Tourist guide to Simonstone

TRAVEL EXPENSES: The old toll house at Simonstone, where travellers would pay before continuing their journey

TRAVEL EXPENSES: The old toll house at Simonstone, where travellers would pay before continuing their journey

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

Simonstone was once an important village situated on the old coach road, first planned in the 19th century, which still has traces of this once vital route between Burnley and Whalley.

Look out for the Simonstone Bar at the road junction close to the school.

Here is the old toll house, now a private residence, which was the place where the tolls were collected.

So that the keeper, usually a retired soldier, could see all the traffic approaching, the house was shaped at angles which corresponded to the road directions.

Once the fee was paid, the Toll Bar was raised and the vehicle was allowed to pass on its way.

Look out for Toll Bar Cottage on the opposite side of the road.

Close by is the Stork, a popular hostelry with its substantial car park.

The establishment is usually painted red as befits the history of Simonstone.

The village was mostly owned by the Starkie family, who lived at the stately house of Huntroyd.

This is not open to the public but can be seen from the Huntroyd Garden Centre close to a number of farms which are also usually painted red.

The Stork was the heraldic emblem of the family. The present hall, built in 1576, is on the site of a former Tudor hunting lodge.

Huntroyd is not the only imposing old house in the village which is also privately owned.

There is also Simonstone Hall, built in the 17th century for the locally prominent Whitaker family.

From Simonstone make the short journey on the old road to Whalley to reach Read Bridge where there is a pull-in suitable for parking.

This was the site of the battle of Read Bridge, fought in April 1643.

The Parliamentary side, led by Colonel Starkie, defeated the Royalists, who were supported by the Towneleys of Burnley.

Follow the signs from Simonstone to the Trapp Forge, where the traditional skills of the blacksmith are demonstrated.

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