Pendle café is little treasure
Philippa James discovers Noggarth End Cottag,e a tiny treasure in the Lancashire countryside
One of the great things about the group Made in Lancashire is the way their signs pop up when you least expect them. Like the time when I made a spontaneous detour through Roughlee simply because I’d never been there before.
The village itself - where Pendle witch Alice Nutter is reputed to have lived - is picture perfect, but for me the real treat came as I left Roughlee behind, making my way along the windy country lanes.
There, in the middle of nowhere, on a bend in a quiet country lane, was a Made in Lancashire sign. I had to stop and find out more. What I discovered was the tiniest caf� that I have yet come across, so tiny, in fact, that there aren’t even any chairs inside, just an outside seating area, and the most spectacular 360 degree views of the stunning surrounding countryside.
It was with some amusement that Jackie Neil, proprietor of the caf� at Noggarth End Cottage watched, as I scribbled notes from the entire unscheduled interview with her, into the back of my cheque book.
This tiny cottage has been welcoming ramblers, travellers and locals with, as Jackie said, ‘a brew and a butty’ since the early 1900s, although Jackie has only been here for two years. The cottage was built in the 18th century and was a toll house, originally with a gate overseen by the owners.
I wondered how such a small business could survive, out here in the middle of nowhere and the answer came from a customer who had just walked in. ‘The great thing with this place is the food is so good, and the breakfasts are fried; you can really tell the difference!’
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The caf� - which has a website at www.noggarthend.co.uk – receives much local support from hungry farmers as well as other regulars who ring their orders through for collection as they are passing by. I was surprised at the variety of customers who visited while I was there, gaggles of giggling children, who said they love the old fashioned sweets, walkers, young and old and tourists, curious as to what the cottage actually sells.
Jackie is keen to support fellow producers, using local milk and organic, free-range eggs, getting her sausage and (delicious) bacon from Pasture Farm Foods in Nelson, where she also gets her ice cream - more than ten flavours - from Slater’s, who are based in The Old Ice Works.
Jackie makes her own daily ‘specials’, hot pots, pies, casseroles, with seasonal twists where she can; pumpkin soup for Halloween, pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, and the like. But, as well as having prices so inexpensive you ponder how she can make a living, there are shades of ‘days gone’, with steaming mugs of Horlicks, or warming Bovril on offer for walkers, or visitors from the two local caravan parks… and jars with sweets to keep out the chills, winter nips, and cough candy… and, talking of walkers, the caf� also offers that most welcome of sights; a toilet, albeit in the garden!