Rossendale is a dramatic, undulating landscape peppered with characterful towns and villages. Reservoirs, old stone quarries, textile mills and chimneys are all iconic features of this valley on the Lancashire side of the South Pennines.
Rossendale is home to Bacup, acclaimed as one of the best-preserved cotton towns in England. Look out for weavers’ cottages – there are many scattered across the town – and Bacup Natural History Museum.
As well as its important cotton heritage, Rossendale is famous for its links to the footwear trade. Be sure to visit the Slipper Museum at Rawtenstall, walk the Shoe Trail or catch a performance by the clog-dancing Britannia Coconutters!
More recently, the Rossendale Valley has become renowned for its arts and crafts. Look out for Open Days at Valley Artists situated in a Victorian slipper mill in Waterfoot, or pop in to the Whitaker Museum and the Mather Gallery in Rawtenstall.
Know what the locals know…
Ramsbottom plays host to the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships each September and the World Gravy Wrestling Championships are held in Stacksteads each August. Not for the faint-hearted.
As well as being home to the Bare Arts Beer Shop, Stacksteads is where you can have your own Top Gun moment at Flightdeck Experience.
Rossendale buildings are made from sandstone grit, still quarried from Scout Moor. This stone has paved the streets of London, including Trafalgar Square.
Get on yer bike! The internationally-renowned ‘Adrenaline Gateway’ at Bacup’s Lee Quarry is THE place to test your mountain bike skills. Or cycle the Rolling Boar Trails and take in the views of the Rossendale Valley.
Follow the Irwell Sculpture Trail – a linear exhibition which features 70 sculptures between Bacup and Salford Quays.
Head to Fitzpatrick’s, the country’s last temperance bar, and try a cordial in surroundings dating to 1890.
Get on board the East Lancashire Railway or sit and watch the world go by from the Buffer Stops bar at Rawtenstall station.
Take a walk in the enchanting Healey Dell Conservation Area followed by coffee and cake in the tea rooms. Don’t forget to make a wish at the Fairy Chapel.
Fill your ears with the sounds produced by the Singing Ringing Tree. Windy days will never be the same again. Other Rossendale sounds? Listen out for brass bands, the clattering of looms, the whistle of a steam train.
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