Nigel Haworth of Michelin-starred Northcote launched his Ribble Valley Inns mini-chain back in 2005 with this sprawling 400-year-old boozer in the middle of nowhere. Comprising a series of stone-floored and exposed-brick rooms with lofty ceilings, the handsome building feels surprisingly cosy, and there's always a warm welcome from the young front-of-house crew. Haworth was one of the first to champion local provenance, and the maker’s (or grower’s) name appears against just about every component on the menu: Ashcroft’s cauliflower fritters, Bury black pudding, Morecambe Bay shrimps, Sandham’s creamy Lancashire cheese, Port of Lancaster smoked salmon, Metcalf’s rapeseed oil and so on. Haworth's legendary hotpot and battered haddock with beef-dripping chips raise comfort food to new heights, while desserts pile on the nostalgia with pancakes, fruit crumbles and lemon posset. Tip-top Lancastrian ales seal the deal.
With all 50 wines visible on one (albeit sizable) sheet, the chance to take in the whole wine list at one glance is spot on for this newly refurbished Lancashire pub. What it lacks in pizzazz of contents, it makes up for in clarity and approachability, and doubtless does its job brilliantly.