Old Oak Tree Cottage takes its name from the Grimshaw Oak that stands there. The Grimshaw Oak, so called, but it was here before the Grimshaws and is all that is left of a sacred grove of oaks from which Barrowford took its name.
The Grimshaw family in Crowtrees and elsewhere in Barrowford and Lancashire is one of the many lines of the Pendle Forest Grimshaws. This line apparently began when Thomas Grimshaw married Grace Gibson and the couple were subsequently invited to move to Crowtrees by Grace's two aging bachelor uncles who were living there. Thomas and Grace apparently moved from their home in Higham (now the "Four Alls Inn") to Crowtrees in the late 1700s.
This old oak is situated about half a mile up the river from the old bridge in Higherford. Its situation is most picturesque, standing athwart the vale of Pendle Water, with Blacko Hill, Brown Hill, Ridge and Utherstone for a background, and Pendle Water laving its roots. No one taking a walk by this beautiful river-side could overlook its venerable form, stretching out its sturdy arms to adorn the landscape and offering shelter to bird and beast. We do not know of its equal in the whole of Blackburnshire. This venerable relic of the ancient Pendle Forest is over 18 ft. in girth and its age has been computed as between 600 and 1,000 years. Surely this sacred oak will be preserved.
To quote Joe Bates (Boshemengro).
"It is known the wide world over wherever Barrowford men and women reside, the memory of it thrills the hearts of men and women in yankland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Its very leaves have grown into their souls. It is to them a tower of strength, guarding the sacred boundaries of the land they loved in their youth.
"They stood under it, made love under it, dreamed dreams beneath its spreading boughs, the sentiment of it is in their blood. It is their tree though they may never see it again."
Return to the riverside path and follow it on to cross the bridge at Watermeetings Farm. Pass through gate on L & follow track to ford & on upstream to go over footbridge.
Before crossing the footbridge notice the large standing stone. The stone was discovered in the undergrowth by the local farmer whilst cutting back the holly and re-sited in its present position in the spring of 2010. It is here at Watermeetings that the Barrowford Earth Wisdom Group meets at the time of their festivals. A ‘welcoming’ was held for the stone at the 2010 Samhain moot.
‘The spirits of plants and trees, of stone and stream, wind and rain, have much to teach us, calming our restless energies to a state of being as darkness and a quieter time approach. At Samhain nature turns inward and we welcome winter at this Celtic New Year fire festival acknowledging all of life as being part of a cycle, and honour the new beginning at a time of endings.’