In 1974 following the re-organisation of local government, Ribble Valley Borough Council took responsibility for Clitheroe Cemetery from Clitheroe Urban District Council.
The cemetery was initially provided as an additional burial ground to St Mary's Church, Church Brow, Clitheroe. The cemetery grounds located at Waddington Road have been in use since 1861. These grounds were extended in 1953, by the compulsory purchase of additional adjacent land, to create an enlarged cemetery area known as the lawn cemetery.
In 1953, following the extension of the Clitheroe Cemetery it was decided that it would be available for all denominations. This resulted in two distinct areas being created in the Lawn Cemetery, one, for Roman Catholics and one for Church of England and other non-conformist interments.
In 1995 a small area of the Clitheroe Cemetery was used to create one of the first woodland burial sites in Lancashire. The woodland graves are located on the north west perimeter of Waddington Road Cemetery, adjacent to the existing private woodland of Boy Bank Wood, overlooking the River Ribble and within sight of the imposing Pendle Hill.
In 1999, the council established an extension to the Cemetery in order to provide additional grave capacity, this extended area is non-denominational.
In 2000, the council further extended the Woodland Burial area to provide much needed capacity for this increasingly popular form of burial.