Raise a Glass

The Inn at Whitewell

Evergreen - - News - JACK JAKE­MAN

On the site of a me­dieval manor house, which for 400 years was home to the keep­ers of the royal For­est of Bow­land, The Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe in Lan­cashire, has been a place of rest and re­fresh­ment for trav­ellers since the 18th cen­tury. In those early days, be­cause of the re­mote­ness of the inn’s lo­ca­tion on the banks of the River Hod­don, sur­rounded by hills, moors and dense for­est, those ar­riv­ing at its doors in stage­coaches and on horse­back would have wel­comed it as a safe and se­cure refuge from the per­ils that might have be­fallen them on the road. To most guests, break­ing their jour­neys en route to the city of Lan­caster or be­yond, the wild coun­try­side around would prob­a­bly have been per­ceived as more of a threat rather than some­thing to be ad­mired and ex­plored.

To­day, of course, ev­ery­thing has changed, and with 23 lux­u­ri­ous bed­rooms — each with its own char­ac­ter, many with their own open fires and an­tique baths — as well as de­li­cious food and drink, the inn draws peo­ple from far and wide ea­ger to en­joy the warm hos­pi­tal­ity and to take ad­van­tage of all that the For­est of Bow­land has to of­fer.

Most im­me­di­ately, in sea­son and with the pay­ment of a small fee, res­i­dents have exclusive ac­cess to

seven miles of river for trout, seatrout and salmon fish­ing ( with a ghillie avail­able if re­quired). The inn is also ideally sit­u­ated for walk­ing and cy­cling, with routes to suit all lev­els of abil­ity and fit­ness, while shoot­ing par­ties on the nearby grouse moors and clay- pi­geon days are avail­able for those so in­clined. Fur­ther afield, the Ro­man mu­seum at Ribch­ester is only seven miles from Whitewell, with the pretty mar­ket town of Clitheroe and the his­toric homes of Brow­sholme Hall, Sam­les­bury Hall and Towne­ley Hall just a short drive away.

All that ac­tiv­ity cre­ates healthy ap­petites, and back at the inn, award- win­ning Head Chef Jamie Cad­man and his team serve up de­li­cious, lo­cally sourced food: beef, lamb, sea­sonal grouse, pheas­ant and par­tridge, with three dif­fer­ent menus: “Bar Lun­cheon”, “Bar Supper” and “Din­ing Room”. The mouth­wa­ter­ing main cour­ses listed on the sec­ond of these in­clude: Whitewell Fish Pie; Fish and Chips; Gou­jons of Fresh Fish; Cum­ber­land Bangers and Champ; Grilled Nor­folk Kip­pers; Char Grilled Sir­loin of Beef; Slow Roast Belly of Pork; Con­fit Shoul­der of Lamb; Pan Fried Fil­let of Sea Bass; Pan Fried Gnoc­chi. Lo­cal cask con­di­tioned ales and an ex­ten­sive wine list are a fea­ture of the bar, where doors lead onto a ter­race with tremen­dous views across park­land to the hills be­yond. There is even an in­de­pen­dent wine shop on the premises, Bow­land For­est Vint­ners, with a choice of over 200 wines and where group tast­ings can be ar­ranged.

Over­seen by owner Charles Bow­man ( it was pre­vi­ously run by his fa­ther Richard, the former Lan­cashire crick­eter and brewer), the dé­cor of the Inn at Whitewell, with ac­com­pa­ny­ing flag­stone floors, old hunt­ing prints, paint­ings and log fires is as taste­ful and com­fort­able as can be. Tele­vi­sion view­ers who watched the first episode of the sit­u­a­tion com­edy The Trip in 2010 were able to glimpse parts of this in­te­rior, and per­haps, be­yond the ban­ter of the pro­gramme’s stars Rob Bry­don and Steve Coogan, gain a sense of the Inn’s am­bi­ence.

How­ever, as one guest com­mented: “It’s hard to do this place jus­tice in pic­tures. Pic­tures don’t cap­ture the wel­com­ing scent of the fire as you step through the front door, the warm, re­laxed at­mos­phere which im­me­di­ately puts you at ease, or the chang­ing light on the mag­i­cal views as you sit qui­etly en­joy­ing a drink and gaz­ing out of the win­dow.” Inn at Whitewell, Clitheroe, For­est of Bow­land, Lan­cashire BB7 3AT Tel: 01200 448222 www. in­natwhitewell. com

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