10 reasons to love the Ribble Valley

PUBLISHED: 00:05 02 March 2015 | UPDATED: 20:45 03 October 2015

This scene of Whalley Viaduct, is by Lancashire Life artist Nick Oliver. See more of his work at www.smilecreative.co.uk or contact him at 01257 427465.

This scene of Whalley Viaduct, is by Lancashire Life artist Nick Oliver. See more of his work at www.smilecreative.co.uk or contact him at 01257 427465.

Nick Oliver

There are plenty of things to do in the Ribble Valley according to the borough's mayor

Cllr Michael Ranson, Mayor of Ribble Valley walking in GrindletonCllr Michael Ranson, Mayor of Ribble Valley walking in Grindleton

Many mayors try new things during their year of office but Michael Ranson has really explored the boundaries. He has walked the entire 85 mile perimeter of the Ribble Valley since he was handed the mayoral chains for the area in May last year.

Michael, who was the leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council for six years from 2007, revived the old tradition of beating the bounds to help raise money for his mayoral charities, Home Start and Crossroads Care.

‘It has been a good way of seeing the area and we have had some spectacular walks,’ he said. ‘Some of the views have been quite dramatic, especially over the fells, and it is something I will remember for a long time.’

During his time in the role he was also heavily involved in the borough’s commemorations of the beginning of World War One. ‘The council gave an oak tree to every village,’ he said. ‘And I was given the job of planting them all. It was a very successful idea, school children who had been learning about the war came out to see the commemorative trees planted.

‘It has been a fantastic year. I have been very busy but it has been very enjoyable too. It has been especially pleasing to see the wealth of talent among the younger people in the Ribble Valley.’

Michael, a former pupil of Blackburn’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, is a qualified solicitor who worked at in law in Accrington and Blackburn before embarking on a career in engineering which took him all over the world.

A keen cricketer, he played for clubs in Read and Enfield in the Lancashire League and also turned out for the county’s second XI.

The mayor, who will hand on the chains of office towards the end of May, has selected ten of his favourite spots in the Ribble Valley. He said: ‘I think the Ribble Valley has some of the most magnificent scenery and views – it’s got the hills, the moors, the rivers and the fields. It’s just an idyllic rural area.

‘There is a great contrast between all the different kinds of countryside. If anyone doesn’t know the area I think there is an awful lot here for them to explore and discover.’

1 Clitheroe is perfect for a day out with the family. I’d recommend heading to the castle and the museum first and soaking up some of the history of the area. The town has an excellent choice of restaurants which cater for all tastes and then in the evening you could enjoy a concert at the Grand.

2 There are lots of good walks in the Ribble Valley but one of my favourites if the circular route around Stocks Reservoir. It’s about five miles (we think nearer eight, ed) and you don’t have to be a serious walker. There are some great views and there’s a café too, which is just what you need after a walk.

3 The Hodder Show is a fabulous friendly traditional agricultural show. All the local farmers are there and it’s great fun. It’s a very successful event which is always popular with local people.

4 We are blessed in the Ribble Valley with lots of great places to eat and drink. One of my favourite places to eat is the Duke of York at Grindleton. They serve fabulous food – and it’s just a two minute walk from my home!

5 On the subject of food, the Clitheroe Food Festival is, I think, the best day out in the year. We started it when I became leader of the council because I felt we should have an event in the streets of Clitheroe and although it was very difficult to get it going, the first event we held was unbelievably successful and it has grown ever since. This year’s festival will be held on August 8 and it’s a real family event. It only has Lancashire produce there and so the festival showcases the fantastic producers and restaurants in the area. Food tourism is big business in Lancashire and the festival has become a highlight of the year.

6 Downham is a lovely place to visit. It’s one of the best preserved villages in the borough and there’ a very interesting church. There area also spectacular views, a good circular walk, a fantastic ice cream shop and you can end up at the Assheton Arms for an excellent meal.

7 There’s a great short circular walk from Chapel Lane in Grindleton to the River Ribble. Follow the river bank and the return to the village along Green Lane. It’s about three miles.

8 There is so much wonderful scenery in the Ribble Valley that it’s hard to select one favourite view, but I’ve chosen the view from as you enter the Ribble Valley on the walk from Clapham. As you reach the top of Keasden Moor, Pendle Hill and the whole of the Ribble Valley is spread out before you.

9 There are lots of good pubs around the Ribble Valley but one of my favourites is the Lower Buck at Waddington. They do do food but it’s a proper pub where they do excellent beer.

10 When I want to escape for a while I head to Grindleton Fell. It’s a short walk from my home and it’s somewhere you can be all alone and ‘stretch you eyes’ in all directions.

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