The Fleece Inn Pub with rooms in Dolphinholme, Lancashire

Prices from:
£90 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Great story – rescued by local family
  • Rustic stone pub; beautifully revamped
  • Quality – pub, rooms, food
  • Good cooking; champion local produce
  • Comfortable, country-smart rooms
  • Close to but world away from M6
  • Trough of Bowland on doorstep

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelit15 Minutes from the Motorway

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Overview

The Fleece Inn Dolphinholme, Lancashire, LA2 9AQ

The personal touch

The grey-stone Fleece Inn stands at a crossroads in sleepy Dolphinholme deep in rolling farming country with the mighty Bowland Fells as a backdrop to the east. The former 17th-century farmhouse was rescued and revamped in 2016 by a local businessman, with the emphasis on preserving the pub for the local community, and his passion for this area can be seen in the addition of a small shop at the pub to compensate for the loss of the village store a few years ago – it sells daily necessities, local artisan produce, and maps and walking sticks for guests staying at the inn. Manager Maurice Camm is a great host and ensures everything is spick-and-span in the warren of dining rooms, which ooze traditional charm and character. Expect crackling log fires on cooler days, fresh flowers on oak tables in the summer, rugs on ancient flagged floors, oak panelled walls, leather banquettes, leaded windows, and a relaxing, music-free atmosphere – just happy hub-bub at the bar. The food fits the setting perfectly – traditional dishes and adventurous specials cooked very well from local produce. Equally in tune with the setting are the 9 beautifully refurbished rooms – country smart and very comfortable. Quality is stamped everywhere at the Fleece.

Sticky fingers

Children are made very welcome in the bar and the kid’s menu lists homemade burger and chicken goujons. They are welcome to stay overnight; Clougha room has a sofa bed.

Muddy paws

Dogs are only allowed in the bar area.

Alfresco

There are picnic benches tucked behind planters at the front and a secluded garden and a wild flower meadow to the rear of the pub.

What’s the Damage?
9 doubles/twin £90-£135

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar, restaurant & ground floor bedrooms
  • Parking

 

Sleep

The Fleece Inn Dolphinholme, Lancashire, LA2 9AQ

Do not disturb

The nine newly refurbished rooms are named after local walking areas and all are individually styled to a very high standard, with all but one (the ground floor room for the less able) located up the fine oak staircase, which is dominated by an impressive deer antler chandelier. Room at the front in the original building ooze character and charm, retaining high ceilings and exposed old beams, while rooms in new extension offer more space and super countryside views. However, expect all to be well designed and beautifully furnished in classic style, with deep, soft lambs wool carpets, very comfortable king-size beds top with quality linen and down, rich and colourful fabrics, including stunning upholstered headboards made by a local lady, interesting artwork on warmly painted walls, big lamps, and super tiled bathrooms with both bath and huge walk-in rain showers.

Creature comforts

Tyneham toiletries

Gadgets

Nespresso machine; Freeview TV; telephone; wi-fi

What’s for Breakfast?

Smoked Manx kippers, poached eggs & toasts; scrambled egg & smoked salmon; bacon sandwich; The Full Fleece (with hash browns & Bury black pudding); Continental – croissants, fresh fruit, yoghurts, nuts, fresh orange juice

What’s the Damage?
9 doubles/twin £90-£135

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar, restaurant & ground floor bedrooms
  • Parking

 

Eat & Drink

The Fleece Inn Dolphinholme, Lancashire, LA2 9AQ

Mastering the menu

Chef Ian Manning spent time at the Cartford Inn before heading up the kitchen team at the Fleece and his cooking style really suits the pub – good honest food created from locally sourced ingredients and dishes are well presented and big on flavour. Lancashire is well blessed with artisan food producers, especially in the Ribble Valley, and The Fleece taps into this flourishing network, with good relationships with Neve of Fleetwood for fish; Honeywells Butchers at Woodplumpton for meat; Ribble Farm Fare at Longridge for vegetables; and Pebby’s bakers in Little Eccleston. Cumbria gets a look in too with bacon and sausage products from Woodalls of Wabberthwaite. The menu showcases pub classics, all cooked well, such as steak and ale pie with a proper short crust pastry lid, alongside more inventive specials like halibut with veloute sauce. Pricing is very good value, for example Sunday lunches are a steal – one course £11.95, two £14.95, three £17.95.

