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  • Barlick
Barnoldswick, looking across Craven and the Yorkshire Dales.jpg
A view from Weets Hill across Barnoldswick and Craven towards Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales.
Population 11,005 (2011)
OS grid reference SD875465
Civil parish
  • Barnoldswick
  • Pendle
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BB18
Dialling code 01282
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament
  • Pendle
List of places
LancashireCoordinates: 53°54′53″N 2°11′22″W / 53.9147°N 2.1895°W / 53.9147; -2.1895

Barnoldswick (colloquially known as Barlick) is a town and civil parish in Lancashire, England. Near the county border with North Yorkshire, it is just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The town is built in the shadow of Weets Hill, and Stock Beck, a tributary of the River Ribble, runs through the town. It has a population of 11,005.

Barnoldswick and the surrounding areas of West Craven were part of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire between 876 (the earliest known written reference to the Ridings of York in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles) and 1974, when local government was reorganised; West Riding County Council and Barnoldswick Urban District Council were abolished and replaced in this area by the Borough of Pendle, a part of Lancashire.

Situated on the lower slopes of Weets Hill in the Pennines astride the natural watershed between the Ribble and Aire valleys, Barnoldswick is the highest town on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, lying on the summit level of the canal between Barrowford Locks to the south west and Greenberfield Locks just north east of the town. It is approximately 30 miles (48 km) from the cities of Leeds, Manchester and Preston. Nearby towns include Skipton to the east, Clitheroe to the west, Burnley to the south and Keighley to the east southeast.

Barnoldswick, with 12 letters, is one of the longest place names in the United Kingdom without repeating any letters. Buckfastleigh, Devon; Buslingthorpe, Leeds, West Yorkshire; and Buslingthorpe, Lincolnshire are longer, with 13 letters, while Bricklehampton in Worcestershire has 14.


Barnoldswick dates back to Anglo Saxon times. It was listed in the Domesday Book as Bernulfesuuic, meaning Bernulf's Town (uuic being an archaic spelling of wick, meaning settlement, in particular, a dairy farm).

A Cistercian monastery was founded there in 1147 by monks from Fountains Abbey. However they left after six years, before construction was complete, driven out by crop failures and locals unhappy at their interference in the affairs of the local church. They went on to build Kirkstall Abbey. They returned after another ten years to build the isolated Church of St Mary-le-Ghyll close to the road between Barnoldswick and Thornton in Craven.

For hundreds of years Barnoldswick remained a small village. However, the arrival of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and later the (now closed) railway, spurred the development of the existing woollen industry, and helped it to become a major cotton town. The engine of the last mill to be built in Barnoldswick, Bancroft Mill, has been preserved and is now open as a tourist attraction - a 600hp steam engine which is still operational.


Barnoldswick is often cited as the largest town in the British Isles not to be served by any A-roads. However, in spite of this, road links to the town are comparatively good; easy access to the M65, A65 and A59 means that Manchester, Preston, Leeds and Bradford can all be reached in an hour by car.

Barnoldswick was formerly served by Barnoldswick railway station, the only station on the Midland Railway's branch line off the Skipton to Colne Line, though this was shut under the Beeching Axe in 1965. The pressure group Selrap is currently campaigning for the reopening of the Skipton to Colne line, and although their plans do not include the Barnoldswick Branch, rail travel to the town would be improved by such a reopening. At present, would-be rail passengers must travel via Colne or Clitheroe for trains serving Lancashire, or via Skipton for trains serving North and West Yorkshire.

Public transport to the town is therefore restricted to buses. Barnoldswick lies on the bus routes between Skipton and Burnley and between Skipton and Clitheroe/Preston, operated by Transdev in Burnley & Pendle and Preston bus respectively. On Sundays there is a service from Burnley to Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales National Park that passes through Barnoldswick.

The nearest airports are Manchester (about 1¼ hours by car or about 3 hours by public transport) and Leeds Bradford (just over 1 hour by car or about 2 hours by public transport).

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