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The Rossendale Valley

Gawmless End nestles amongst the hills of the beautiful Rossendale Valley, in Shawforth (Whitworth). Its farm access track begins in Britannia (Bacup), at the beginning of the Britannia Coconut Dancers' Easter celebratory dance route. You can see some photographs of Rossendale here, and you can find more via our Links page.

Rossendale is twinned with BOCHOLT in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.
Population (in 1972) 50,000, altitude 26m above sea level. 85km from Düsseldorf.
Click here for more about Bocholt

Whitworth is twinned with KANDEL in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany,
close to Karlsruhe and the French border.
Population 6,700 (in l972), altitude 126m.
Click here to see more about Kandel

Panoramic View - click to enlarge
Gawmless End (on the left), set in the beautiful Rossendale Valley - 29 KB
The Rochdale to Bacup road lies deep in the valley
between the photographer and the view being captured.
Gawmless End can be seen on the left of the picture.
The chimney sticking out of a field on the right of the view once served a (now demolished) mill below in the valley: the chimneys were often ducted up through the hillsides to emerge high above. Rossendale's rugged topography meant this was easier than building a very tall chimney, as was usually done in other regions.


Hand in hand with the Rossendale Valley's rich industrial heritage goes an equally rich wildlife population. The protected twite nests on the moorlands between Whitworth and Bacup. The windswept habitat, despite the still thriving quarries whence London's Trafalgar Square derived the flagstones with which it is paved, seem to suit this small speckled bird, which is becoming very rare in other areas.

The ancient name for the area, the Forest of Rossendale, meant an area farmed for deer, the descendants of which still roam the hills in places. There is an ancient deer park at Musbury where the remnants of the "deer leaps" may still be seen - the high enclosing barrier was provided in places with a banking arrangement whereby deer could get in but not out, thus ensuring the introduction of new blood to the herds within.

In modern times a move to "put the Forest back into Rossendale" has taken the form of treeplanting grants and the identification in the Rossendale District Plan of "priority" areas where new plantings would most improve the environment.

Click here
for photographs
of Rossendale's plantlife.


A view into Bacup's town centreGlimpses of the Rossendale hills provide a characteristic backdrop to the "heritage" areas of this characterful old mill town. While most of its mills have now been superseded by other developments, Bacup retains its old town centre. The picturesque shops are complemented by a traditional market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a popular flea market on Fridays with many of the market shops also open.
Bacup Natural History SocietyThe Natural History Society in Yorkshire Street is home to many a fascinating artifact in its small museum (open Thursday evenings 7.30 - 9.30 p.m.). The Library is housed in the imposing Mechanics' Institute premises: Bacup Camera Club maintains a display of their stunning pictures here, on subjects both local and general.

Bacup also has an international claim to fame: it is where you will find Elgin Street - at only 17 feet long, it's the shortest street in the world.

Bacup Links

In association with See also our Links page.

Books about Bacup include this new one, and

"The Book of Bacup", written by local Historian Ken Bowden, is packed with information about Bacup's history.

In October 2000 the face of Bacup changed forever, when Vic White, Bacup's much-loved traditional pork butcher, closed his shop for the last time. Go HERE for report and pictures of the "end of an era".

Bacup People: Bacup Times
DEREK CLARKSON, renowned ceramicist
John Cowell, author - his book, The Broken Biscuit, is a true story with a Bacup link
JENNY RANDLES,U.F.O. specialist, was born in Bacup.
Rossendale has been described as "U.F.O. Alley"!
Betty Jackson, designer
Opera Singer Sean Ruane
R. S. Ireland's famous black puddings
Actress Jane Horrocks is from Rossendale
David Sydney Billington, world's greatest swimmer?
Sir Paul McCartney's cousin, Performer and writer Ted Robbins lives in Stacksteads
Author George Clarke
Sam Aston, who plays cheeky Chesney Brown in TV's Coronation Street, is a Bacup lad. Eric Potts (Diggory Compton in the "Street") lives in Shawforth.
Phil Neville, Manchester United footballer, used to live in Rossendale
Britannia Coconut Dancers

A leafy lane somewhere in Rossendale
Leafy Rossendale lane with hill view.

Photograph by Mrs. Sheila Riley.

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