Tag Archives: Outdoors

Picnicking in the Trough of Bowland

One of my all time favourite childhood memories is picnicking in the Trough of Bowland with my grandparents. Every summer they packed the car up with my sisters and I, the dogs, copious amounts of delicious homemade food and wellies for paddling.

The Trough of Bowland is a valley between Marshaw (northeast of Garstang) and Dunsop Bridge (northwest of Clitheroe) in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Lancashire.

Forest of BowlandAONBs are areas in the countryside that have been designated for conservation due to their natural beauty, in a similar way to national parks. If you haven’t yet experienced the Forest of Bowland, you are missing out on one of the country’s most breathtaking natural environments.

While most people know of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, the Forest of Bowland is their lesser known but equally impressive neighbour.

TreesThe landscape is wild and untouched; a vast expanse of fells, valleys and moors that will stir and exhilarate you. At the same time, tall trees shelter and flowing water soothes. It’s the stuff of epic legends and enchanted tales.

The Trough pass is a ‘scenic route’ if ever there was one, traversing through the magnificent Bowland fells and rising almost 300m above sea level at its highest point. The Trough is only a small part of the Forest of Bowland, which is dotted with picturesque villages as it reaches just into Yorkshire to the northeast and to Pendle Hill at the southeast corner.

There are 312 square miles to explore in total and you’ll need more than a day to do that!

StreamI’m so grateful to my grandparents for introducing me to this special place that has become a favoured destination for walking, eating out, pottering and, of course, picnicking. My family continues the tradition every summer (with my grandparents accompanying us in spirit) and it’s always a riot.

You can drive along the Trough road and pick one of umpteen perfect spots to park up and lay your picnic. Sheep roam free, dragonflies skim the water that runs downstream to the River Wyre and dappled sunlight warms through the leaves of the trees (if you’re lucky!).

All the things we did decades ago are still a source of laughter and enjoyment – lazing in the sun sandwich in one hand, sausage roll in the other, paddling, playing with a bat and ball, letting the dogs run and roam – and I have just as much fun as I did when I was 10!

Summer fun at Great Eccleston Show

When the weather is on form, there’s really nothing better than spending a summer’s day outdoors at one of the north of England’s agricultural shows.

It’s the all-the-time-in-the-world pace that I love. And the haze of mellow revelry in the warm air.

At over 150 years old, Great Eccleston Show is still going strong. It’s one of the most popular events in Lancashire and this year is no exception.

Goats

The animals all looking their best (cattle, goats, sheep, shire horses, pigs, ponies, poultry, ferrets, rabbits, budgerigars…) – prize winners’ rosettes proudly displayed – are delightful to see.

There are marquees showcasing and selling local food, crafts, horticulture and art; modern and classic agricultural vehicles and equipment; entertainment in the form of fairground, stunt riders and cooking demonstrations (TV chef Phil Vickery this year); sheep shearing, herding and beekeeping demonstrations; and the main event, the tractor pulling, is the most random but thrilling sport to watch!

Shire horeses

You’ll find all the essentials on site – beer tent, food trucks and plenty of ice cream vans. Take a blanket and some sun cream and kick back. I saw more than one person napping on the grass in the sunshine!

Tickets are £12 for adults on the gate and £2 for kids but parking is free. You can take your dogs and they will be welcomed.

The showground is on Garstang Road (A586) in Great Eccleston, near Preston.

Find out more at greatecclestonshow.co.uk