When we consulted for our Neighbourhood Plan, way back in 2016, one of the high priorities for the Parish was that they wanted a community venue and café. After looking at many possibilities, the Parish Council bought the old Toll Bar Cottage; renovated and extended it. In 2021 it opened its doors and is meeting the need.
The Cottage has and is receiving funding from the National Lottery under the Reaching Communities Fund, received funds from Enviro towards landscaping, from CiL and from the Parish Council itself, which has been contributing limited funds from the precept towards the running of the building.
The Parish Clerk & the secretary to the XXXX are based at the cottage in the Parish Office.
The building retains its historic core, where generations of Turnpike Trust keepers lived from the mid-1700s. This has been fully renovated whilst holding on to its character…so mind your head on the beams! The original fireplace and toll payment window have been kept, with a modern industrial kitchen installed. The building has also been extended to the east.
The Café is in two sections; the extension area, with its clean lines and rustic furniture, and the old cottage, with relaxing chairs around the original fireplace. Both areas are available to book when not in use by the café.
The downstairs toilet is fully accessible and has been equipped with baby changing equipment. There are display cabinets for local craft workers to display their items and art spaces, with a small fee charged for this service. Sample agreements for the display of artworks and the display of crafts can be found at the links below:
Upstairs, there is the parish Office and an open plan area with local history books and other books of local interest, plus a computer to access the Lancashire County Council Archives website. There is additional seating in this area, which can also be used by the café in busy times or for meetings
Outside is a walled garden, with a veranda with seating for use in better weather.
The “Tenon” post, later used as the toll gate post, alongside a “pike” stone and the old gate post from the donkey paddock form a small henge.
In front of the older part of the building is a cottage garden, with traditional bushes and plants. Along the east and south sides are fruit trees and space for the village Christmas tree. Then, along the west wall, we have placed bicycle racks for the Guild Wheelers.
A booklet on the history of the Cottage is available for £1 from the cottage.
The Cottage Café operates from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Saturday. Please check the Toll Bar Cottage Facebook Group for any changes to these times.
Outside of these hours, the café and meeting rooms are available for groups, families and others to use for a contribution to costs. Celebration events will be able to use the kitchen provided it is left clean and tidy. View and download our Lettings Form .
The building is overseen by the Centre Manager with her team of volunteers. We are always on the lookout for more volunteers, who will be given training if needed. If you're interested in sharing some of your time with us, please complete and submit this Volunteering Form .