Just under two years ago, we moved out of Manchester to the Ribble Valley. I thought it would be nice to give you a bit of an introduction to the area, now that we know it a bit better, and perhaps persuade you to visit!
So, the Ribble Valley is in Lancashire. East Lancashire to be precise, and borders Yorkshire. There’s definitely still a Lancashire – Yorkshire rivalry!
It’s North of Manchester, North of Liverpool, North of Preston… it’s pretty far North. It is South of the Lake District and Scotland though.
It’s the largest geographical district of Lancashire, but with the smallest population. It’s also a pretty rural area. This map, from Wikipedia, shows clearly the area covered by the Forest of Bowland in green, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
It can sometimes feel a bit like stepping back in time when you come to the Ribble Valley. ‘Ribble,’ by the way, is one of the rivers which runs through the area. It’s an area of towns and villages, farms and small communities. Our biggest town is Clitheroe, which is a pretty small, but lovely town.
The towns and villages are champions of local produce, local shops and local communities. The food culture is well and truly established here, with Clitheroe’s Food Festival in mid-August getting bigger and bigger each year. There are loads of restaurants and cafes in Clitheroe and in the surrounding villages and towns – I’ve got a whole list to work through!
It’s also a lovely place to raise a family. After 10 years of living in Manchester, it’s been really nice to get out of the city and into the countryside. The schools are generally very good, crime rates are low and there’s a lot going on in terms of toddler groups and children’s activities. In fact, Whalley, one of the villages in the Ribble Valley, was named one of the best places to live in the UK.
Actually, Whalley was flooded on Boxing Day 2015, along with Ribchester, another Ribble Valley village. Both villages have worked really hard to recover from the floods, and are very much open for business. This video showcases the shops around the area, all of which were affected by the flooding.
You can read about my experiences of the village recovering in this post.
Yes, of course, there are some aspects of city life I miss. But Manchester is only an hour away, and Preston is only 25 minutes drive. Yes, it can sometimes feel a bit like everyone knows everyone… but that’s how community is created. Yes, there’s only one nightclub… but I know the last time I went clubbing was well before Ben was born.
So this summer, I want to use the blog to show you some of the places around the Ribble Valley that I’ve discovered over the last two years. It’s a gorgeous place to live – even if it rains even more than Manchester – and I think it deserves it’s place in the spotlight.