Bashall Barn’s redevelopment – a quality conversion

Bashall Barn

Bashall Barn

I recently visited Bashall Barn Food Visitor Centre after its extension and was greatly impressed, not only by the development but also those little extra touches which set one attraction apart from another.

Bashall Barn’s redevelopment has created a roomy 85 seater restaurant and 40 seater coffee shop with outdoor seating area and views over the beautiful Ribble Valley. As well as the eating area, farm shop stocked with Lancashire products and the long-standing resident, Bowland Brewery, there is now also a butchers (Bowland Outdoor reared meats) and bee-keeper (Ribblesdale Honey).

But this is much more than an extension and business expansion. What impressed me greatly were the extra touches throughout the development. There are many subtle references to farming, such as the carved wooden table numbers in the shape of farm animals and the viewing windows into the cowshed, strategically placed right beside the home-made ice cream bar. There are no stick figures on the toilet doors – instead you have to decide whether you are a bullock or a heifer!

The other message which comes across is that this is a place to relax, take your time. Not only can you buy the product from the onsite food and drink producers, you can take time to read all about the brewing process and see the bees at work behind a glass panel. There are large versions of popular games on the tables to pass the time, including dominoes and noughts and crosses. But for my favourite personal touch we have to go back to the toilets. Inside each cubicle, with its barn-style door, is a rack stocked with current, local magazines for those who wish to take their time and peruse the news!

/ Barbara

If you feel your business has that extra special touch, why not take the opportunity to shout about it by commenting on this blog?

New Photography for LBTB

As part of the tourist board’s new branding strategy we have commissioned a selection of new photography, using Visit Britain for art direction, of key Lancashire attractions.  Despite being weather dependent we are half way through the five days of photography which has so far included locations in the Ribble Valley and Rossendale.

Yesterday I accompanied the Visit Britain art director on a reconnaissance exercise, sizing up suitable shots of Lancaster Castle and The Ashton Memorial for the next phase of photography (when the weather allows).  This new photography will see a departure from the plain old product shot and will instead aim to give the viewer more of an emotive response. For example, a couple enjoying a picnic at Williamson park or children playing with swords in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle. Whilst the location is important we also want to appeal to the visitors emotions, of how they will feel when they visit Lancashire – whether it be relaxed, chilled, in-love, happy, playful or excited.

Our first stop was the castle – we did a few laps of the outside, recording suitable locations and features. Next the manager of the castle, Chris, gave us a whistle stop tour of the interior, allowing the art director to try a few shots and to suggest a few ideas. These interior shots will be taken using child models and we hope to capture some of excitement and fear of the castle cells and its spooky past.

Next it was a drive up to Williamson Park (the sun was out and so were the midges) where we tested a few locations and made a note of the sun’s position. I had to sit in a few of the test shots to give the art director an idea of how the composition could be made up and whether we could utilise the great few of Morecambe Bay. The curve of stone stairs leading up to the Ashton will make a great backdrop and we noted a few locations around the lake that might work. Finally we did a quick walk through the butterfly house and made a decision on what image we would like taken here (a very simple close up of a child and butterfly).

Our final job of the day was a quick drive to Morecambe to check out a spot for taking a photograph of the Bay that incorporated the Midland Hotel. We headed down to the West End and found a good spot straightaway, although we may need to check the tide times!

The next step is waiting for two days of good weather….

/ Sally Jastrezebski Lloyd

40 miles of unforgettable food

As part of my job, I recently had to spend a morning by a beautiful canal, tasting local food, cooked up by a chef/comedian – someone’s got to do it!

The occasion was the launch at Owd Nells, Guys Thatched Hamlet of a new joint campaign by British Waterways and the Tourist Board to promote places to eat in the Taste Lancashire quality scheme along and near the Lancaster Canal.

I feel I have to get the mention of the weather out of the way first, as, like it or not, it can make such a difference to an outdoor occasion like this, but in the midst of an otherwise pretty wet week, we were lucky to get one of the few fine days.

Phillipa James Cookery Demonstration

Phillipa James Cookery Demonstration

The main event was the cookery demonstrations from local chef and food advocate, Philippa James, who cooked up some bite size treats using mainly ingredients from food producers close to this beautiful 40 mile stretch of water. I won’t list every single item as your computer keyboard would be wet with drool, but here’s a flavour: Lancashire tortilla with Dewlay’s crumbly Lancashire cheese, mini butterfly cakes with Pennine Way Preserves Lemon Cheese, Gracemire Lamb with rosemary, Lancashire honey and garlic and my personal favourite, Port of Lancaster Smokehouse smoked mackerel pate mini melbas with a splash of vodka! The coffee on arrival was provided by J Atkinsons and Co from Lancaster. Guests also went away with goodie bags filled with local produce as well as a copy of the canal-shaped leaflet, 90,000 of which have been printed and delivered to households in the area.

As well as celebrating a great partnership between British Waterways and the Tourist Board, the launch itself turned out to be a great team-building event. A catalogue of life’s ill-timed inconveniences had resulted in our master chef running slightly behind schedule so everyone pitched in. Even our own Mike Wilkinson went from Chief Executive to Chef Executive in a morning, as Philippa called in his assistance to pour on cream and zest lemons!

Almost all of the 15 places listed are offering 20% off a meal until end of November, all you need to do is download your voucher from and most importantly…………



Barbara Howorth

Can you help a young chef help your business?

I recently attended a review meeting of the ‘Young Chef of the Year’ competition run by Lancashire Education Business Partnership (LEBP).

Team and Winners

Team and Winners

Open to all schools in Lancashire aspiring young chefs work in teams of two to design, cook and prepare either a two or three course meal depending upon their age.

The youngsters are judged not only on their cooking skills but also on their team work and table presentation skills. Written work produced supports the food technology national curriculum programme currently taught in schools.

From this September however a new Diploma in hospitality is to be taught in schools and colleges. Being taught at 3 levels: Foundation (equivalent to 5 GCSE’s), Higher (equivalent to 7GCSE’s) and Advanced (equivalent to 3.5 GCE A levels) students will learn about the fundamentals of the industry and the different roles and skills required, through customer service and food preparation, through to legislation and managing people. Check out for further details.

Part of the course requires that students undertake work placements of varying lengths dependent upon which level they are studying to give them a realistic view of the industry. Most work placements are sourced the LEBP and if you feel you would be able to offer a placement please contact the Work Placement team on 01254 584000.

Diane Blakemore