Regions

Cumbria

Cumbria is home to the Lake District National Park, the wild Cumbrian west coast, and greatest English mountains. Its very name evokes images of Britain’s most beautiful countryside, a land of myths and legends, with more complete stone circles than any other county.  ‘The Lake District’ also evokes country cottages, cosy pubs, the poetic landscapes of the Romantic Movement and the world of Beatrix Potter. Here residents and visitors alike feel the true power within the land, coming specifically to enter into a communion with Nature, and to be at one with the seasons as the year wheel turns.

Religious impulse and fulfilment have often been allied to a sense of closeness to the splendour of nature. This is borne out by the rich tapestry of faiths that make up the religious population of Cumbria as well as the plentiful civic rites from Ambleside’s traditional rush bearing parade to Ulverston’s contemporary rivers of light.

Needless to say we also have a flourishing population of adherents to the Old Religion. Druids, Shamans, Heathens and Wiccans meet in groves, groups, blots  and covens as they have always done; pagan moots meet in pubs and cafes, and to camp together and sing around bonfires, and semi-public outdoor festivals are organised on a regular basis. Experienced and initiated Priests and Priestesses undertake baby naming, handfastings and requiems, and CRB checked counsellors and chaplains attend hospitals, hospices and prisons to provide for the needs of  Cumbrian Pagans.

As you get to know the area you will find  some great magical places, such as Kirkby Stephen with the famous Loki Stone in the church, pretty Ulverston  with its cobbled streets, Kendal with its lovely ruined castle, not far from Levens Hall with its glass goblet reputed to have been given by the fairies as “the luck of Levens”.

 

As well as our stunning national Park with its mountains and coasts we have some of the best stone circles in Britain, including Long Meg and Castle Rigg, as well as others which are often quiet and far from the tourist trail. We also have Cumbria’s little known but deeply spiritual Humphrey Head was the place of sanctuary to the last wolf in England, and the now defunct holy well.The Dent Meditation Centre is not Pagan, but has a great programme for personal and psychic development. For those in search of something a bit more lively the Carlisle Moot meets regularly every month of a Saturday lunchtime in front of the Guildhall (see Moots and Groups).

In Cumbria various Pagan paths and organisations exist side by side often very quietly. It can be disheartening for people who are trying to find their way in Paganism, but attending the various friendly camps in lovely surroundings is a very good way to meet like-minded people.

 

North Lancashire

Lancashire has a rich heritage in occult lore, and is the site of the brooding Pendle Hill and the Lancashire witch trials. There are several Pendle Witch walks and The Castle at Lancaster offers a tour which features these famous prisoners. For those more interested in the natural world than the historical Festival Bowland provides year round celebrations of the natural beauty of the Forest of Bowland.

Lancaster itself home to some very vibrant and social pagan groups with Lune Pagans in town and Lancaster University hosting the second longest running University Pagan Society (after UCLAN in Central Lancashire), which welcomes non-students, (see moots and groups).
The famous Blue Whale café offers wonderful vegetarian and gluten free food and The Gregson Centre is home to many of the towns other alternative groups. Or if you like your witchy history visit The Golden Lion on Moor Lane where the Pendle Witches supposedly had their last drink according to the plaque outside and the memorabilia within.
Morecambe, over the river boasts some of the greyest weather known to man and was home to one of the top comedians of the sixties, Eric Morecambe. It’s also the place for one of the most enthusiastic pagan groups in the northwest.

Lancashire is home to the mysterious fairy steps near Beetham, beautifully magical walking country as well as Silverdale, one of Britain’s top ten camps sites at Gibraltar Farm, and some of the North West Pagans’ favourite camps. The Wolfhouse Gallery at Silverdale offers lovely food in congenial surroundings and looks out towards Cumbria.

 

Manchester, Bolton and Oldham

This sub-region covers the M, BL and OL postcode areas. As well as Bolton, Oldham and the big cities of Manchester and Salford this area includes other industrial south east Lancashire towns like Rochdale, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bacup and Bury. It extends as far as Westhaughton, Ramsbottom and Littleborough. There is a small bit of the West Riding of Yorkshire around Todmorden and Saddleworth, and a bit of Cheshire around Sale and Carrington.

