Local people have spent some forty years supporting the conservation and interpretation of Pendle Forest, its countryside, hamlets and villages all of which form part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
The gateway to the AONB is Park Hill, Barrowford, an ancient farming and textile settlement that goes back to medieval times. The Pendle heritage Centre has rescued several buildings in addition to Park Hill. These include a Georgian Toll House, an Eighteenth Century Barn, and the magnificent Higherford Mill, now used as an arts centre.
Higham, where the Centre restored a row of cottages, is another historic village. Roughlee, Sabden, Newchurch, Fence and Barley are others. All of them, like Barrowford, were part of the medieval Pendle Forest which lay on the southern flanks of Pendle Hill. In the mid 1200s, the De Lacy overlords established there twelve vaccary cattle farms, for raising oxen. After disafforestation in 1507, the farms evolved into the parishes and villages of Pendleside.