FRINGE AND PENDLE HILL
Undulating rolling landscape with local variation
created by both the numerous river valleys and outlying
upland features of Beacon Fell, Longridge Fell and
Strong outcrops of 'reef knolls' and limestone
form distinct landscape features to the Ribble and
Meandering, commonly tree-fringed rivers
with oxbow lakes form prominent features within
the predominantly pastoral landscape.
Predominantly Grade 3 agricultural land supporting
permanent pasture, mostly improved, for dairy and
Intensively managed landscape, with lush
hay meadows in small- to medium-scale fields defined
by well maintained hedgerows with mature hedgerow
trees. Some rough grazing at higher elevations.
Extensive semi-natural woodland, much of
which is ancient, on both main valley bottoms, side
valleys and ridges.
Dense north - south communication corridor,
comprising the M6, the railway line and the Lancaster
Canal, defining the western boundary and providing
a physical and psychological barrier.
Numerous water courses and bodies including
the rivers Ribble, Hodder, Calder, Wyre, a number
of reservoirs, and field ponds north of Preston.
Small villages, hamlets and scattered farmsteads
mostly in local stone are well integrated into the
landscape and connected by a network of winding
hedge-lined country lanes.
Bowland Fells provide a dramatic backdrop
to the east and north with extensive views possible
from high ground across the Lancashire and Amounderness
Plain and across open valley bottoms.
Bowland Fringe and Pendle Hill is a transitional
landscape which wraps around the dramatic upland
core of the Bowland Fells. It extends from the Lune
Valley in the north around the slopes of the Bowland
massif before merging imperceptibly eastward into
the landscape of the Ribble Valley. The eastern
boundary links with the Yorkshire Dales while to
the south lies the Lancashire Valleys.
This is a diverse landscape of undulating pasture,
broadleaf woodland, parkland and water bodies. Fields
are small- to medium-sized and are enclosed by well
maintained hedgerows with large mature hedgerow
trees. The sycamore of the Lancashire and Amounderness
Plain is replaced by oak, ash and alder. This is
a relatively well-wooded landscape, predominantly
associated with the myriad of streams and valleys
which cascade off the Bowland Fells and support
large areas of semi-natural riparian woodland. This
includes several areas of ancient woodland along
the Brock and Calder and between Dolphinholme and
To the south of Bowland the moorland outliers of
Pendle Hill, Beacon Fell and Longridge Fell enclose
the Ribble Valley and reinforce its affinity with
the Forest of Bowland. The combination of topography,
tree cover and field enclosure create a sense of
intimacy, in contrast to the expanse of the coastal
plain and exposed moorland heights. To the north
of Bowland, the Lune Valley, which separates the
Fringe from Morecambe Bay has a pastoral character
enclosed by well-maintained hedgerows with mature
hedgerow trees. Due to soil conditions and a favourable
microclimate, vegetation is generally larger and
more vigorous than in other areas. Deciduous woodland,
including some areas of ancient woodland, is concentrated
on valley sides and is most prominent in the Roeburn,
Wenning, Greta and Hindburn valleys.
The distinguishing characteristic of this area is
the influence of human habitation. The settlement
pattern is of small stone villages, hamlets and
farmsteads. A typical feature of this landscape
is isolated country houses set in well-maintained
formal parkland. These managed estates are enclosed
by belts of woodland and estate fencing. Farms tend
to be larger than those in the Bowland Fells with
better quality land supporting large dairy herds.
Farms generally consist of a core of stone buildings
with some conspicuous modern outbuildings.
The road network is typified by a complex system
of narrow lanes with few direct routes between settlements.
The railway, canal, and M6 form the major north
- south links in Lancashire and are confined to
a narrow corridor which defines the western boundary.
This is an intimate, tamed landscape in contrast
to the wild exposed moorland of the Bowland Fells.
The combination of well-maintained hedgerows and
hedgerow trees with areas of parkland and well-grazed
pasture gives this area an intensively managed character.
is a transitional zone between the coastal plain
with its unconsolidated glacial deposits and the
high fells of Bowland formed by the strong sandstone
of the Millstone Grit. It is an area of undulating
rolling landscape, with local variation created
by the valleys of the Brock, Calder and Wyre.
