A river runs through a piece of true history

The visitor centre at the Brockholes Nature Reserve at Samlesbury
The visitor centre at the Brockholes Nature Reserve at Samlesbury
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Samlesbury is a small, popular and attractive village which boasts a clutch of distinctive landmarks.

The most notable of these are the historic Samlesbury Hall, an aerodrome and, of course, the River Ribble.

Samlesbury Hall is a manor house built in 1325 which been many things since then including a public house and girls boarding school, but since 1925, when it was saved from being demolished for its timber, it has been administered by a registered charitable trust, the Samlesbury Hall Trust. This Grade I listed medieval manor house attracts more than 50,000 visitors each year.

In the 1600s it was home to John Southworth who was martyred in 1654 for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith.

Today, the hall is run as a museum, gallery and function venue. There is a gallery and shop in which to sample Lancashire’s finest, from locally-produced food and drink to art and design. There is also an antiques’ centre.

Within the Tudor grounds is a wildflower maze, plant centre and miniature farm.

Tours of Samlesbury Hall can be taken and there are regular theatre productions, concerts and ghost hunts. The hall is also licensed to hold civil wedding ceremonies.

Samlesbury aerodrome began life in the 1930s as a joint civil airport and is today owned and operated by BAE Systems.

The River Ribble meanders to the east of the village, and Samlesbury is also home to the Grade I listed St Leonard the Less Church of England Parish Church.

Towards the southern end of the village lies the hamlet of Samlesbury Bottoms and the 19th century Samlesbury Bottoms Mill. This is located on the banks of the River Darwen and was formerly a cotton-spinning mill.

A short walk along the footpath upstream from here is a large, impressive weir created when the mill owners decided to dam the river in order to provide water power for the mill.

Samlesbury War Memorial Hall is home to thriving activities including a food club held on every fourth Thursday. It also hosts dancing classes and young farmers’meetings.

In an infamous piece of Samlesbury history, the Samlesbury witches – Jane Southworth, Jennet Brierley, and Ellen Brierley – were accused of childmurder and cannibalism.

They were tried at the Lancaster Assizes on August 19, 1612, in the same trials as the notorious Pendle witches case. All three were found not guilty in a trial which one historian described as “largely a piece of anti-Catholic propaganda”.