NOVELIST Tracy Chevalier climbed Pendle Hill and declared the view from the top to be 'glorious'.

The American born writer, best known for her book The Girl with the Pearl Earring, which was made into a film staring Scarlet Johansson and Colin Firth, spent two days in Pendle, climbing the hill and exploring the area's Quaker connections with her friend, Amy Peck, an archivist from Brooklyn, New York.

"It was my first time walking up Pendle Hill," she said.

"It was very steep and really blowy at the top. But boy it was beautiful – a 360 degree view. You can see all the way to the sea and to the peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. It was glorious."

Tracy and Amy followed in the footsteps of George Fox who climbed the hill in 1652 and had a compelling vision which led him to found the Quaker movement.

“I can understand why George Fox would have a moment here, it’s such a beautiful place," she said.

“I think any place that’s imbued with history is important to writers – and for everyone. When you go up a hill like Pendle Hill and stand there, the 21st century falls away and you can feel a deep and direct connection with the past.”

Ms Chevalier has a Quaker background and says she had always heard about George Fox.

“Pendle Hill has always been a place I thought I’d love to come and see. I wondered what did the place look like where he had this vision? Now I know," she said.

“When I first saw Pendle Hill it was from Barley, from the Pendle side and it’s quite bleak there. We walked up and down the other side into the Ribble Valley and it was a completely different change, it was a beautiful green valley. But I think you need both sides, the wild and bleak and the softer side. Both sides I loved. It all makes a very complete package to walk in.”

Pendle Council has teamed up with Ribble Valley Borough Council, Mid Pennine Arts and the Pendle Hill Partnership to create a new short film of Tracy Chevalier’s visit to climb Pendle Hill.

The team is also developing a new Quaker walk to help others enjoy an area which is a place of world wide pilgrimage.

Sarah Lee, from Pendle Council's Communications Team said:

“We’ve wanted to share our area’s Quaker connections for a long time and this true story still has deep resonance today.

“It’s a wonderful walk for anyone wanting to explore an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an absorbing history of dissent going back over hundreds of years,” she added.

Nick Hunt, director of Mid Pennine Arts which is leading a new Pendle Radicals project for the new National Lottery Heritage Funded Pendle Hill Partnership said: “George Fox is one of the first and the most famous in a long line of non-conformists associated with the Pendle Hill area.

“We’ll be developing a Radicals Trail this year to connect people and places under this theme and the new Quaker walk will link perfectly to that.

“Tracy Chevalier’s visit leads the way in putting Pendle Hill’s history of radical thinkers on the map as we bring our powerful heritage to light,” he added.

Tom Pridmore, tourism officer for the Ribble Valley said:

“We’re keen to share our beautiful area in a way which will have a low impact on our countryside and rural communities.

“It will benefit our rural economy and neighbouring towns and give people locally, nationally and internationally a really memorable experience,” he stated."