126 EVERGREEN Autumn 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 The Inn at Whitewell 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
2017 EVERGREEN 127 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.