Tourist guide to Chipping

ANCIENT ORIGINS: The village of Chipping was mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086

ANCIENT ORIGINS: The village of Chipping was mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086

First published in What's On Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

CHIPPING lies in the valley of the River Loud, but it has its own babbling brook and is protected in a fold between the Bleasdale and Longridge Fells.

Although the spelling of Chipping has shown variations over the centuries, there is no doubt that the word means market.

This fact was mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086.

In those days Chipping was surrounded by marshland, not at all suitable for building, but there was a rocky knoll on which the church and the market were sited.

It made sense to hold the market on Sundays so that to avoid travelling long distances on foot more than once each week.

There has almost certainly been a church on the present site from Saxon times, but St Bartholomews dates to 1240 with tower added in 1450.

Outside is a sundial dated 1708, but its base is said to be older than the even more ancient market cross.

St Bartholomew has a splendid example of modern stained glass in the east window.

This was dedicated in 1966 to the chairmaker John Berry.

It shows all the tools of the chairmaking trade, and the sources of power - namely water and fire.

It also shows chairs of Lancashire spindle-back design, examples of which can be seen in the church itself.

A short walk from the church down a lane with steep edges, ideal cover for birds whatever the season, leads to Berry's furniture factory.

The sound of the sawmill and the smell of timber and sawdust fill the air.

Huge trunks of beech and ash are fed into one end of the factory, once a water powered cotton mill, and finished furniture emerges at the other.

The Forest of Bowland had ample timber for its intense needs and Chipping Brook, tumbling down from Parlick Pike, provided power to turn the mighty water wheel.

This no longer functions, but is still intact within the body of the busy factory.

At one time Chipping Brook, which is a tributary of the Loud and then the Hodder, provided the power for five cotton mills.

One now houses the chair factory, another later specialised in the production of cheese and a third was part of the Water Wheel restaurant.

A close look at the village will reveal some grand old pubs including the Sun, the Talbot and the Tillotsons Arms.

This trio catered for customers during the turnpike period during the 19th century.

Among the equally impressive old buildings and shops is the old home of the 17th century philanthropist John Brabin.

He left money to establish a school and a set of houses still situated on the well-named Windy Street.

The village is a focal point for hang gliders, cyclists and walkers, many of whom congregate at the Cobbled Corner Tea Shop, which is a family-owned restaurant.

Hang gliders hurl themselves from the top of Parlick Pike, the highest point in the area, and once a beacon hill.

This was part of a chain of bonfires ignited wherever danger threatened, as was the case at the time of the Spanish Armada and the Napoleonic Wars.

There is good free parking in Chipping and its surrounding lush countryside makes for excellent cycling, strolling, sketching or photography.

In short, here is a perfect English village. On the outskirts of the village is Leagram Hall.

Footpaths around it reveal the presence of a 14th century deer park.

Still marked on the Ordnance Survey map are footpaths passing through Buck Banks and Higher and Lower Fence Wood.

Near to Chipping the Loud meets the Hodder. Here is the ancient bridge at the well-named Doeford.

The ancient ford can still be seen under the bridge first built in the 17th century.

At Bleasdale is an even more ancient structure. This is the wood henge, signed from the church there.

It was established during the Stone Age.

There is a wildlife park and farm at Chipping which has captive wild boar.

In the church is a 17th century chest which came from St Bartholomews Hospital in London.

It was given by a local parishoner in 1973.

Also in the church is a stone dating to Saxon times which may be part of a cross or perhaps a font.

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