The transition from plain to fell landscape is rapid,
reflecting the existence of a substantial boundary
fault which separates the soft Permo-Triassic rocks
from the harder Carboniferous rocks. The M6 roughly
follows the line of the fault. The transition is
softened by the presence of thicker glacial deposits
around the edge of the upland area and by the valley
features where Bowland's upland streams flow out
of the hills onto the plain. The mouths of the valleys
are commonly filled by broad, flat alluvial fans.
Ribbons of alluvial sand, gravel and silt follow
the courses of these streams.
In the south where the Brock Valley crosses the
area, the coarse-grained sandstones of the Millstone
Grit of Bowland give way to the softer calcareous
mudstones with limestone beds of the Carboniferous
Limestone. This accounts for the less dramatic change
between the Fringe and the Fells landscape. Surface
drift features also become more important as the
Fringe merges imperceptibly south-eastwards into
the landscape of the Ribble Valley.
The Ribble and Hodder drain the southern flanks
of the Bowland Fells. The broad valleys, framed
by the escarpments of the fells to the north and
moors to the south broadly pick out the less resistent
mudstones and limestones from the harder Millstone
Grit rocks which form the fells. Within the valleys
strong moundy outcrops of 'reef knolls' form distinctive
landscape features which give the area its special
character. The Lune Valley area is gently sloping
and undulating, and is contained by steep scarp
slopes with the river as the central feature. The
sources of the Lune lie outside the county boundary
but its many tributaries commonly arise from deep
erosion scars or cloughs cut into the steep scarp
slopes of the surrounding moorland upland.
The solid rocks are overlain by a complex of glacial
deposits comprising mainly thick tills but with
extensive areas of moundy sand and gravel deposited
from glacial meltwater. One such complex in the
Ribble and Hodder Valleys at Stoneyhurst/Hurst Green
imparts a special quality of small wooded knolls
to the local landscape. To the east of Gisburn a
tract of drumlins forms a characteristic landscape.
and Cultural Influences
Lune valley has been used as a communication route
since Roman times and formed a principal route for
the Anglian invasion of Lancashire from the east
from 570 AD. The inga, ingaham and ingaton place
names, such as Melling, or Wennington, are evidence
that some family group settled on the higher ground
along the valley. In the 10th century the region
was invaded by Christian Norse men who sailed from
Northern Ireland. They settled peacefully alongside
the Angles in the valley often content to farm the
inferior land on the lower slopes, giving rise to
place names such as Claughton, Tarleton, Hornby
The lush pasture in the Lune Valley has long supported
prosperous farms and this is reflected in the number
of large farms and country estates which are scattered
along the valley sides. Prior to the draining of
the coastal marshes, this area would have constituted
the only farming land available to early settlers.
The development of these farms and country estates
creates a well-maintained character to the area.
The picturesque quality of the Lune valley attracted
J M W Turner who was struck by its beauty and painted
a view from the Crook of Lune during a tour of the
north of England in 1816.
The Ribble Valley formed an important Roman communication
route to York and some evidence of Roman roads can
still be found.
The field pattern around settlements and on valley
bottoms is generally irregular and small to medium
scale indicating early piecemeal enclosure. However,
areas of common land at higher elevations have a
more regular field pattern following 18th and 19th
century parliamentary enclosure.
A particular feature of this region is the number
of large country houses and halls set in parkland
and country estates, such as Abbeystead. These areas
have been intensively managed for hunting and farming
for many years.
most significant characteristic of the Bowland Fringe
and Pendle Hill is the influence of human habitation.
Settlements are scattered along the valley and have
largely escaped the effects of the industrial revolution.
There are many villages dating from the 16th to
18th century, together with hamlets, farmsteads
and also country houses and halls commonly set in
parkland. Isolated stone villages tend to be nestled
into the escarpments commonly with distinctive becks,
greens and mills, each with its own unique charm.
On higher ground traditional stone barns are commonplace.
The predominant building materials are stone with
slate or less common stone flag roofs. There has
been some limited modern expansion of villages,
but these have generally been done sympathetically
using local materials.
The settlement pattern is of smaller villages with
isolated houses and farms dotted around the winding
country lanes. Many of the smaller villages and
hamlets are linear in character and commonly take
the form of terraced stone cottages along the main
road. Farms tend to consist of a core of vernacular
stone buildings, many dating from the 17th century
with either stone-flagged or slate roofs. Modern
development around village fringes gives a suburban
character with a mix of building materials and styles.
