My Britain: Ribble Valley
Reader's Digest UK|February 2022
Known as the "food capital of the North", Lancashire's Ribble Valley also boasts outstanding natural beauty, stunning countryside and quaint historic villages.
By Anna Walker. Photographs by Stephen Fleming and Alamy

Visitors to this picturesque part of Britain can enjoy a trip to the 800-year-old Clitheroe Castle, which offers panoramic views of the region and a fascinating museum telling the story of the surrounding landscape over the past 350 million years. Another unmissable landmark is Pendle Hill. Renowned for its role in the 17th-century witch trials, take in its moody atmosphere while glancing out over the resplendent scenery below.

As well as its natural beauty, history and friendly communities, the Ribble Valley has one of the most exciting food scenes in the UK. From Michelin-star dining experiences through to satisfying pub grub and family-friendly eateries, there's truly something for every taste and appetite. We spoke to two players in the Ribble Valley food game to understand what makes the area so special for culinary connoisseurs.

Steven Smith

Steven Smith, 39, is the chef and owner of The Freemasons, an award-winning inn in the Ribble Valley village of Wiswell. Visit freemasonsatwiswell.com for more information

I’ve lived in the Ribble Valley for 13 years, ever since opening my restaurant, The Freemasons, in 2009. I came to the Ribble Valley from Blackburn, where I’m originally from. I chose to open the restaurant in the Ribble Valley, as I had visited it over the years and always found it to be such a wonderful place. At that time, there was a good food and pub scene in the valley, but it was all quite similar. With The Freemasons, I wanted to push the boundaries of what pub food could be.

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