Lancashire (Inc. Manchester)
There is much more to Lancashire than the cliched images of its landscape and people - the harsh existence of the mill towns and brashness of Blackpool. Lancashire is the most varied of the north-western counties; beyond the sprawling industrial and metropolitan conurbation that surrounds Manchester are ridges of sparsely populated flat-topped heights that run right through southern Lancashire from north to south. The rivers and busy motorways share the valleys, while directly above them lies nature in the raw - the Clivigar Moors, Rossendale Forest, Turton Moor and Pendle Hill. Ancient pathways lead through wooded hillsides to 16 th and 17 th century halls, Tudor farmhouses and old stone churches. Celtic outposts lie at the top of magnificent mountain peaks opening-up breathtaking views of unspoilt countryside. Further north is the rugged Bowland Forest, and beyond this the green valley of the River Lune, where sheltered hamlets huddle midst the verdant valley folds.
The Fylde peninsula in the west of the county boasts 60 miles of sandy coastline, and from the mid 18 th century has provided the recreational needs of workers from the ‘dark satanic mills of the North Country'. The sands and bathing are excellent in south Fylde around Lytham and Blackpool; in the north are magnificent views of the Lake District peaks across the Morecambe Bay. The journey to the eastern borders of Lancashire pass through pine forests and bracken undergrowth that fringes tumbling streams, where cattle grids lie incongruously across tiny valley roads. Old traders' routes criss- cross the rugged fells as they rise toward the barren splendour of the Pennine Chain and the Yorkshire border; here the Red Rose takes on a White hue.