Even by east Lancashire’s unassuming requirements, Clitheroe maintains a low-profile. This gateway to the Ribble valley – an space liked by walkers, cyclists and foodies – sits on the finish of a practice line from Manchester however you’d have to return to 1985 (when the Fall performed dwell within the grounds of Clitheroe’s tiny Norman citadel), to search out Mancunians hot-footing it to this market city in massive numbers.
Holmes Mill is supposed to alter all that. An enormous, Grade II-listed former textile manufacturing facility, it was reopened final August as a brewery and bar, meals corridor, resort and restaurant. It additionally includes smaller considerations, corresponding to a comedy membership and gelateria. A health club, pool and cinema are but to be added.
The meals corridor
Ordinarily, the meals corridor itself can be headline news. Interspersed with a restaurant and counter-dining sections, it’s harking back to Italy’s Eataly centres. It is each a global delicatessen and a showcase for northern producers (85 of them from Lancashire itself), corresponding to Great North Pie Co and Manchester’s Cloudwater Brew Co.
Beautifully lit, the lounge has as its centrepiece a curvy bar constructed from glowing classic glass blocks
Next door, the rugged, industrial-looking beer corridor incorporates Bowland Brewery (attempt its traditional Hen Harrier or tropically-tinged Buster IPA), and an island bar serving many cask beers (from £three.20 a pint). The choice is a sound mixture of conventional and trendy beers from northern micros corresponding to Brewsmith, Fell and Hawkshead. A small can, bottle and keg choice takes within the sours and 9% double IPAs that may impress craft connoisseurs.
My discover of the evening was Chinwag from Rossendale’s Northern Whisper. Although, for northerners raised on Fred Dibnah’s tales of the commercial revolution, the beer corridor’s Engine Room could also be extra attention-grabbing. An evocative area, it’s dominated by an enormous pulley linked to a 1910 cross-compound horizontal engine. No, me neither. But steam geeks will adore it.
Holmes Mill’s beer corridor
Given the above, you might be unlikely to spend a lot time within the Spinning Block resort itself (at the moment 16 bedrooms, open Thursday to Saturday solely; 38 rooms, full-time, from June), however its bedrooms are good-looking, luxurious areas, with crisp linens, heavy duvets and spacious loos with walk-in showers and granite partitions. Minor idiosyncrasies corresponding to retro Oat Flips biscuits from close by Nelson are welcome. Less so the (too early) 10.30am check-out and predictable L’Occitane toiletries.
In the Spinning Block’s grill restaurant, Holmes Mill’s industrial aesthetic is given a glamorous spin. Beautifully lit, the lounge – its centrepiece a curvy bar constructed from glowing classic glass blocks – leads right into a restaurant flecked with designer touches and centred round a grand piano. Had Mad Men been set in Mitton not Manhattan, Don Draper would have liked this place.
A bed room on the resort
Local components from Cowman’s sausages to Bowland beef are to the fore on a crowd-pleasing menu of traditional grill dishes, salads, pork stomach and sea bass. This will not be meals to obsess and fret over. (Gastro-nerds ought to eat, as an alternative, at Northcote or the Freemasons at Wiswell.) Here, you might be paying for the swanky gaff as a lot as high quality on the plate. One bold dish (confit rooster with egg yolk, carrot puree and pistachio, £eight.50) is a clanger – the rooster rendered as quite rubbery pucks dusted with bitter “leek ash”. The less complicated dishes hum alongside pleasantly sufficient, although, borne aloft by excellent uncooked components.
Holmes Mill’s restaurant, and grand piano
From the “nibbles” part, a hefty plate of Lancashire cheese and pressed ham was tasty – regardless of being served fridge-cold. The shredded Bowland beef with wild mushrooms was much better. A chocolate panna cotta with peanut butter chocolate ganache and honeycomb ice-cream was slightly inelegant. But how far flawed are you able to go along with these parts? Not very. Breakfast (eggs benedict, controversially served with continental cured ham), was wonderful.
If the meals corridor units a typical the restaurant doesn’t fairly maintain, Holmes Mill is nonetheless spectacular. It is purpose sufficient to move to Clitheroe. Just prise your self away lengthy sufficient to discover the broader Ribble valley.
• Accommodation was supplied by Holmes Mill (01200 407120, holmesmill.co.uk). Doubles from £85 room solely; breakfast £10 grownup, £5 youngster. More native info at visitlancashire.com
Ask A Local
Hetty Byrne, sustainable tourism officer, Forest of Bowland AONB
A hill farm within the Brennand Valley off the Dunsop Valley above Dunsop Bridge within the Trough of Bowland. Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Alamy
Explore the geographical coronary heart of Britain amid the fells from Dunsop Bridge. Dunsop valley can be a favorite with birdwatchers. End the day with seasonal, native meals on the Parker’s Arms in Newton-in-Bowland.
Mountain bikers ought to head to Gisburn Forest. As properly because the marked trails there’s a abilities loop on the Gisburn Forest hub to check the grades earlier than you set off. There can be a family-friendly strolling path from the cafe.
Nestling beneath Pendle Hill, Downham is considered one of Lancashire’s loveliest villages: quiet and unspoiled, with a babbling brook working previous the village inexperienced and stone cottages. The four-mile Downham Walk, passing Twiston Mill, affords alternatives for refreshment on the Assheton Arms.