Forty miles of Lancashire food
PUBLISHED: 13:43 10 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:16 20 February 2013
It already has the spectacular views but now you can try the unforgettable food along the Lancaster Canal from Preston to Tewitfield. Emma Mayoh reports
The 40 miles of Lancaster Canal that stretch from Preston to Tewitfield, near Carnforth, boast some of the most beautiful views our county has to offer. Thousands of walkers and cyclists every year take advantage of the vistas of the Silverdale coast, the lush green fields of the Forest of Bowland and the rolling countryside of Wyre, all of which can be accessed from this lovely stretch of the waterways.
No doubt many of them take shelter or rest in the many restaurants and cafes that hug the water's edge through Barton and Garstang along to Bolton-le-Sands and Lancaster and up into the Northern Reaches. But there will still be many who are yet to discover these hidden gems.
It seems appropriate, then, that the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board and British Waterways have combined forces to launch 40 Miles of Unforgettable Food. The new scheme is all about promoting those waterside restaurants and cafes that fly the flag for fantastic Lancashire produce.
Places included in the constantly increasing list are Greenlands Farm village at Tewitfield, The Royal Hotel at Bolton-le-Sands, The Water Witch at Lancaster, the Dalton Arms at Glasson Dock, Th'owd Tithe Barn at Garstang and the Walled Garden Bistro at Barton Grange Hotel.
The prerequisite for making it on to the list is a passion for local produce and a menu packed to bursting with meals that make the most of the food available on their doorstep and carries the Taste Lancashire marque.
It is a scheme that has been championed by our own cookery editor, Philippa James, who cooked up a feast of treats at the official launch held canalside at Guy's Thatched Hamlet in Bilsborrow. Wafts of sweet smelling Gracemire lamb from Salwick marinated in pure Lancashire honey, treats from Pennine Way Preserves at Inglewood and nibbles of Dewlay cheese from Garstang were all on Philippa's menu.
Mike Wilkinson, chair of Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist board, said: 'This partnership provides a wonderful opportunity to explore some of our most scenic waterways and forty miles of unforgettable Lancashire food.
Establishments displaying the Taste Lancashire marque can be counted on to provide a great quality food experience and for customers who care about sustainability, additional pleasure comes from knowing that the food on their plate has been grown locally and supports producers in the Lancashire.'
Tea and coffee merchants, J Atkinson & Co, in Lancaster are one of the local producers to benefit from the scheme. Owner Ian Steel runs the business with wife Sue and has an idea brewing to make the most of the canal.
He has put plans in place to float bags of tea and coffee on a boat down to the Barton Grange Hotel, who serve up Atkinson's brews.
He explained: 'I came up with the idea because tea has historically been transported by boat and I thought it was an eco-friendly way of delivering to one of our customers. I'm hoping that I'll be able to transport them via the water taxis that run up and down the canal and I've been speaking to them about that.'
He is hoping that if it runs successfully then other cafes and restaurants along the Lancaster Canal will take up the opportunity.
'Hopefully it will be something that people get really fired up about,' he said. 'It doesn't just have to be my things that are transported by boat.
The more people we can get interested, the better. Lancashire food is something I'm passionate about and that's why I was keen to get involved with the scheme. Anything that can help to promote the great food we have here is a good thing.'