Wycoller is a beautiful, or perhaps too beautiful, a hamlet in Lancashire, close to the border with Yorkshire. It is just a couple of miles from where I lived as a child and I knew it as an abounded hamlet that was a great place for kids to play in and explore. We would climb all over the ruins and then try and tickle fish in the local beck.
Once a year the local primary school, Trawden, used to hold a cricket match against a school from Padiham. It felt light we were being visited by pupils from the big city, in spite of Padiham being just a small town itself. The match would take place on the green in Wycoller, just the other side of the beck and in the shadows of the abandoned Wycoller Hall.
The ruins of Wycoller Hall are central to the village, which itself dates back to before the 10th century BC. The hall is supposedly haunted, after the lord of the manor murdered his own wife there in a fit of jealousy! His spectre can still be heard riding up Wycoller Dean whenever the weather is particularly inclement…… ‘Ferndean Manor’ in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre is thought to have be based on Wycoller Hall. The hamlet also appears in at least one film, “The Railway Children”.
There are a couple of interesting bridges that cross the beck. There is the beautiful “Pack-Horse Bridge” near the village centre which is twin arched and a little further up “Clam Bridge” which is a single slab of stone thought to be of neolithic origin.
Alas, progress and popularity arrived and the village is now full to overflowing with tourists and, for me at least, it has lost much of its charm. The houses are all renovated, consumerism is rife, and quiet and tranquil are adjectives no longer applicable to the place. No doubt the shop and cafe owners are content, if not the actual residents. I wonder if they still play cricket on the green?
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