royce plc is a large employer based in the town. It was originally a Rover (car) plant that Rolls Royce purchased in 1943.[18] The model number of many Rolls Royce jet engines start with the initials RB (eg. RB199) which stands for Rolls Barnoldswick, as Rolls Royce aero's design centre was situated in Barnoldswick.[19]

Hope Technology, a manufacturer of mountain bike parts such as disc brakes, hubs, and headsets, is based in Barnoldswick. [20]


Barnoldswick is served by four primary schools; Gisburn Road, Church School and Coates Lane are non-denominational schools, whilst St. Joseph's caters to the town's Catholic population. Most secondary age students attend West Craven High Technology College, a Technology specialist school situated in Barnoldswick itself, though a significant minority of students attend Fisher More Catholic Humanities College in Colne, and the Skipton Grammar Schools, Ermysted's and Skipton Girls' High School.


Barnoldswick is often cited as the largest town in the British Isles not to be served by any A-roads. However, in spite of this, road links to the town are comparatively good; easy access to the M65, A650 and A59 means that Manchester, Preston, Leeds, Bradford and York can all be reached in an hour by car.

Barnoldswick was formerly served by Barnoldswick railway station, the only station on the Midland Railway's branch line off the Skipton to Colne Line, though this was shut under the Beeching Axe in 1965. The pressure group Selrap is currently campaigning for the reopening of the Skipton to Colne line, and although their plans do not include the Barnoldswick Branch, rail travel to the town would be improved by such a reopening. At present, would-be rail passengers must travel via Colne for trains serving Lancashire, or via Skipton for trains serving North and West Yorkshire.

Public transport to the town is therefore restricted to buses. Pennine Motors [21] services from Burnley to Skipton operate every hour, and there are three buses per hour operated by Burnley & Pendle to Colne, Nelson, Burnley and beyond. An infrequent (approx. 2-hourly) service to Clitheroe and Preston is operated by Lancashire United.

The nearest airports are Manchester (about 1¼ hours by car or about 3 hours by public transport) and Leeds Bradford (just over 1 hour by car or about 2 hours by public transport).[22]


External links



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