Caravan County: Lancashire
Lancashire is a large, diverse county of NW England. It has an impressive 483 kilometres of coastline, superb sweeping beaches, some fascinating upland scenery and a wide range of attractions and services available for the holiday caravan visitor to experience at any time of the year.
From Carnforth in the north west to the Mersey Estuary in the south, Lancashire contains distinctive geographical areas such as the famous Fylde Coast, which includes Blackpool and runs from Fleetwood down to Lytham St. Annes. Inland, the expansive 312 square miles of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty embrace Pendle Hill, (renowned for its historic ‘Witch Trials’) and features the distinctive Ribble Valley. Environmental quality has been improving for over a decade, reflected by official records showing that freshwater and coastal water standards have been enhanced, with 92% of rivers in the county verified as of good or fair chemical quality. Whilst wind turbines ‘might’ proliferate over coming years, most views will remain totally unspoiled and the general air quality is high.
Around 42,429 hectares of the county – some 13 per cent of its total area – are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, indicative of a high and improving nature conservation significance and interest. As part of Lancashire’s northwest coast, the Arndale and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty comprises just 75 square kilometres in area, yet no less than fifty per cent of all the flowering plants native to the British Isles can be found here – making this ‘biodiversity hot-spot’ truly a botanist’s paradise. The large RSPB Nature Reserve, famous for Bitterns, can be found at Leighton Moss, whilst, in Bowland, the characteristic wildlife includes Hen Harriers and Ring Ouzels flying over internationally-important blanket bogs and heather moorland habitats.
If heritage and culture are ‘more your thing’, you could try a day out on the scenic East Lancashire Railway, which runs from Heywood to Rawtenstall, via Ramsbottom and Bury. Providing passenger services from 1846 to 1972, a period of closure was ended by the efforts of the local Preservation Society and the line re-opened in 1991. Alternatively, sample the ‘clutch’ of National Trust properties of Stubbins Estate and Holcombe, Elizabethan Gawthorpe Hall or Rufford Old Hall, near Ormskirk. If interested in national transport history, the unusual Commercial Vehicle Museum forms part of the Town Museums Service in Preston.