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Things to do in Nelson, Lancashire

Nelson is a typical Lancastrian industrial town built on the cotton industry.

Around the start of the 19th century, on the road between the towns of Burnley and Colne there was an inn called the Lord Nelson. Just off the road was a tiny village called Marsden. As the Lancashire cotton industry grew, a town started to grow around the inn, and it took its name from the inn. Nelson grew at a very fast rate, and swallowed up the villages of Marsden and Lomershaye.

Today Nelson has a population of 40,000 and has lost most of its industry. The town has a heavily redeveloped but compact fully pedestrianised centre, with a large shopping precinct which has just been renovated and extended. There is also another small shopping arcade and a covered market. There is ample parking in the centre, including a multi storey with a covered walkway connecting it to the shopping precinct. There is a railway halt and a large bus station, both of which are due to be redeveloped.

Nelson, like its sister town Colne is dominated by Pendle Hill. There are some lovely villages around Nelson including Barley which has a visitor centre, Barrowford which is home to Pendle Heritage Centre and the curiously named villages of Wheatley Lane and Fence.

Nelson has a long sporting heritage. The towns football team used to play in the Football League and its cricket team plays in the Lancashire League, widely regarded as one of the premier regional leagues.

Nelson is not an acutal tourist destination, but does have a lot of attractions on its doorstep including Townley Hall and Park at Burnley, Gawthorpe Hall at Padiham and Wycollar at Colne. There is a swimming pool called Pendle Wavelengths in the Town Centre. The Pennine Way also runs close to the town and the historic town of Clitheroe is nearby.

One thing to remember when visiting Nelson, is that the council operates a disc parking scheme. Similar to disabled parking discs, you need to pick up a disc at the Town Hall or in the local shops.

Description by Robert Holmes

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* Distances shown are in a direct line. Distances by road will be longer.
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