Badger Wells Cairn, Pendle Hill, Lancashire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – SD 783 396

Getting Here

Start at the Nick of Pendle and walk up the footpath towards the denuded Apronful of Stones’ cairn.  Keep going up the hill for another 300 yards or so, just past where there’s a path that turns-off towards the ritual Deer Stones. As you walk upwards, in front of you you’ll see the tell-tale sign of many small stones scattered in their tell-tale manner, rising up at the edge of the footpath. This is it!

Archaeology & History

This was the third in a group of previously unrecognized giant cairns that I found in August 2006 (it certainly wasn’t in the archaeology records anyway), all on the south side of our legendary Pendle Hill — and it’s bloody huge!  However, unlike the other two (the Devil’s Apronful and the Lower Apronful of Stones, further down the slopes), this one doesn’t seem as certain as the other two, but it’s still worth including here and cannot be discounted until a decent archaeological assessment has been made.

Looking up to the height of the Badger Wells Cairn
Looking up to the height of the Badger Wells Cairn
Section of the surface remains, showing thousands of stones
Section of the surface remains, showing thousands of stones

Just like its companion cairns, although it’s covered over with much soil and grasses, all round the edges are hundreds of small stones and rocks, of the same type and size as the other two a bit further down the hill, and similar to the Skirtful of Stones on Ilkley and elsewhere.  The overgrown heap of stones here stands about ten-feet tall from the lower western edge and measures approximately 28 yards (north-south) by 20 yards (east-west).

Although this cairn is named after the nearby Badger Wells — which gets its name either from the local badger population, or else the old ‘badger-men’ who used to trade hereby — another fresh water source also emerges near the bottom of its western side.

Upon asking a couple of passers-by (they were local regular walkers up this great hill) about this and the other giant overgrown cairns upon this hill, they didn’t have a clue they existed — although they did suggest we contact the Lord of Downham on the north side of the hill. And so there we ventured, in search of the Great Stone – and guess who we bumped into…?

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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One thought on “Badger Wells Cairn, Pendle Hill, Lancashire”

  1. A raised causeway leads from this cairn directly to Deerstones Quarry – this landscape feature must be considered when looking at this ‘large pile of stones’ and placed in context.

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