IN the footsteps of a duke, 16 knights, a baron, and an earl, a Clitheroe chartered surveyor is the new chief steward of the Forest of Bowland.

Grandfather Michael Parkinson, a long-standing adviser to Lord Clitheroe and Sir Simon Towneley, is taking over the honorary role after devoting more than 40 years of his life to Ribble Valley affairs.

It is the first time someone has held the title since 1922. The 66-year-old, who lives with his wife, Liz, 63, who will become joint steward to the Manor of Slaidburn and Forest of Bowland, aims to promote Bowland and its ‘distin-ctive identity’.

His role will be largely ceremonial and will involve promoting the beauty spot at civic events.

The father-of-two, a consultant at Clitheroe chartered surveyors Ingham and Yorke, said: “I am honoured I have been given this appointment. More than four decades spent as a land agent in Bowland have given me a unique insight into the Forest and its unique character.

"As chief steward, I will be working hard to champion Bowland as one of England’s finest Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

Former chief stewards have included a duke, 16 knights, a baron and an earl, with solicitor Frederick Robinson being the last to hold the title from 1912 to 1922.

Mr Parkinson was appointed by William Bowland, the 16th Lord of Bowland.