An organised ghost tour is always good fun at this time of year and keeps the kids on their best behaviour, but few are brave enough to venture into the wild at night and apparently with very good reason.
We take a look at some of the spaces around the UK most likely to send a chill through your spine.
Pluckley & Dering Woods
Just west of Pluckley, said to be the most haunted village in Britain, Dering Wood is rumoured to be haunted by a highwayman who was captured and killed by villagers, as well as a man who fell to his death. Legend has it that at night, blood-curdling screams can be heard coming from the forest.
Ghosts of Pluckley & Dering Wood
The Highwayman's Spectre: A highwayman's spectre is said to lurk, hidden in the branches of a tree, watching over the village. His ghostly presence adds an air of mystery to the area.
Phantom Coach and Horses: Residents and visitors have reported sightings of a phantom coach and horses at various locations around the village. These ghostly apparitions harken back to a bygone era.
The Tragic Gypsy Woman: The ghost of a Gypsy woman who met a watery end in a stream at the Pinnock continues to haunt the area. Her story is a poignant reminder of the village's past.
The Miller's Apparition: The miller, once a living presence at Mill Hill, is said to have returned from the beyond, making appearances that both intrigue and unsettle those who encounter him.
Dicky Buss's Lane: A haunting tale unfolds in Dicky Buss's Lane, where the haunting image of a schoolmaster's hanging body lingers, a chilling reminder of a tragic past.
Colonel's Despair: Park Wood holds the sorrowful spirit of a colonel who took his own life. His restless presence adds a sombre note to the village's history.
Brickworks Tragedy: The tale of a man smothered by a wall of clay at the brickworks serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of industrial labour in days gone by, and his ghostly figure is said to still haunt the area.
Lady of Rose Court: In a story of love and despair, the Lady of Rose Court is said to have poisoned herself over a love triangle. Her ghostly presence resonates with the heartache of lost love.
The White Lady: St. Nicholas's Church is haunted by the enigmatic White Lady, a young woman who was reportedly buried inside seven coffins and an oak sarcophagus. Her presence is both mysterious and unsettling.
The Red Lady and Her Companion: A member of the Dering family, the Red Lady, is said to haunt the churchyard of St. Nicholas's Church. The sighting of a small white dog in the same location adds to the intrigue surrounding this area.
On the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden Moor, ghosts of fallen soldiers are said to rise, and eerie sounds fill the air. Witnesses have seen a tall, tartan-clad man muttering "defeated." Some claim to have uncovered wounded apparitions beneath tartan cloths on grave mounds. Birds avoid the area. Haunted wells, like St. Mary's Well and Clootie Well, add to the area's mystique.
The Battle of Culloden Moor
Culloden Moor, the site of the last battle on British soil, saw the bloody end of the Jacobite rebellion in 1746. In just 40 minutes, the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was annihilated by the overwhelming government forces. The odds were stacked against them due to the boggy terrain and exhaustion from a failed support-seeking mission in England.
The battle began with artillery exchanges, but government troops dominated. With no leadership from Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobites hesitated and eventually charged. They were outmatched, and government troops used a new tactic to devastate them. The slaughter continued even after the wounded couldn't fight. Bonnie Prince Charlie fled, never to return.
Epping Forest in Essex boasts a captivating history, tracing its roots back to the Iron Age. It has witnessed Roman conflicts, Norman invasions, and the exploits of notorious highwaymen, including Dick Turpin, who used a cave in the High Beech area as his secret refuge. Hangman's Hill is a particularly chilling locale, featuring sightings of a man's apparition in the woods and harrowing screams.
An unsettling phenomenon occurs when cars are left in neutral on the hill; they seem to roll uphill toward a tree where hangings reportedly took place.
Ghosts of Epping Forest
Aside from Turpin, other spectres have made appearances over the years. The ghost of Boudica, the ancient Queen of the British Iceni tribe, is said to haunt the forest. Reports of poltergeist activity, such as unexplained pushes, are common.
Witnesses have also described a man in a tricorn hat and cape riding a black horse. The Wake Arms roundabout is known for sightings of a headless biker and a horse-drawn coach in the dead of night. A restless spirit is said to dart in front of vehicles, gazing into the driver's eyes before vanishing. The ghost of a young girl who purportedly drowned near the Kings Oak Hotel and a headless horseman have also been sighted.
Pembrey Woods are the chosen grounds for many a roaming ghost, most notably the ‘little hatchet men of Pembrey’, men who lured ships to the rocky coastline, then slaughtered the sailors and robbed the wrecks. Sightings of both the little hatchet men and the dead sailors have been reported.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, located near Mevagissey in Cornwall, are indeed renowned for their beauty and historical significance. However, they also carry an eerie reputation as one of the most haunted botanical gardens in the country. Many staff and gardeners have experienced unsettling sensations while working in the 19th-century gardens, to the point where some have been hesitant to enter them alone, especially after dark. In fact, the hauntings were reportedly so severe at one point that an exorcist was summoned to address the unsettling energies.
While no actual apparitions have been reported in the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the grotto area seems to be a focal point for these eerie encounters. This area consists of short, rock-lined paths, rockeries, and a small man-made cave. It's in these secluded and atmospheric spaces that lone gardeners most frequently report feeling the oppressive and unsettling energy that has contributed to the garden's haunted reputation.
The exact source of these eerie sensations remains a mystery, but they add a layer of intrigue and mystery to an already enchanting and historically significant garden. Whether one is visiting to admire the lush botanical wonders or to seek a brush with the paranormal, the Lost Gardens of Heligan offer a unique and unforgettable experience.
Pendle Hill, located in Lancashire, England, is infamous for the Pendle Witch Trials that took place in the early 17th century. The trials resulted in the execution of ten individuals who were accused of witchcraft. Over the years, Pendle Hill has gained a reputation as a haunted and eerie location, with numerous reports of ghostly activity and supernatural phenomena.
Ghosts of Pendle Hill
The Pendle Witches: The spirits of the accused witches, including Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, and Alice Nutter, are said to haunt the area. They are often described as wandering the hillside or appearing as apparitions.
The White Lady: A White Lady ghost is said to roam the area, particularly around the graveyard of St. Mary’s Church, Newchurch-in-Pendle.
Unexplained Lights: Mysterious lights and orbs have been witnessed on Pendle Hill. These lights are often considered to be paranormal in nature and have fueled the area's ghostly reputation.
Feelings of Unease: Visitors to Pendle Hill sometimes report feelings of unease, dread, or being watched. These sensations are often attributed to the residual energy from the witch trials.
Apparitions and Shadow Figures: Some hikers and paranormal enthusiasts have claimed to see apparitions or shadowy figures on the hill, particularly around the possible location of Malkin Tower near Blacko, which was associated with the accused witches.
Rob has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
He is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and the publication of the Alan Rogers Guides and 'Destinations' magazine.
He regularly travels with his wife and young daughter in their Dethleffs 'Campy' caravan. A keen cycling fan, Rob can often be found in a field in Belgium during the 'Spring Classics' season or riding his Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycle.