Couple take over popular Ribble Valley tourist haunt

The Yates family.
The Yates family.

A family whose history is steeped in local newspapers has taken over the reins at a popular Ribble Valley tourist haunt.

Paul Yates and his wife, Erica, whose family is the Crossley family that started the Accrington Observer, are the new faces at Puddle Ducks Tea Room and Village Post Office in Dunsop Bridge.

Puddle Ducks Tea Room and Village Post Office in Dunsop Bridge.

Puddle Ducks Tea Room and Village Post Office in Dunsop Bridge.

The couple, who together with their three children returned back to the UK after living in Bahrain for 13 years, are now looking forward to carrying on the tradition at Puddle Ducks which has been a mainstay in Dunsop Bridge for almost a quarter of a century.

Even though the land is officially owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and forms part of 6,000 acres of land that makes up the historic Whitewell Estate, Puddle Ducks Tea Room and Village Post Office is a bit of a tourist haunt frequented by locals, tourists, cyclists, Olympiads, Her Majesty The Queen and the odd local duck or two.

“We seem to get one or two local ducks waddling in and around the café almost on a daily basis at some point,” said Erica. “We really don’t mind it. It’s their café too! I just wish The Queen would come back and visit again.”

Dunsop Bridge has the claim of being the geographical centre of the United Kingdom and Puddle Ducks Tea Room is part of this attraction.

“People tell us they always stop here at our tea room on their days out or if they are passing through and they have been visiting here since their childhood and we love hearing that.” Paul added.

So far, the Yates family have only made one small change to Puddle Ducks adding “The Hatch”, a mini takeaway stand in the outside patio area that will cater to those visitors who want something quick en route to somewhere else. The couple are also now stocking cycle repair kits in the post office shop after being asked a few dozen times by cyclists passing by.

“We are very aware of what a special place this tea room is. Our children love the idea of owning and running the café as much as we do," said Paul.

“It always has been a family run business and we are very committed to its success right here in Dunsop Bridge.”