Although a lot of the area is built up, there is also plenty of countryside and a few surviving ancient sites such as the Pike Stones on Anglezarke Moor and the stone circle at Cheetham Close near Turton. Anglezarke is a sparsely populated civil parish in the Borough of Chorley. It is dominated by reservoirs that were built to supply water to Liverpool, and a large expanse of moorland with evidence of Bronze Age settlements. Popular with walkers and tourists, it lies in the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire, and is close to the towns of Chorley, Horwich andDarwen.

There are also sites of modern pagan celebration such as Holcombe Hill, Rivington Pike and the moors above Oldham where Alex and Maxine Sanders performed rituals in the 1960’s. Some locations in Manchester are also significant in the history of modern paganism such as the John Rylands library, Corn Exchange and Northern Quarter along with the suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

Manchester is also home to one of the regions longest running pub moots meeting in The Waldorf on the first Monday of the month. Radcliffe also hosts a well established moot and there is a newer one in Bolton too. For details of these moots please select the moots tab.

Robin, the Regional Contact for Manchester says:

“Although I have been Pagan for some years now I never get tired of meeting new people and chatting about pagan topics. If you want more info about the area, or just want to get in touch, please contact me at jackdore51@yahoo.co.uk

 

Stockport, North East Cheshire and High Peak

Besides Stockport the SK postcode area covers a large area of north east Cheshire including Macclesfield, Hyde and Stalybridge and part of Derbyshire including Glossop and the spa town of Buxton. There is plenty of varied beautiful countryside ranging from typical Cheshire mere and moss country to the hills and moors of the western Peak District containing ancient sites galore. One of the most significant finds from the pre-Christian era was discovered at Lindow Moss, just outside Wilmslow when Lindow Man was unearthed in the 1980’s.

 

The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is steeped in history, and has many Pagan sites of interest. The name itself derives from that of the Celtic sea God Mannanen; it is the Isle of Mannanen with all its wonderful shores and Celtic beauty. Curator at Manx National Heritage Museum Allison Fox looks after a fine necklace dating from the 10th Century. She says of the owner, known as “The Pagan Lady”, She was buried within the Christian cemetery at Peel Castle but she had grave goods with her which is a feature of a Pagan burial, including charms, and has been described as a healer and shaman. The Pagan Lady’s Necklace is currently on display at the Manx Museum in Douglas. It was of course once the site of the Witchcraft Museum where Gerald Gardner was the resident witch and curator, also running there the coven that went on to initiate the first Wiccans in America. Today the Isle of Man remains a very popular holiday destination and home to a number of Pagans and initiates of the Western Mystery Traditions.

5 comments

  1. didi says:

    I am trying to find a priest and priestess to do a traditional pagan handfasting. I wish to find someone who will open the circle and invite the god and goddess to join the celebration. I am in Norfolk and would appreciate any help you can give me
    thank you for your time

    blessed be

    1. admin says:

      Hi Didi,

      We’re the Pagan Federation North West so we don’t really cover Norfolk. However this website might be a good start for what you’re looking for:

      http://www.paganfed.org/distr-g.shtml

      I think a good email for you to start with is robinherne@hotmail.com

      I hope you find what you’re looking for!

      Blessed Be,
      Mish

  2. Gary says:

    Are there any gatherings in horwich?

    1. Mish says:

      Gary – have you tried our Moots & Groups page? http://paganfednw.com/?page_id=16

      There are some groups around Manchester and Bolton that you might find useful.

  3. Lea Giudici says:

    Hi all, I am trying to move to the UK. Does any of you know of a job in a pagan or wiccan environment? I would be open to working as waitress or cashier in a magick shop or a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, or maid/nanny/governess in a family interested in a bilingual speaking help, Italian/English. I also teach Italian. Please, if you know of any position, please get in touch with me in pv. Blessings, LeA

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