The village of Wycoller lies in the Lancaster countryside, surrounded by several of the county’s bustling centres. Burnley lies to the southwest, Halifax to the southeast and Manchester due south. Despite its proximity to these modern towns and cities, Wycoller remains firmly planted in the past.
The formerly abandoned village is a tourist hotspot, as it retains many features from its ancient roots.
Historians believe Wycoller’s foundations could date back to 10,000 BC.
Tourists can see bridges of potentially neolithic origin (6,000 BC) and comparatively modern features such as 16th-century Wycoller Hall.
Cars are one of the few features of a tourist village people won’t see during their visit, however, as in order to preserve its idyllic atmosphere, locals have opted to ban vehicular traffic.
People only need to take an hours’ journey to escape the bustle of Manchester for the peace of Wycoller.
They will have to park in one of two car parks at the outskirts of the village before taking a brief one-mile trek to the centre.
The village’s hold on the past doesn’t stop with the car ban.
Anyone who visits may find they come into contact with one or two of its resident ghosts.
The settlement and its hall have long hosted two phantom figures according to local legend; the phantom horseman and Black Bess.
Rumours state Simon Cunliffe, a squire at the hall during the 17th century, killed his wife of fright following a fox hunt gone wrong.
Legend states people can still hear the horse’s hooves clattering on the bridge and see the deceased Cunliffe walk into the hall.
Following a scream, the spectral figure then returns from whence he came.
Although people have reported sightings and sounds, there is no squire named Simon Cunliffe in Wycoller’s historical records.
Nevertheless, the Cunliffe family’s presence allegedly spawned another ghost.
A separate legend states another Cunliffe once travelled to the West Indies to marry a local woman but had doubts as he returned to Wycoller.
The husband pushed his new wife into the sea on his return, and she tracked him to England, where she haunts the village as “Black Bess”.