Innovation And Resilience!
Catherine Robinson visits a much-loved Ribble Valley inn, shortlisted for a Lancashire Tourism Award in recognition of its rise from the ashes. Photography: Kirsten Platt
The Three Millstones Inn at West Bradford has been shortlisted for Lancashire Tourism’s prestigious Innovation and Resilience Award. There are few better words to describe Matthew Frost’s thriving Ribble Valley business, which has literally risen from the ashes.
As recently as 17th July 2022, 13 fire engines were in attendance at the well-known Grade II listed hostelry as Matthew watched the flames lick 30 feet into the air. Thankfully, the skill of the fire crews contained the inferno to the pizza kitchen: “If the decking hadn’t been top quality, the flames would have engulfed the whole building,” Matthew says.
It is a measure of Matthew’s resilience and determination that within 24 hours of the near disastrous event, the Three Millstones Inn was up and running again: “We don’t know how the fire started, but there was no way I was reinstating that pizza kitchen!” Matthew explains.
Still shaken by the possibilities that had so nearly destroyed his dreams, Matthew came to a bold decision: “There was only one answer. I had to build back better!”
Barely 15 months from the day that almost rendered Matthew’s life’s work in ruins, he shows me into a bijou luxury suite built on the site of the blaze. “Our eleventh bedroom,” he announces – though bedroom seems a modest word for the charming split-level suite with its own private patio.
Like all of the Three Millstones’ rooms, the newest has independent access and is dog friendly. Such is its charm, I envision myself at the stylish patio table with a glass of wine in my hand and my dog at my feet.
The cosy new room merges the modern with the rustic in what has become the Three Millstones’ hallmark style. The décor is understated but the fabrics are plush with deep carpets and a soft velvet-covered headboard. The whole suite benefits from underfloor heating and, up three steps, is a surprisingly spacious wet-room. The room is beautifully tiled but the show-stopper is its vast shower, which runs its whole width and has a huge, sleek rainfall shower-head.
Matthew’s adaptability doesn’t stop here. His seasonal menu of locally sourced produce is currently utilising the Ribble Valley’s game season, and includes pheasant and venison.
Although the Three Millstones currently features on all well-known booking platforms, Matthew urges future guests to contact him directly: “There’s always a deal to be done,” he says. “And the personal touch allows us to be certain we are meeting your needs.”
Three Millstones Inn
West Bradford, Clitheroe BB7 4SX