Spread Eagle, Sawley
To the Spread Eagle in Sawley (over the border I’m afraid, but worth mentioning because we do have our passports stamped from time to time) to this stunningly re-vamped old pub that sits elegantly by the River Ribble – the dining room looks across it to the Trough of Bowland beyond.
Martin Clarkson (his stable consists of The Tempest at Elsack, Wheatley Arms at Ben Rhydding, the Mason’s Arms in Cartmel and the Fountaine Inn at Linton) has one of the keenest design-eyes in the business; he’s retained the stone floors and huge open fires and beams, but brought in funky textiles, signature wall papers and witty wartime homilies framed on the walls ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ ‘Eat Your Greens’ and the like. The menu ‘changes daily like the weather’ and on our visit included a terrific venison terrine with quince jelly and very good belly pork with proper crackling, sweet red cabbage and a scoop of mustard mash.
There are a dozen amazing bedrooms if you fancy a stop over – all different, full of quirky vintage finds but uber-contemporary bathrooms. A great place to base yourself if you fancy a trip along the Ribble Valley Food Trail.