The town of Lancaster has long been a centre for culture, education and commerce. The Romans had a permanent settlement on the same hill as Lancaster Castle sits today. The name of the town is derived from the River Lune and caster, the Old English word for fort. In later years Lancaster developed unique ties to the British monarchy. The House of Lancaster became a branch of the royal family after being embroiled in the Wars of the Roses with the House of York. Although Lancaster has lost many treasures, there are some fine examples of change which marries the best of the old with the best of the new, such as the White Cross Mills site. St George's Quay probably looks better than at any time in its history, and there's more to come on the freshly cleared site just west of Carlisle Bridge. Lancaster has suffered some tragic losses, but it is still a graceful and humane city; it is a place to cherish, and many people do.
Jon Sparks is an award-winning photographer and writer specialising in landscape, travel and outdoor pursuits, especially walking, climbing and all varieties of cycling. He's authored guidebooks for all of these as well as travel guides to Finland and the Baltic. He also writes extensively about photography. Jon lived in Lancaster for over 30 years and now lives in Garstang, less than an hour's cycle away. www.jon-sparks.co.uk