PENDLE Hill is getting ready to shake off its air of mystery and share some of its secrets and stories thanks to a £1.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The money will go towards the launch of a new landscape partnership led by the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with work expected to start in a few months time.

It comes just after Pendle Hill and the witches trail was named 86th in Britain’s top 100 favourite walks, as voted by the public.

Sue Bowers, HLF deputy director of operations, said: “Pendle Hill is famous for its eerie past and tales of the witch trials draw in many visitors every year. But there’s a lot more to Pendle and thanks to National Lottery players this project is designed to open up, preserve and share other parts of the area’s incredible heritage including the founding of the Quaker movement by George Fox. The benefits of this project are far reaching and will offer a range of apprenticeships and trainee positions for people helping to reconnect them to their natural heritage.”

The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership is planning to uncover the area’s lesser known heritage to share with both visitors and residents. Plans include improving access to the hill itself, celebrating the area’s social history, improving wildlife sites, and offering opportunities to volunteers and trainees.

The natural heritage of the hill will also be improved, with walls and hedgerows restored to bring back the patchwork pattern to the area and to hopefully revive an interest in traditional rural crafts. Important grasslands and woodlands will be restored and managed and it is planned to offer opportunities to farmers to get involved through a new group set up by the AONB. Volunteers will also be invited to get involved and there will be day visits and activities planned for those who do not normally get the chance to get out into the landscape. In addition, there will be new apprenticeships offered to young people interested in a career outdoors; and learning opportunities for visiting schools and other groups will also be on offer.

There are plans to improve and way mark walking routes and to open them up for people of all abilities. Information hubs at Barley, Downham, Spring Wood and the Nick of Pendle will be improved and tourism and food businesses will be encouraged and supported to promote the area. It in intended that the project will generate more creative activity and digital interpretation, such as a ‘heritage app’, village treasure trails and walking guides to download.

A number of artists in residence will also be involved in the projects helping to interpret the stories of the hill, its nature and its past.

Chairman of the landscape partnership and local landowner Ralph Assheton said:“I am very excited that after all the hard work put in by the team and partners, that we’ve secured our National Lottery funding. Now the hard work really begins.” To find out more about the scheme, visit the website: or visit the project’s Facebook page ‘pendlehillproject’.