Night skies of Bowland in the Ribble Valley shine on visitor delights

Ribble Valley Borough Councils tourism and events officer, Tom Pridmore, with the 2019 Ribble Valley visitor guide, Love Ribble Valley.
Ribble Valley Borough Councils tourism and events officer, Tom Pridmore, with the 2019 Ribble Valley visitor guide, Love Ribble Valley.
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The night skies of Bowland are one of the shining delights featured in the 2019 Ribble Valley visitor guide, Love Ribble Valley.

The 124-page guide – eight pages bigger than last year – is flying off the shelves since being unveiled at the Destinations Holiday Show in Manchester.

The guide showcases Ribble Valley’s many attractions, including its award-winning food and drink, art, heritage, weddings, countryside and even its night skies, two of which – Gisburn Forest and Slaidburn – have been designated official UK Dark Sky Discovery Sites.

This year’s guide features less generic content and more dedicated articles on attractions such as the Rivers Hodder and Ribble, Pendle Hill and dog-friendly walks and pubs.

There is also a "Special Places to Eat" directory, comprehensive "What’s On" and "Places to Stay" listings, including camping and "glamping" sites.

The guide features outstanding photography submitted by local people for a competition organised by Ribble Valley Borough Council’s tourism team at their Facebook page "Love Ribble Valley".

Stuart Hirst, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s economic development committee, said: “Tourism is a key part of our economic strategy and we recognise its potential for growth.

“Our challenge is to develop the visitor economy, while ensuring it does not detract from the beauty of the borough, or adversely affect the local community, which is why we target key markets, such as food and drink, walking and weddings.

“Our visitor guide is a key part of our tourism strategy and the latest edition is a splendid publication by any standards.”

The council’s tourism and events officer, Tom Pridmore, added: “Love Ribble Valley focuses on businesses with a real story to tell offering authentic visitor experiences around themes that the borough is famed for, such as food, outdoor pursuits and weddings.

“It was enthusiastically received at the Destinations Holiday Show, which is attended by thousands of day and short break visitors, and is currently being distributed to tourism outlets throughout the UK, where demand has been very high.”

Ribble Valley is one of the UK’s premier food destinations, dubbed "the Dordogne of the UK", and latest figures have revealed that it now attracts nearly four million annual visitors, an increase of 6.3 per cent, who spend around £120 million between them.

Clitheroe hosts an annual food festival, organised by Ribble Valley Borough Council, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors and is considered one of the best in the country.

The council is also at the forefront of Ribble Valley Wedding Heaven, a partnership with 15 venues licensed for marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships aimed at promoting the borough as a premier wedding destination.

Love Ribble Valley is available from the Visitor Information Centre and Platform Gallery in Station Road, Clitheroe, and as an online or downloadable magazine at visitribblevalley.co.uk.