The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is marking the scariest day of the year by investing £2m into one of the North West’s most distinctive landscapes, the home of the infamous 17th-century Pendle Witches.
The area around Pendle Hill has long been associated with the story of 10 local people accused of witchcraft during the 17th century. However, the area has a wide and fascinating heritage and the Pendle Hill Partnership is now set to help people gather and research this wealth of history, including the founding of the Quaker movement by George Fox.
Pendle Hill’s summit acts as a divide both geographically and socially to the communities who live on either side of it. The scheme, run by the Forest of Bowland AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), includes restoring important wildlife and landscape features and researching local stories helping to reconnect local people with their landscape.
Formal skills apprenticeships will be available for 20 young people, four graduate trainees and one university student placement.
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “Pendle Hill is famous for its eerie past and tales of the witch trials draw in many visitors every year, especially at Halloween. But there’s a lot more to Pendle than just stories of witches and this project is designed to open up, preserve and share other parts of the areas 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 local people helping to reconnect them to their natural heritage.
“Now in its eleventh year, our Landscape Partnership programme has revealed so many fascinating hidden histories as well as protecting many of our most breath-taking landmarks. This has all been achieved thanks to National Lottery players.”
Hon. Ralph Assheton, Chair of the Pendle Hill LP Board, said: “Pendle Hill is part of our folk history, and an ever present backdrop to our lives. This investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help local communities to enjoy, explore and learn more about Pendle; and to take care of it for future generations.”
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Chair of the Forest of Bowland AONB partnership, said: “I am delighted to hear that the grant has been awarded. Pendle Hill is a vastly important part of the AONB and an area which is in great need of this new investment in the environment, in the economy and for everyone who enjoys living near to, or visiting, this much loved Lancashire landmark.”
The funding for Pendle comes as part of a wider UK-wide funding package of £28m – impacting 3,000km² of countryside – which will support urgent conservation work to the natural and built heritage, help reconnect local communities to where they live and create 50 new jobs and 6,000 paid training places.