On the menu

(Starters: £4.95-£9.25; Main Courses: £9.95-£18.95; Desserts £5.25-£7.95)

Twice-baked goat’s cheese soufflé, pickled beetroot salad, roasted hazelnut dressing; seared scallops, crispy confit pork belly, champagne & rose apple jelly, apple jam; chicken liver parfait, fig chutney

Steak & ale pie, garlic mash, seasonal vegetables; rack of Pilling Marsh lamb, black cherry & rosemary jus; traditional fish pie; rib-eye steak, pepper sauce

Warm sticky toffee pudding; passionfruit pannacotta, wild berry fruit compote

Set lunch menu

(2-courses £10)

Baby back ribs, sticky BBQ sauce; sausage & mash, crispy onions, red wine sauce; chicken Caesar salad; salted caramel brownie, vanilla ice cream

Sandwiches (available until 6pm)

Hot beef, fried onions, dill, pickles, mustard mayonnaise; Lancashire cheese & tomato

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10pm

Lunch: 12 noon – 4pm
Dinner: 4pm – 9pm

Local, local, local

Real ale – Bowland Brewery, Clitheroe (www.bowlandbrewery.com)

Wines – D Bryne & Co, Clitheroe (see Food Trail)

Marmalade & Jam – Pennine Way Preserves, Galgate (www.penninewaypreserves.co.uk)

Honey – Dolpinholme Honey (the village beekeeper)

Coffee – Atkinson’s of Lancaster (see Food Trail)

Bread – Pebby’s Bakers, Great Eccleston

Meat – Honeywells Butchers/Farm Shop, Woodplumpton (see Food Trail)

Behind the bar

Expect to be greeted by four gleaming handpumps at the bar, all dispensing ales from Lancashire and North Yorkshire breweries, perhaps Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Lancaster Blonde, Black Sheep Best Bitter, and Bowland Gold. In addition there’s a quality selection of malts and boutique gins backed up with Fentiman’s mixers and Frobisher’s fruit juices. Extremely fairly priced wines, including a strong representation of Europe’s wine producing areas along with some excellent examples from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, and supplied from D. Byrne & Co, the renowned independent wine merchants in Clitheroe.

Bar Meals

(£3.50-£4.95)

Crispy whitebait, smoked paprika mayo; homemade pork scratchings, bramley apple dip; crispy calamari, Bloody Mary dipping sauce

Time at the bar

4pm – 10pm (Monday); 12 noon – 11pm (10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?
9 doubles/twin £90-£135

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar, restaurant & ground floor bedrooms
  • Parking

 

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Fleece Inn

2

Cheesie Tchaikovsky, Castle Street, Clitheroe BB7 2BX

It’s impossible to leave this wonderful shop without an armful of goodies! Owner Jan Curtis is something of an expert and there’s nothing she likes more than to be quizzed on the diverse range of UK and continental artisan-made cheeses in her shop, including great cheese from Rungis market in Paris. Jan is careful to include the best local and British cheeses too, including Shorrock’s Black Beauty, Greenfield’s Tasty, Blackstick’s Blue and Silk, Mrs Kirkham’s and the beautiful new soft cheese from the Pextenement Cheese Company in Todmorden.

3

Bashall Food Barn, Clitheroe BB7 3LQ

You can easily spend half a day in this impressive, contemporary shop and restaurant - it's impossible to leave without local, home made produce which includes cakes, preserves and ready-meals. Treat yourself to a good lunch in the modern, airy cafe.

5

Leagram Organic Dairy, Chipping PR3 2TQ

Creamy, crumbly, mature and soft Lancashire cheese is made on the farm here, using organic sheep milk from nearby Leagram Estate, and cow's milk comes from suppliers within a 10-mile radius of the dairy. For those partial to cheese with additions, there are many unusual flavoured versions.

6

D.Byrne & Co Wine Merchants, Clitheroe BB7 2EP

In the family for over 130 years, this fabulous Victorian shop is one of the countries best independent wine merchants. Their selection of wines, stacked floor to ceiling in the labyrinth of rooms is formidable, but they also have a staggering collection of specialist spirits. The Byrnes - great grandsons of the founder - are immensely knowledgeable and completely approachable.

