Living Heritage

Ribble Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with picturesque towns and villages to discover, each place rich in tradition and with its own unique identity, reflected in architecture, customs and events. Wherever you are in Ribble Valley you are sure to find wealth of historic interest and legends from a bygone age.


Stonyhurst College

Stonyhurst College

With its awe inspiring approach, Stonyhurst College is one of the most stunning architectural heritage sites in the north of England. Set in extensive parklands with two huge ponds, the college houses a wonderful museum collection which can be viewed on open days. Oliver Cromwell stayed here in 1648, and in 1811 the building became the first public building to be lit by gas. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes is among many famous ex-pupils of this Catholic boarding college. Most notable perhaps is the connection with JRR Tolkien, the literary genius renowned for his love of nature and wooded landscapes, who penned the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy .

Clitheroe Castle

Clitheroe CastleIt’s free to climb onto the Castle Walls and to the top of the Castle Keep in Clitheroe where you can enjoy spectacular views across the town and the whole Ribble Valley. Children can get their hands on history in the interactive galleries and exhibitions at the award winning Clitheroe Castle Museum, where there’s a year round programme of themed activities for all ages.  Using screens and computer technology, you’ll be taken on a journey through 350 million years of history, heritage and geology of the local area. It’s also here that you can find out about the facts, fables and folklore of the Pendle Witches, who were involved in the most famous witchcraft trails in English History.

In the tranquil grounds of Whalley Abbey atmospheric ruins of a large Cistercian monastery can be discovered with daily tours of the ruins available with a costumed guide in a monk’s habit. Further up the Ribble Valley, Sawley Abbey is another historic site where you can wander among the remains of a Cistercian abbey founded way back in 1148.

Pendle Witches

Pendle HillDominating landscape to the south of Ribble Valley is the mysterious Pendle Hill, an area steeped in the history of witchcraft. In 1612, ten people were executed having been found guilty of witchcraft in this area. The evidence given against the so called ‘Pendle Witches’ was based on memories, hearsay and superstition, and would not be considered in a modern court. But life was very different 400 years ago; religious persecution was rife and people lived in wretched fear and poverty. Now, over 400 years later, you have the chance to follow the journey taken by the accused witches, to learn about their lives and the trial that made British history. From the untamed moorlands of Pendle Hill, you can take a journey of discovery through Lancashire’s dramatic and historic past.

Roman Ribchester

Stone engravingA museum steeped in historical significance, which dates back over 100 years. It has benefitted from heritage lottery funding and European grants in order to make it a modern day exhibition of the roman history in the Ribble Valley. The museum contains a magnitude of excavated artefacts that date back to the roman settlements of Ribchester. The original roman site, known as Bremetennacum Veteranorum, was as established in the early 70s AD. As well as the various artefacts that the museum displays visitors can also view a new interactive 3D model of the site. A number of special events are also held at various times throughout the year, which can include full reconstructions of roman times.

Browsholme Hall

browsholme hallLocated four miles north-west of Clitheroe is the stunningly picturesque Tudor house Browsholme Hall. Dating back to 1507 Browsholme, situated in the Forest of Bowland, contains the collections of fourteen generations of continuous occupation. It may not be a museum but this magnificent venue does offer guided tours that demonstrate the living heritage of the building. It is a stunning venue that is perfect to host special functions such as weddings or large celebrations. Further, it contains ‘The Tithe Barn’ which is over 300 years old. Today the tithe barn tea rooms offer visitors the perfect way to enjoy traditional afternoon teas when visiting.

Copyright - Ribble Valley Council 2019.