THE unspoilt Burnley hamlet of Hurstwood is one of Lancashire's most remote gems of history and natural history, reached by narrow roads and field paths.

Hurstwood is set in the valley of the River Brun from which Burnley takes its name. Hurstwood Hall and Spencer Cottage are both Elizabethan and are unspoiled.

The later is a Tudor cottage where the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser lived as a youth between 1576 to 1578.

He is most famous for his Faerie Queen but from a local perspective his Shepherd's Kalender contains many Lancashire dialect words and accurate descriptions of wildlife.

He wrote the Faerie Queen for his beloved Rose Dynely of the Towneley family. Rose would, however, have "nowt" to do with a poet. So Edmund went to London, dedicated his work to Queen Elizabeth and thus made his fortune.

The 16th century Tattersall tenement is of interest to the horse racing fraternity because the founder of the famous horse sales was a Hurstwood lad.

The Tattersall stables where he learned his trade are still occupied.

At the end of the hamlet an extensive car park has been built and informative posters show the circular route around Hurstwood reservoir which was only built in 1925.

The circuit of around two miles is a naturalists' delight and on the circuit is said to be the scene of the battle of Brunenburk.

Freeman, the historian writing in the 19th century, wrote that the "fight of AD 937 was the hardest victory that the Angles and Saxons ever won".