7

Dewlay Cheesemakers, Garstang PR3 0PA

Founded in 1957 by George Kenyon and still in the same family, award-winning cheesemakers Dewlay are famous for their cheeses made from local Jersey milk. You can buy them from the on-site shop and even watch it being made from the viewing gallery.

8

J.Atkinson & Co., Lancaster, LA1 1EX

It's worth visiting this fabulous old tea and coffee merchants just for the smell that hits you when you walk in. They've been supplying tea & coffee since 1837 and many of the original artefacts - tea canisters, spice drawers and the magnificent 1930s tea blender - are still in use.

9

The Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe BB7 9DF

Steven Smith continues his inevitable journey to stardom in this comfortable, stylish, smart country inn in pretty Wiswell. Expect accessible fine dining and a menu that exemplifies the local/seasonal mantra from a kitchen posse who really seem to care; the Herdwick lamb, roast rack and belly, black olive, roast Cevennes onion and Haggis Shepherd's pie nails it. You'll have a truly memorable meal.

10

Burholme Farm, Whitewell BB7 3AU

Dating back to the 14th century and the oldest farm owned by the Duchy of Lancaster, Burholme has been farmed by Rod Spence and his family for the past 40 years. Idyllically positioned by the Hodder River, Rod specialises in heritage breed Lonk lamb, as well as beef, all of which appears on the menu at the Inn at Whitewell.

12

Cowmans Famous Sausage Shop, Clitheroe, BB7 2BT

Cowman's has been a butchers for over 100 years and current owner Cliff Cowburn started working there aged 12, before taking over the business from his dad, Ted, in 1982. Cliff creates 76 varieties of award-winning sausages and cooked samples are available on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

13

Honeywell Farm Shop, Woodplumpton, Preston PR4 0BH

Stock up on quality produce that’s fresh from the Gornall family farm, straight from neighbouring farms, or sourced from an exciting network of food artisans - Lancashire’s best farmers and growers. Decades of hands-on farming experience and a traditional approach to butchery combine to make Honeywell’s a celebration of local food, farmers and producers.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Fleece Inn

Activities

2

Pilling Pottery, Garstang PR3 6HB

Established in 1968 and situated at nearby Garstang, Pilling Pottery includes a cafe, gallery, shop and studio pottery. It's just the place to try your hand at the potter's wheel, with lessons for those who are new to the art as well as anyone thinking of going into production.

3

Gliding PR3 2WN

For a taste of real Pennine adventure, try soaring on the thermals high above the stunning landscape of the Forest of Bowland. This exhilarating activity captures the region's varied scenery at its best.

16

Fishing BB7 3AT

The Forest of Bowland boasts four of the most scenic and picturesque rivers – the Ribble, Hodder, Wyre and Lune – which mainly offer game fish, including salmon, brown trout and sea trout. The upper Hodder has a growing reputation for grayling fishing. For a directory of other places to fish in the region, visit: www.environment-agency.gov.uk

19

Settle-Carlisle Railway, Settle BD24 9EJ

More like a cleverly designed visitor attraction than a vital lifeline serving countless communities in the wilds of Cumbria and North Yorkshire, the Settle-Carlisle Railway offers a constant, eye-catching backdrop of green fells and moorland. Make a day of it and jump on and off the train at any number of stops en route.

Shopping

11

Glasform, Poulton-le-Fylde FY6 8NE

Down the road at Poulton-le-Fylde, outside Blackpool, you'll find Glasform where a team of expert glass-blowers create the 'antiques of tomorrow.' Here, John and his colleagues produce stunning glassware that is available to acquire in the world's top galleries and department stores. After seeing examples of their exquisite work, you too will want to place an order.

12

Lancaster Charter Market LA1 1XD

Held in Lancaster city centre every Wednesday and Saturday, this is a traditional street market with the stalls arranged along Market Street and around Market Square. Here, you'll find a great choice of food producers as well as handy hot food stalls.

13

The Emporium, Clitheroe BB7 1BE

Expect a few surprises at this former Methodist chapel site, which has been lovingly and painstakingly converted to provide three huge levels for eating, drinking and shopping, or more specifically a coffee shop, wine bar and brasserie, and interior design superstore.

