One of the great places to stay in the north-west, operating at the top of its form, was our latest impression of this welcoming country inn, in a glorious situation on the River Hodder, right in the middle of the Forest of Bowland. In the 14thC it was a manor house where the Keeper of the Forest lived. Today it is run by the third generation of the Bowman family, who successfully balance old features with modern comfort, and make it a truly special place, with a magical, hard-to-define quality of relaxed charm.

 The main public area is a group of expansive spaces with the bar as focus. Like his father before him, Charles Bowman (who took over some ten years back) searches the auction rooms for antiques. Every item of furniture has its own character and charm. There are wonderful views out over pasture to the fells. Good bar food is served at lunch and dinner, with an above-average range of wines by the glass and well chosen local beers. The dining room menu is based on local English ingredients; the cooking careful, rather than adventurous, but of the high standard you’d expect at these (albeit fair) prices.

 Bedrooms are spacious and comfortable, some a little dark, many with the great views. The reception area doubles as a shop selling a superb range of wines, plus books and other items. In all, it's ideal for a weekend country break.