Focusing on the history of the upper Hodder Valley in the Forest of Bowland

Welcome to the website of Slaidburn Archive


The Archive holds an extensive collection of historical resources for genealogical, village, farmstead and agricultural research in the Hodder Valley within the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Lancashire. The area of interest extends from Tosside, along the Hodder from Slaidburn to the Whitewell area and encompasses nearby villages such as Grindleton, Bolton-by-Bowland, and Bashall Eaves. Of particular interest is the area of Dalehead and the hamlet of Stocks-in-Bowland, much of which is now beneath Stocks Reservoir or the plantations of Gisburn Forest. Most of the Archive's geographical area of interest was within the historic county of the West Riding of Yorkshire prior to 1974.

The Archive has a part-time Administrator, Helen Wallbank, and two regular volunteers. Other supporters assist on an ad hoc basis. All records are open for inspection and research by members of the public, and this website provides a brief summary of our collections and advice for visiting the Archive. Some of the fruits of the research by the Archive are published in book form and are available for purchase at modest cost.


  • Act as a repository for people to deposit family collections and memorabilia relating to the upper Hodder Valley;
  • Record the history of farms, buildings and land as well as the traditions and customs of the inhabitants of the Hodder Valley;
  • Provide information in the form of exhibitions, talks and walks to the community to further their understanding of the history of the local area;
  • Involve young people, not only through local schools, but other youth organisations.

St Andrew's Church, Slaidburn

Church of St. Andrew, Slaidburn. Probably c. 1450 with early C17th alterations. Parts of the tower may date to c. 1200.

Recent activities

The Archive team undertake research and outreach programmes to inform and educate the local communities on the history of this beautiful valley. Current and recent activities include:

  • Researching and producing a display for the Hodder Valley Show about local property and stock sales;
  • Researching and producing books on World War 2, local peat cutting and Bashall Eaves;
  • Researching and producing displays on St George's Church Dunsop Bridge, Royal Celebrations in Slaidburn, Slaidburn Steam Rally, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits to Bowland, our Parish Churches, and Slaidburn War Memorial 1923 - 2023;
  • Attending the Lancashire Archaeology Day at Clitheroe Castle and the Forest of Bowland AONB Hay Time Day;
  • Researching and staging an exhibition at Tosside Fox Festival and elsewhere about the history of Tosside;
  • Researching and staging an exhibition at the Hodder Valley Show and elsewhere about the former Slaidburn Co-op store;
  • Attending Slaidburn Steam Rally, the Hark to Bounty Christmas Market and other local venues with publications;
  • Organising and staging a day to commemorate the end of WW1 with displays and speakers;
  • Developing an exhibition to commemorate the Dunsop Bridge flood of 1967;
  • Supporting William Lord Bowland in the world premier of his commissioned four-part song cycle 'Music of the Forest: Bowland Song Cycle', composed by Christopher Gibbs - details on the AONB website;
  • Research and preparation of an exhibition to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of Brennand's Endowed School;
  • Developing an exhibition to commemorate the local impact of the First World War, and presenting to local schools;
  • Undertaking documentary research and field studies to determine if Stephen Park in Gisburn Forest was a medieval deer-park founded by the Hamerton family (the report can be downloaded from the Forest of Bowland AONB website page on deer-parks);
  • Staging an exhibition at the Hodder Valley Show (and elsewhere) titled “Dalehead of Longer Since” about life in Dalehead before the reservoir, and the fate of the various farms;
  • Compiling photographs of the Hodder Valley Shows, May Queens, Steam Rallies and other local events to make a permanent, accessible record;
  • Accepting and organising a collection of local newspaper records from a local news publisher;
  • Assisting the Lord of Bowland to host his annual October event and visit local organisations such as the Young Farmers;
  • Supporting the local memorial services to the airmen of the Second World War killed on the Bowland Fells;
  • Interpreting and reporting on an eighteenth century dispute map acquired by the Archive regarding contentious peat digging on a local fell;
  • Developing and presenting activities at some local primary schools on the interpretation of historical maps of their village and pupils' individual houses and farms, to note and understand the changed landscape over the centuries.

Continuing activities are updating the Archive inventory - checking the collections and adding new acquisitions - and working in the communities to gather photographs, documents, listen to oral history and promote our role.


Washing sheep at Lower Underhand Farm, Newton c. 1920.

Newton and Dunsop

Hodder Valley towards Dunsop Bridge from above Newton.

The Archive is normally open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Visitors are advised to contact the Archive to verify that it will be open on the date of your proposed visit.



The Archive Administrator is Helen Wallbank. Slaidburn Archive buildings are facilitated by the Heritage Trust for the North West

The Archive is a registered charity, no. 1167560.