The River Ribble
Open moorland
Clitheroe Castle overlooking the main street

The Ribble Valley

Introduction

The Ribble Valley in Lancashire in North East Lancashire covers part of the Forest of Bowland, Pendle Hill and Gisburn Forest. The historic towns of Clitheroe, Longridge and Whalley are the main gateways to the beautiful landscape of the Ribble Valley.

 The Ribble Valley is an area full of mystery and legend with a diverse landscape from moorland to lush green valleys. Located in the centre of the British Isles the majority of the Ribble Valley forms part of The Forest of Bowland (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), stretching to Gisburn Forest in the north and Pendle in the east. The principle towns in the area are Clitheroe, Longridge and Ribchester.

Travelling to the area

By car - the area is easily accessed from the motorway network with good connections from the M6 and M65

By train - for details on all stations and timetables visit Ribble Valley Rail

By coach or bus - for details of coach travel to the area click Transport Direct

By air- the nearest major airport is Manchester. Liverpool and Blackpool are also within reach and give easy access.

Where to stay

The Ribble Valley offers a wide range of accommodation from camping barns, B&Bs, Hotels, Country Inns and Farmhouse accommodation to 5 Star Self Catering Cottages. For accommodation in and around the area visit our accommodation listings covering Pendle, The Forest of Bowland and The Ribble Valley.

Outdoor Activities

The Ribble Valley is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Whether its walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, bird watching or playing golf you will find it here.

Walking-new countryside rights have allowed large areas of countryside to open up for walkers. To view walks in the Ribble Valley click HERE

Cycling - traffic free routes, quiet country lanes or tackle the rugged terrain of the Forest of Bowland. Click HERE for more details on cycling in the Ribble Valley.

Horse riding - the 45km of the North Lancashire Bridleway winds its way through The Forest of Bowland

Fishing - is available at the north wests largest fly fishery at Stocks reservoir, or relax on the banks and enjoy coarse & trout fishing. (permits available)

Bird watching- The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a special place for upland birds thanks to its diversity of habitats and landscapes.
Birds such as Hen Harriers, England’s most threatened bird of prey, Ring Ouzels and Whinchats, as well as many other species, can all be found in the beautiful hills and valleys of the fells.

Golf - there are several courses in the area including Clitheroe, Mytton Fold, Longridge and Wilpshire. Stonyhurst and Whalley are two challenging 9 hole courses.

Something to eat?

The Ribble Valley is renowned for its Food Trail which is an initiative to turn Ribble Valley into one of the country's premier food destinations, as well as support local food producers and encourage the consumption of local food. The trail features the borough's best food producers, retailers and restaurateurs. View the Food Trail map for details of  this years 36 participating restaurants, inns, shops and delicatessens.

 A brief history

Where better to start exploring the history of the area than the top of the 12th century Norman Castle in Clitheroe, which has recently undergone complete restoration and opens in May 2009. The castle stands 35m above the River Ribble making it a prominent landmark for the surrounding area. The sky line of Clitheroe has been dominated by its castle for more than 800 years since being built around 1186 by Robert de Lacy to protect the administrative centre of his vast estates.
It is said to be one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire the second smallest keep in England, since the rooms are only about 20 feet square. The present entrance passes through what was originally a window into what was a cellar. The original entrance was on the right on the next floor. The keep was deliberately damaged after its capture by Parliamentary forces during the civil war, but was repaired in 1848 with smooth-faced limestone blocks, which can be clearly seen.
The views from the old castle walls are breathtaking, as is the walk up the hill.

Longridge grew from a small settlement around St Lawrence's Church about 500 years ago and expanded from the mid 1800's as cotton mills and quarries opened. Download here Longridge Heritage Trails,  2 short walks around the town that track the towns history.

Beneath the streets of Ribchester lies the site of the roman fort of Bremetennacum. Each July the annual Roman re-enactments take place on the second weekend on Ribchester Playing Field. Every year it involves Legio Secunda Augusta who are based in Portsmouth. They put on exciting and realistic demonstrations about everyday and military life. There are military displays, the firing of artillery, Roman Cavalry and gladiatorial combat to see and opportunities for children to dress up in Roman armour.
Ribchester is home to Lancashire's only Specialist Roman Museum which contains many artifacts charting the history of this beautiful and historic part of Lancashire, from neolithic to Roman times and beyond.

To discover more about the beautiful Ribble Valley, its towns and villages follow The Forest of Bowland and Pendle area guides

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015