A moorland walk to the UK’s best gastropub – the Parkers Arms, Lancashire

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A hike in Bowland fell country is the perfect starter to a feast of award-winning modern British classics in a rural inn

here are two ways for a walker to work up an appetite. Tramp over moorland and collapse into a pub to scarf a pile of carbs. Or do a gentle pastoral ramble, so you have enough energy to appreciate the awaiting food. As my Bowland outing was going to conclude at the Parkers Arms – the UK’s no 1 gastropub, its 12th best restaurant and gold medallist at the British Pie Awards – I tried the easy option. That walk can be found here. It’s a pleasant, well-trodden route but, frankly, lazy. How can you justify a full-on feast without burning off a few calories?

So I thought again and decided to include Easington Fell, the handsome hill that presides over the villages of Newton and Slaidburn. I started at the latter, because I’d chosen it as the place to spend the night, and because it’s a pretty little place. It sits on a curve in the River Hodder that’s known as Jam Pot Corner because that was the name of the teashop that used to sell day-passes to anglers; a fly-fisherman was working the beat when I passed. It’s home to a YHA in what used to be the Black Bull pub, a busy local history archive – you’ll see old clogs in the window display – and the Hark to Bounty, a coaching inn that has been here since the 16th century.

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