The Rossendale Valley is a beautiful and distinctive part of East Lancashire, its dramatic, undulating landscape peppered with characterful towns and villages, reservoirs, old stone quarries, textile mills and chimneys. These are all iconic features of this valley where the Irwell wends its way south towards Manchester.
Rossendale has the distinction of not being a place but a collection of towns and villages. Its main town and local government centre is Rawtenstall, with Bacup, Crawshawbooth, Edenfield, Haslingden, Waterfoot and Whitworth, among smaller villages and hamlets, making up what is known locally as ‘The Valley.’
Here, visitors experience its glorious landscape and a warm welcome from a community renowned for its humour and hospitality.
Rossendale is alive with something for everyone, from heritage attractions telling the story of the cotton and shoe industies to specialist shopping experiences. You can ride on a traditional steam train which puffs its way from its Rawtenstall terminus on the East Lancashire Railway down the valley to Bury and Heywood, or be guided along one of the many countryside walkways. Rossendale is famed for its wealth of extreme/adrenaline sports.
The internationally known Lee Quarry at Bacup, has become the most talked-about mountain bike centre in the country… seeing is truly believing, so come see what the fuss is all about.
Meanwhile, the Grip and Go climbing wall at the Adrenaline Centre, Haslingden, is a must for those with a thirst for highs.
Rossendale is also well known for its dry ski slope at Rawtenstall, one of the country’s first to be built. You can ski like you’re on the Alps but with the amazing Rossendale Valley scenery. Many novice skiers learn the ropes before heading to the snowy slopes of Europe.
There are watersports galore in Whitworth, as well as motor crossing.
The whole of the Valley is really accessible with strong road links including the M66, and excellent transport services. You won’t find it difficult to move around and take it all in.
Walking in Rossendale is not just a walk but an adventure. It can be a window into the Valley’s industrial heritage, a gastronomic experience or a cultural insight into the creativity that exists within Rossendale. There are many guided trails available to the visitor.
The Routes Around Rossendale project provides a series of way marked circular loop paths to explore the Rossendale Valley from Waterfoot to Shawforth. The loop paths are designed for beginner to intermediate walkers and range from urban roads to the country tracks of the Pennine Bridleway and Mary Towneley Loop. All loop paths start and end at a main car park and always bring you back to the main arterial road that cuts through the heart of the valley.
Winding its way from Bacup to Salford Quays, the Irwell Sculpture Trail features more than 70 artworks by locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists. Extending over 33 miles through Salford, Bury and Rossendale, the trail is the largest sculpture route in the UK and makes a great free day out for all the family, connecting local heritage, the landscape and communities.
The trail also links a host of cultural attractions from art galleries and museums to the East Lancashire Railway.
Rossendale has more public footpaths than any other borough in England with its own unique working landscape; mills and rivers line the valley bottoms and the hills are peppered with remote farmhouses and dry stone walls.
Rural Rossendale run an annual walking festival that provides the opportunity to sample the unique foods of Rossendale while enjoying the beauty and character of the Valley.
Shoppers are well catered for in Rossendale, where the shopping experience is different from every other high street. There are niche, artisan shops on all the Valley’s high streets, and characterful local markets.
In addition to specialist markets in Helmshore, Whitworth and Bacup and the markets of Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Bacup, three new regular markets are coming to Rossendale; the Rawtenstall Farmers’ Market and the bi-monthly Clog Market, both to be sited on Rawtenstall Town Square, and the Victorian Craft Market at Haslingden Market. These new markets will become an exciting new attraction for visitors to the Valley and add to the already vibrant Rossendale market scene.
History and heritage is abundant in the valley’s buildings and in the traditions still practised throughout the Valley. Its many museums exhibit the Valley’s industrial and cultural heritage in contemporary surroundings, offering excellent activities and facilities not normally associated with museums. The Valley’s history of footwear manufacture continues with specialist makers and
discount footwear shops.
The retro scene is well represented at Bacup, which can now boast a Vintage Retro market on the first Saturday of the month and four vintage retro shops, with two more due to open soon.
For foodies, Rossendale has a proud history of excellent quality local produce, from award winning butchers to famous black puddings. From “hot-rock” steaks to the country’s last traditional temperance bar, Rossendale Valley has a wealth of places to tickle your taste buds.
When it comes to dining out, Rossendale has gained a strong reputation for fine food and local produce. As a semi-rural area local, fresh produce is in abundance.
An increasing number of Rossendale’s eating establishments display the ‘Taste Lancashire’ logo signifying that they consistently provide a high quality dining experience and show a commitment to the use of local produce. When you are out and about look out for the Taste Lancashire logo which ensures that eating and drinking experiences will be the best you can find.
Rossendale boasts a fantastic depth of culture, arts and entertainment.
The night-time entertainment offer in Rossendale is varied and exciting, from open mic nights in local bars and restaurants to acoustic sessions in a museum!
Performers range from rock bands and folk groups to the famous Coconutters clog dancers of Britannia village, the internationally acclaimed puppet theatre of The Boo at Waterfoot and the shows at newly refurbished Royal Court Theatre, Bacup.
You’ll be amazed at what you find in Rossendale… there are even competitions for gravy wrestling and black pudding throwing!