Up North to Bowland

I don’t often have much call to leave the South but I thought I’d make an exception to visit one artist in particular.

Jenny Cork is an artist working on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and my destination for what was to be a thoroughly exhausting but inspirational trip up North.

It takes a lot to drag me away from Brighton. Although I spent a few years trying to convince myself that I belonged in London, one trip down to ‘London-by-the-Sea‘ was enough to convince me that I needed a change of scenery. I’ve lived there now for nearly a decade and can’t imagine going anywhere else. Unfortunately, I’ve got so comfortable there that months often go by without me leaving a 2-mile radius – which is why, every now and again, I like to get out of my cosy, comfort zone and venture somewhere a little different.

So when my Mother called me asking if I wanted to come with her to visit a potential new home, I jumped at the opportunity for a road trip. I know a lot of people might balk at the idea of going on a road trip with their Mother, but I could think of no better travelling companion.

For the last few years my Mother had lived in Newhaven, just a half an hour drive away from my me. She’d made the move from my childhood home in Essex a couple of years after I’d moved to Brighton. She admitted that she was jealous of my coastal town and that she wanted her own close by, so that she could see me whenever she wanted and so she too could walk along the beach whenever she pleased. For years she was happy, but as she grew older and the sea breeze began to set her bones to shaking, she grew steadily tired of this life and wanted to trade in her seaside home for something a little more sheltered.

She’d first seen the Forest of Bowland on Country File and was taken back by it’s stark beauty. When she found out that there were park homes for sale in the centrally located Bowland Fell, she jumped at the opportunity to take a look around. Luckily for me I’d heard about a particularly interesting artist who lived in nearby Clitheroe and knew that if I played my cards right I’d be able to organise a visit of her studio.

The journey up to Bowland was a smooth one. We’d spent 5 hours or so quietly nattering away whilst admiring the shifting landscape, my Mother getting more and more animated as we continued on our way. The drive inland had been the first she’d done in a while; similarly to me, she’d found herself growing increasingly comfortable in her little town, despite finding the environment increasingly hostile. As we approached the outskirts of the Bowland, she quietly let her discourse slip into melodrama. Gasping audibly, she uttered:

“Isn’t it beautiful!”

It was and the best parts were still yet to come.

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