This is Blakemere in Delamere Forest, recently "rewetted" in a major scheme to restore ancient peat bogs to this ecologically important area.
A lot of this area was drained nearly a couple of centuries ago in an attempt to increase timber production. It is said that the drainage work was carried out by French prisoners of war from the Napoleonic war - something I never knew anything about as a child at Delamere many years ago. When I heard about it years later it set my story-weaver's mind in motion and before long I had the makings of a sub-plot for my next novel.
That next novel is now my present work and Jean-Luc Anquetil has grown into a nearly real character. So I've been doing a bit of reading around the subject. Where were those prisoners held or billeted? How much opportunity would they have had for a measure of freedom, if any? I've searched through Francis Abell's "Prisoners of War in Britain 1756 - 1815" (1914) And I've drawn a blank. Nothing. There's a similar story about French PoWs building stonewalls in Snowdonia but the general opinion seems to be that this is very unlikely because work that could provide income for British workers would not be given to PoWs - though there are some researchers who think it may have been possible.
The nearest parole towns to Delamere were Whitchurch in Shropshire and Ormskirk in Lancashire. But PoWs were confined within strict limits of the town. So what do I do? I could move this bit of the novel a few miles away to Whitchurch and put Jean-Luc into a different situation there. On the other hand, I can still see him in the forest - and this is where Helen lives with her father and their animals.
So why is he there? My "research" seems to have taken a different twist.