15

Dawsons Department Store, King Street, Clitheroe BD7 2EU

A family-owned business at the heart of the Ribble Valley, Dawsons is the leading independent house-ware store in the area. Departments include a cookshop, and there's Moorcroft, Bedeck and Sheridan bed linen and Hartman garden furniture.

18

Stydd Gardens, Stoneygate Lane, Ribchester PR3 3YN

Stydd Gardens is one of the region’s quirkiest shopping venues – hugely captivating, entertaining, vintage shabby and chic – with a garden nursery with the accent on old-fashioned roses and plants grown on site, and a bespoke wine company among the attractions.

Places to visit

4

Leighton Hall, Carnforth LA5 9ST

Designated by English heritage as a rare Grade II listed building, Leighton Hall, near Carnforth, was rebuilt in the Adam style in the mid-18th century. There's much to see here, including the magnificent Hall itself, attractive gardens and parkland.

5

Pendle Heritage Centre, Barrowford BB9 6JQ

The museum explains in great detail the history and origins of local people and where they settled. The museum, tearooms and shops are housed in attractively restored farm buildings overlooking Pendle Water.

6

Browsholme Hall, Cow Ark, Clitheroe BB7 3DE

Pronounced 'Brusome', the hall is the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire, the ancestral home of the Parker family, who have lived there since it was built in 1507. Together with the gardens it is open to visitors from May to September. Chinese porcelain and antique oak furniture are among many fine items on display.

7

Bowland Wild Boar Park, Chipping PR3 2QT

Whether it's a picturesque stroll by the river Hodder, tractor rides for the kids, lunch in the cafe or simply to view the wild boar and longhorn cows, this animal park in the Forest of Bowland is a great day out for families.

8

Glasson LA2 0DB

On the Lancashire coast just south of Lancaster, Glasson is a tiny port crammed with colourful narrow boats, coasters and yachts. Look out for Glasson Smokehouse, noted for its Morecambe Bay potted shrimps and wild Lune salmon. Ruined Cockersand Abbey enhances the scene.

9

Lancaster LA1 1TH

Close to the Forest of Bowland lies one of Britain's oldest and most fascinating cities. This was Lancashire's former county town and here you can tour its historic streets and quaint riverside quays. The castle and the priory look out over the rooftops and down near the waterfront the very informative Maritime Museum recalls the era of cotton and slavery.

10

Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, Burnley BB12 8UA

Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Palace of Westminster, was responsible for the striking interiors of this imposing house outside Burnley. Gawthorpe Hall was once home to the Kay-Shuttleworth family, influential figures in the local textile industry. There are paintings here on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

17

Yorkshire Dales Lead Mining Museum, Earby, Barnoldswick BB18 6QF

This visitor attraction offers the chance to view a unique collection of tools, photographs and memorabilia reflecting the mining, dressing and smelting of lead ore. Other items include, of all things, a steel hook and socket worn by a miner who had lost his hand.

Walking

www.forestofbowland.com
Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1964, the rugged grandeur of the Forest of Bowland is a spectacular part of Britain’s Pennine landscape – where steep-sided valleys and tracts of heather-covered grouse moor entice the walker. In addition to gentler routes and family rambles, there are longer walks to try – among them the long-distance Ribble Way and Pendle Way.

Cycling

www.gisburnbiketrails.com

One of the best destinations for cycling in the Forest of Bowland is Gisburn, in the region’s south-east corner. This is Lancashire’s largest forest and within it you’ll find several graded, colour-coded mountain bike trails. There’s a green route for beginners, while those who like their cycling to be more challenging there is a 8.5km blue route and a 20km red route.

Events

www.forestofbowland.com
The Forest of Bowland is blessed with a great many festivals and events, celebrating and reflecting the cherished traditions and rich heritage of this unique area. There are art events – including ceramic workshops, photography, theatre and creative writing, wildlife meadow walks, and farm visits for families.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By RoadDolphinholme is signposted east off A6 south of Lancaster at Galgate and junction 33 of the M6

By RailLancaster is the nearest railway station – 7 miles north of Dolphinholme

Address:

, Dolphinholme, Lancashire, LA2 9AQ

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