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Pendle Hill
Pendle hill.jpg
Elevation 557 m (1,827 ft)
Location Lancashire, England
Prominence c. 395 metres (1,296 ft)
Parent peak Kinder Scout
Coordinates 53°52′08″N 2°18′00″W / 53.869°N 2.300°W / 53.869; -2.300Coordinates: 53°52′08″N 2°18′00″W / 53.869°N 2.300°W / 53.869; -2.300
Topo map OS Landranger 103
OS grid reference SD804414
Listing Marilyn
Pendle from the west. (Longridge Fell is to the right.)

Pendle Hill is located in the north-east of Lancashire, England, near the towns of Burnley, Nelson, Colne, Clitheroe and Padiham. Its summit is 557 metres (1,827 ft) above mean sea level. It gives its name to the Borough of Pendle. It is an isolated hill, separated from the Pennines to the east and the Forest of Bowland to the northwest. It lies to the southwest of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is a detached part of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).



The sloping plateau summit of Pendle Hill is formed from the Pendle Grit, a coarse Carboniferous age sandstone assigned to the Millstone Grit Group. It overlies a thick sequence of Carboniferous Limestone beds.

Much of the lower slopes are mantled by thick deposits of [[glacial till] or boulder clay dating from the last Ice Age. The historic decomposition of sphagnum moss on the hill has led to it being covered in peat.

The steep slopes of its eastern and southern flanks have given rise to a series of landslips.


The phrase Pendle Hill is unusual in that it combines the word for hill from three different languages. In the thirteenth century the hill was mentioned as Pennul or Penhul; apparently from Cumbric pen and Old English hyll, both meaning "hill". The modern English hill was appended later, after the original meaning of Pendle had become opaque.

Pendle Hill is famous for its links to three events which took place in the 17th century: the Pendle witch trials (1612), Richard Towneley's barometer experiment (1661), and the claimed visitation to George Fox (1652), which led to the foundation of the Quaker movement. A Bronze Age burial site has been also discovered at the summit of the hill.

The most popular route for ascending the hill begins in the village of Barley, which lies to the east. This route also provides the steepest ascent. Other nearby villages include Downham, Newchurch-in-Pendle, and Sabden.

A local saying suggests the area around Pendle Hill experiences frequent rainfall: "If you can see Pendle then it's about to rain, if you can't then it's already started." When it's not raining, and there's a usable northwesterly wind, Pendle is a popular hill-launch for paragliders and hang gliders.

Pendle Witches

The story of the Pendle witch trials is the best known example of alleged witchcraft in English history. The hill continues to be associated with witchcraft and large numbers of visitors climb it every Hallowe'en.

Most Haunted

The area is now popular with ghost hunters after Living channel's top show Most Haunted visited the hill for a live investigation on Halloween 2004.[1] The show's presenter, Yvette Fielding, said it was the scariest episode they had made to date and the episode is still widely considered as the scariest episode of the entire series.

On 30 October, the programme visited Clitheroe Castle, Church Brow and Trinity Youth Centre. On Halloween it visited Lower Well Head Farm, Bull Hole Farm and Tynedale Farm and the investigation finished on 1 November at Waddow Hall.


In 1652, George Fox claimed to have had a vision while on top of Pendle, during the early years of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Today, the name Pendle remains strongly linked with the Quakers, giving its name to one of their centres for religious and spiritual study and contemplation in the United States.

As we travelled, we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered.

George Fox: An Autobiography, Chapter 6

See also


  1. ^ 'Most Haunted' crew has a spooky visit to Pendle Clitheroe Advertiser, 5 November 2004. Accessed 29 March 2008.

External links



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