For big skies, wide open spaces and the perfect environment for rewilding yourself, head over to the windswept salt marshes of the Lancashire coast, where the Forest of Bowland meets the sea!
After travelling the world with a high-powered job for more than a decade, Lancashire lass Michelle Parry returned to her family farm with a mission to rewild herself and reverse the noise and clutter accumulated through 21st century culture by reconnecting with nature.
Now, Michelle runs a busy schedule of events, workshops and wellness retreats under the big skies of the Lancashire coast, where the emphasis is firmly on the healing power of place in a very special landscape on the salt marshes of Morecambe Bay in the shadow of the Bowland Fells.
“I consider myself one of the lucky ones who experienced life pre-mobile phones and computers,” says Michelle. “I have a lot of gratitude for my upbringing: running wild, making dens and being free-range and feral is what I always knew.
“Over the past 10 years I’ve witnessed the increasingly rapid disconnect humans have with the natural world. I’m one of the lucky ones who experienced life pre-mobile phones and computers.
“Today, I find it hard to wrap my head around how much this is impacting our daily lives, our connection with one another, our planet and the devastating impact it is having to our natural world, on our mental wellbeing, creating a broken ‘new normal’ for our future generations.
“Bridging the gap between the countryside and city life is something I’ve become increasingly passionate about. Here at the Rewilding, we’re on a mission to rewild our fellow humans and welcome you all along for the journey.”
One of the centrepieces of Michelle’s mission is the Untamed Supper Club – a series of informal semi al fresco dinners where anyone and everyone is welcome. As you’d expect, the accent here is on wild and foraged foods, served in the rustic surroundings of an old outbarn dressed for a feast.
The raw ingredients are overwhelmingly locally sourced and a ‘hyper-seasonal’ with food miles often in simple minds, but the cooking influences stretch around the world, from the Scandinavia to the Far East.
The dining is communal, with plates and platters passed between guests seated at a long trestle table where the food, wine and conversation flow as naturally as the tide seeping into the creeks on the salt marsh just a few yards away.
“As a farming family, food is very important to us,” said Michelle. “We’re connected to the land around us and understand the hardworking efforts that go into the production of every mouthful.
“To us, food represents far more than filling an empty space; it’s about the nourishment it gives our bodies in order to thrive and be healthy, the connection it brings when we come together with others. That’s the spirit that underpins our Untamed Suppers.”
Although it’s off the beaten track, The Rewilding is well connected with good public transport links to Lancaster and perfect terrain to explore on foot or by bike.
There are superb coastal walks direct from the farm gate and the excellent cycleways of Lancaster connect seamlessly with the quiet country lanes crossing the coastal floodplains.
The quirky little port of Glasson Dock is just a short ride away, from where a traffic-free cycleway runs along the Lune estuary into Lancaster and beyond to Morecambe, where another cycle route extends around the whole of Morecambe Bay.
For those who want to make a short break of it, combine a stay in the quality accommodation at Patty’s Barn and some foraging on the marsh with a foodie tour of Lancashire and the Forest of Bowland and a visit to the historic old port of Lancaster.
Visit England ROSE Award 2022
Patty's Barn, Cockerham, Lancaster, North West, United Kingdom
web: The Rewilding
Michelle sources seasonal food from local suppliers as far as possible and many of her ingredients come from within just a few miles of the farm.
The Rewilding and Patty’s Barn are powered by sustainable energy from an anaerobic digester which turns organic material and farm waste into electricity.
The flat coastal plains around Lancaster are ideal for exploring by bike or e-bike and are easily reached from Lancaster, where the West Coast mainline connects rural Lancashire to Manchester, the Midlands and beyond.