THE Plough Inn is a fitting name for an atmospheric old coaching halt, sending out an inviting call to break your journey and just wallow in indulgence.
Surrounded by farmland and standing at the foot of looming Farleton Knott, the Plough on Cow Brow (honest!) on the A65 is only a few minutes from the M6, yet it’s worlds away from the frenetic rush.
The building dates back to at least 1851 and has had its ups and downs, but after its rescue by Punch Bowl Inns in 2009 it’s now definitely on a high, with a makeover to transform it into one of the Lake District’s very special boutique-style inns.
The place was gutted – some walls were knocked down, and the roof came off – and the restoration has opened up the inside, but with oak beams and floors, along with a mix of antique furniture, comfy leather sofas and chairs, wine caves and wood-burning stoves, it now has the feel of a rather well-off home farm in a TV period drama.
We stopped off on our way south towards Kirkby Lonsdale from a walking holiday in the Lakes with Ramblers Countrywide Holidays, and were met with a very friendly and attentive young staff who showed us to our room and were happy to chat about the revamp and its obvious success.
A drink at the bar, noticeably also popular with locals, and then a freshen up before dinner, with an extensive menu and daily specials to choose from. My wife was delighted with asparagus and ricotta tortellini, truffle and lemon butter and Parmesan salad; while I opted for pan-roasted cod with horseradish mash, baby beets and green beans, along with a bottle of very acceptable rosé and an individual lemon meringue pie for dessert – thanks, chef Mark.
A gentle wind down with coffees, and then it was time to crash out in style.
The thoughtful restoration of The Plough extends to the five luxury bedrooms and suites, where large sash windows let the light flood in during the day, and blinds and curtains help the atmosphere after dark. Although the A65 can make its presence heard, that’s soon lost as you make the most of the huge bathroom with roll top bath, mood lighting and monsoon shower and relax on the sofas or oversize sleigh bed.
Rooms are from £100 a night and there are always special offers worth checking.