Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
4:00 AM 10th July 2021

The Forest Pub And Restaurant, Fence - A Bewitching Prospect

Pendle Hill fascinates me: you can see it brooding over east Lancashire from most places.

In fact, if you didn't have your eyes closed, as the Pepsi Max rollercoaster in Blackpool reached its summit, you could see the Irish Sea on one side, and if quick enough to turn your head in the opposite direction, you would see Pendle standing tall and proud in the distance as if wishing you Bon Voyage on the hurtling 80 mph ride.

However, you cannot see Pendle Hill from the Forest Pub and Restaurant in Fence, though the fabled hill notably associated with the Pendle witches trials, is just a few miles north.

Outside seating area
Outside seating area
Fittingly though, the pub has its own Pendle Gin, made on the premises, along with the Ribble Gin.

Interestingly, the River Ribble is the only river, I am told, that starts off in Yorkshire and ends in Lancashire!

The Forest is under new management and has seen a large investment and refit. It feels new and ready to impress those who have discovered for the first time, or met up again, with this buzzing, friendly country pub.

If the weather is kind a very large seating area outside (some undercover) awaits to give views over open fields. On a summer's evening the west-facing area is a suntrap.

You might not be able to see Pendle Hill but with a glass of Pendle Gin in your hand you can at least raise a glass to the whale shaped hill.

One of the distillers as you enter the pub.
One of the distillers as you enter the pub.
There are daily specials such as starters of Steamed Shetland Mussels and Queenie Scallops along with mains including Monkfish, Cajun Chicken Burger or Sloppy Giuseppe Pizza.

The pub menu takes inspiration from flavours around the Mediterranean, alongside pub classics, Fish and Chips, an 8oz Steak Burger, and other favourites including lamb koftas and pizza. All the pizzas are available gluten free, and the best seller, the Angry Pig can be ordered as a vegetarian version.

On Sundays the roasts are all served with roast and mashed potato, seasonal vegetables, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. The sirloin of beef roast is £15.95 whilst the pork loin with crackling or Goosnargh chicken breast is £14.95.

My chicken was tender and juicy and arrived piping hot served with a seriously rich gravy along with a selection of perfectly cooked vegetables.

My sister chose the Battered Haddock (£13.95) served with hand cut chips, mushy peas and Tartare sauce. Served in a light batter the haddock was gleaming white and tasted fresh.

If you have room for a dessert there is steamed sticky syrup sponge (£5.95) or if you fancy paying homage to Pendle then the raspberry and Pendle gin trifle (£6.50) could be the answer, with just enough gin in so as not to overwhelm the taste of the trifle.

Service was attentive and very friendly with a warm atmosphere.

You can actually stay at The Forest - ideal if you want to have a weekend break or dare I say to slide into bed after your appetising dinner, unless, that is, if you want to burn off the calories and walk up to the top of Pendle Hill!

I found The Forest at Fence a bewitching prospect, hopefully you will too.

The Forest, Cuckstool Lane, Fence, Burnley BB12 9PA