In some of the more accessible areas many farmhouses
have been modernised and extensive barn conversions
have taken place, not always in an appropriate manner.
Large country houses set in their own parkland settings
are located across this area, such as Ellel Grange,
Waddow Hall, Bolton Park and Leagram Hall. There
are a number of small industrial/mill settlements
at Calder Vale, Oakenclough, Dolphinholme and Galgate
with terraced worker cottages lining the narrow
is an area of lush verdant pasture supporting dairy
herds and other livestock, as well as species- rich
hay meadows. The area has an irregular field pattern
of medium-sized fields defined by well maintained
hawthorn hedgerows with a high proportion of mature
hedgerow trees, predominantly oak, ash and alder.
Hedgerows are replaced by stone walls and post and
wire fencing at the transition to the Forest of
Areas of semi-natural woodland are commonly associated
with managed estates and parkland. Ancient woodland
is notable along the Brock and Calder and between
Abbeystead and Dolphinholme. These woodlands combined
with hedgerows and hedgerow trees make a significant
contribution to the landscape.
Parkland in this area adds to the intensely managed
character of the landscape. While there are no famous
large-scale designed park landscapes, they are generally
attractive areas forming the setting for modest
country houses. These areas are enclosed by belts
and blocks of woodland with areas of open grassland
and isolated, well spaced, open grown trees of oak,
ash, sycamore and lime.
Several bodies of standing water, including reservoirs
and disused gravel pits in the Wyre Valley east
of Garstang form prominent features. A high density
of field ponds further contributes towards this
important ecological corridor.
There are a number of sand and gravel extraction
sites, mainly confined to valley bottoms to the
south of the area. There are also clay pits, the
most prominent of these at Claughton Brickworks
where aerial ropeways extend from Claughton Moor
across the A683 to the brickworks.
Exploitation of mineral deposits, in particular
potential expansion associated with Clitheroe Cement
Works, and sand and gravel deposits in Ribble Valley,
both of which could result in indirect pressures
for road widening, strengthening of minor bridges
and landfill pressures at extraction sites.
Decline of riverside woods due to excessive
grazing and lack of management.
Marked tendency for farm amalgamations though
with less hedgerow removal than in arable parts
of Lancashire and Amounderness Plain.
Loss of character caused by road widening
schemes including loss of hedges and roadside trees.
Recreational honey pots including Beacon
Fell, Brockbottom, Jeffrey Hill and Kemple End which
attract large numbers of visitors and require considerable
management of various kinds.
Re-use of hospital sites and considerable
impact caused by increased road traffic.
Substantial urban expansion pressures around
major centres of population.
Dilution of traditional vernacular styles
by extensive suburban developments of nondescript
20th century housing and modern farm buildings.
Growth in conspicuous caravan sites.
Increase in numbers of obtrusive communication
towers and aerials particularly adjacent to the
More effective drainage of upland areas resulting
in sudden and powerful surges in river flows has
led to increased erosion of river banks and riverside
Damage to smaller areas of semi-natural woodland
from grazing stock and wild deer.
Former unspoilt farmland and farmsteads being
compromised by addition of conspicuous modern farm
buildings, slurry tanks, silage bays and abandoned
The conservation and management of riparian woodland,
semi-natural and ancient woodland, hedgerows, hedgerow
trees, and avenues should be considered.
There are opportunities for the appropriate
management of recreational sites subject to visitor
The subtle variations in character between
the western Bowland Fringe and the Ribble Valley,
especially field size and boundary treatment, should
be respected and maintained.
The restoration and management of the characteristic
field ponds to north of Preston should be addressed.
The rural and agricultural character of the
Lune valley is particularly important.
Species-rich hay meadows form valuable landscape
and ecological areas.
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and Co, London.
John Moore University (1995), Draft Landscape Strategy
for Wyre, Wyre Borough Council.
Kenyon. D (1991), The Origins of Lancashire, Manchester
University Press, Manchester and New York.
Lancashire County Council (1993), Lancashire Structure
Plan 1991-2006. Report 17: Landscape Evaluation.
Lancashire County Council (c 1990), Lancashire A
Trueman. A E (1972), Geology and Scenery in England
and Wales, Penguin Books Ltd, Middlesex.
Whittow. J (1992), Geology and Scenery in Britain,
Chapman and Hall, London.
Woolerton Truscott (1992), The Forest of Bowland
Landscape, Countryside Commission, Northampton.