The little known stories of a historic hall in Bolton could be straight out of a Bernard Cornwell novel - with tales of love, murder and ancient civilisations.

Smithills Hall is one of Bolton's most visited places. And it's ghostly inhabitants are well known, as are the people who once made the hall, dating back to the 15th century, their home.

The Bolton News: Picture by Gillian McGowanPicture by Gillian McGowan

But there are many stories yet to be told - and they will be at a special event on Saturday, (March 16).

During research in the estate, reports have emerged of tragic love, murder, ancient civilisations on the estate which the hall sits on the moors surrounding it.

The Bolton News: Step back into the past

What started as a lockdown community engagement project by the Woodland Trust, ended with a book which won the Alan Ball Award for Best Local History Community Publication in 2022.

A copy was presented to King Charles III on his visit to Bolton in January 2023.

The Woodland Trust was keen to explore the lives of the ordinary people, who had lived and worked on the adjoining estate over the centuries.

Today, it is a place for people to walk and enjoy the scenery, but in the past, things were very different.

From the times of the hunter gatherers, the moors would have been a hive of activity and later there was industry, with farms, mines, brick and tile works, alehouses and peddlers risking life and limb crossing the moors, selling their wares.

The Bolton News: Smithills Hall

The project brought together twelve people of different ages and backgrounds, who researched the lives of the people who lived and worked on the moors

The resulting book is enjoyed by locals interested in the evolution of their neighbourhood and anyone interested in the lives of some ordinary Bolton and very extraordinary people.

At Bolton Library on Saturday between noon and 2pm adults and children can hear more about the fascinating stories uncovered in a free event.

The Bolton News: Smithills Hall

Also, from 11am to noon, the Woodland Trust will host a free event for children in the library with lots of activities.

Anyone who has any information which the group may find interesting can contact them through their Facebook page, Smithills Estate Research Group.

The book will be on sale on the day or is available at Horwich Heritage Centre and Smithills Hall