Gisburn Forest and Stocks Reservoir Adventure
Michelin-trained chef Dominique Ashford has tuned into the slower rhythms of nature after swapping the top end restaurants of London for wild food and foraging in the Forest of Bowland
For a really wild adventure in one of the most remote parts of the Forest of Bowland, Dale House Barn ticks a lot of boxes.
This pretty farmhouse B&B and camping barn is the ideal location for a peaceful rural retreat to recharge the batteries or an action-packed weekend of walking, cycling, foraging and cooking.
Nestling beneath the craggy outcrops of Bowland Knotts, high above the sparkling waters of Stocks Reservoir, Dale House Barn is the perfect base from which to explore Bowland on foot or by bike.
And there’s no need to rough it in this isolated location. Dominique is an experienced chef and her cookery and bread making courses are incredibly popular with guests. As you’d expect, the food is pretty awesome, too and most of Dominique’s guests book in for dinner and her legendary breakfast while staying at Dale House.
Dominique worked primarily as a pastry chef for over 25 years in some of the best kitchens in the UK – including the Roux brothers, Terence Conran’s Le Pont de la Tour, The Houses of Parliament and Aiden Byrne.
Dominique now uses her skills and imagination to devise dishes that include as much wild, seasonal, local and sustainable produce as possible with an aim to have zero waste.
Partner Andrew is a keen outdoorsman and a local game keeper who provides Dale House with a steady supply of venison, rabbit, wild duck and pigeon. And despite the accent on local game, vegetarians and vegans are well catered for too!
Complemented by foraged herbs, leaves and berries and locally grown vegetables, be it breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner, mealtimes are always a highlight at Dale House.
Dominique hosts a wide range of food and rural skills courses, which all take place in the farmhouse kitchen and a purpose-built professional kitchen.
Each course is limited to maximum of five people with most run as private workshops for family and friends. Guests will chat, cook and eat their way through the day with plenty of opportunity to get involved on a practical level too.
For the more actively inclined, the traffic-free mountain bike trails of Gisburn Forest are a short ride away and a hilly 10k trail run around Stocks Reservoir is easily accessible.
Quiet road cycling routes and miles of wilderness walks start right from the farmhouse gate and if you need a bit of help to negotiate the hilly terrain, Ribble Valley E-bikes can deliver electric bikes direct to the door.
During the autumn and winter months, the Forest of Bowland’s dark skies offer amazing views of the planets and constellations while the onset of spring heralds the arrival of a host of rare visitors, including ospreys, ring ouzel, curlew and sky dancing hen harriers.
Hearty breakfasts with homemade bread, granola and preserves, eggs from our hens and locally sourced bacon and sausages. Packed lunches, hampers and picnics are also available. A perfect location for exploring the Forest of Bowland.
Dale house barn and B&B, Dale head farm, Slaidburn, Lancashire, BB7 4TS01200 411 095
Our charming barn is available for groups of up to 14 people. It has 2 mezzanine sleeping areas, a large double height dining and seating area with a log burning stove. There is a small kitchen, 2 toilets and 2 showers. A private south facing garden affords fantastic views over the meadows towards Stocks reservoir and Gisburn forest.
The barn is also a great space for entertaining or business meetings with a focus on good food and enjoyment of the outdoors. It can be booked for private catered events and meetings.
Dale House barn and B&B, Dale head farm, Dale head, Slaidburn, BB7 4TS01200 411 095
In the heart of historic Settle, Falcon Manor is a glamorous restaurant, hotel and wedding venue that combines classic sophistication with contemporary chic.
Our 16 boutique bedrooms are furnished to the highest standards with traditional touches and sumptuous styling, each and every room at Falcon Manor has a unique personality. From the gorgeously decadent Rafters Suite to our simply sublime doubles and twins, you’ll find it easy to relax in a Falcon Manor room. With goose down duvets, feather-soft pillows and the finest cotton sheets, you’re guaranteed to sleep soundly. And when it comes to food our philosophy is simple. To take the freshest ingredients, prepare them with care and respect and create stunning dishes, packed full of flavour.
Located as we are on the edge of the AONB we are ideally located for walking, cycling and mountain biking, all of which are wonderful ways of exploring the local countryside. Discover hidden places using the many routes and trails that criss-cross the area. From a gentle stroll along the banks of the River Ribble to the challenge of the 24 mile Three Peaks walk and everything in between.
Skipton Road, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9BD01729 823 814
Perfectly positioned on a small dairy farm in North Yorkshire, these five camping pods are in a league of their own. These cedar-clad beauties boast panoramic views, well-appointed terraces, and comfortable double beds. All the pods also have their own private bathrooms (either ensuite or just a short stroll away), but the luxury doesn’t stop there. Three of these beautiful pods even have their own hot tubs. The eco-conscious owners have earned themselves a Green Tourism ‘Gold Award’ for commitment to sustainability.
The pods guarantee a cosy night’s sleep with great insulation, heating and double-glazed doors and windows – this is definitely a few steps up from regular camping. Each one is nestled into its own bank next to a dry stone wall to protect you from the elements, should they decide to be unkind.
Inside there is a fully-equipped kitchenette and tasteful crockery, along with an array of utensils, and stowaway wooden tables and chairs. Sleeping up to four (five at a push in the Green Top pods), each has a handmade double bed with a pocket-sprung mattress and sofa bed – ideal for adventurous families. Bedding and towels are provided. Each pod has its own fire bowl that doubles as a barbecue and comes with free kiln-dried wood – just add marshmallows!
Wander round the site and you’ll be happy to discover ‘The Hub’, a fantastic all-weather communal space that comes complete with a wood-fired pizza oven. It’s a great place to relax and socialise.
Boustagill Farm Rathmell Settle North Yorkshire BD24 0LJ07724 940 709
It is one of the oldest YHA hostels, over 80 years.
In addition it has a comfy lounge with an open fire, ideal for the darker nights. It has its own car park This hostel is very popular with cyclists especially those doing the Lands End to John ‘O’Groats cycle route as a mid-way point.
The self-catering side is well provided with a kitchen that has 2 cookers, a larder fridge and plenty of cutlery and crockery.
King's House, Church St, Slaidburn, BB7 3ER0345 371 9343