Early last August a friend and I found ourselves in the Forest of Bowland, by the simple expedient of following a little road out of the back of Lancaster, under the M6 and up over Appletree Fell. After passing a little observation tower erected for Queen Victoria's Jubilee, from where it was possible to see just about everything westwards from Blackpool Tower to the far side of Morecambe Bay, we descended into the valley of the Marsh Wyre at Abbeystead. The Forest of Bowland, composed of high moorland and deep valleys, is one of the most beautiful, remote and relatively unvisited areas in England, although Lancashire industrial towns are never far away. Much of it belongs to the Duchy of Lancaster, and the Duke, oddly enough Our Queen, has I believe said that if she wasn't obliged to live in a succession of royal palaces then she quite fancied a house here. On leaving the wonderfully compact and quiet estate village of Abbeystead, the road soon starts to follow the river until a bend reveals a superb little building (above) standing alone above the rushing waters of the Wyre. This is Tower Lodge, where first a lane and then a footpath leads up on to White Moor. Our road continued into the Trough of Bowland and over to Dunsop Bridge, but not before we found refreshment at Annie's snack trailer with chairs set out under sighing firs. I wonder if Her Majesty would come down here in her headscarf for a bacon sandwich.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)