A joint project between Lancashire Arts Development, the Forest of Bowland AONB and Ribble Valley borough council, Bowland Revealed has been awarded £62,000 grant funding from Arts Council England via their Grants for the Arts strand. The programme began in May last year and will run until the end of December 2015.
The Bowland Revealed project received some positive press coverage during its first phase and was very fortunate to be picked up by BBC TV's Countryfile programme, which featured the Landmarks artworks on the episode broadcast on 30th November 2014. Broadcasting Audience Research Board figures estimate that this particular episode had an audience of 6.81 million – a fantastic boost for the project and a great showcase for the artists and the Forest of Bowland AONB. Originally intended to be on public view for a seven week period (from 20th September to 9th November), the interest shown by the BBC also resulted in the Landmarks having an extended run to the end of December.
During 2015 the Bowland Revealed programme will focus on the Explore & Engage strand, which aims to encourage involvement by communities around the periphery of the AONB – particularly in those areas which are shown traditionally to have low arts engagement.
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This year we are very pleased to be working with Lancashire County Museum Service to hold an exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire.
The exhibition will help to extend the AONB's 50th anniversary celebrations and will run from 9th May until 26th July at the Stanley Street venue in Preston. Featuring key Forest of Bowland information, details from the Bowland Scrapbook, fantastic images and a variety of interactive activities for children, the exhibition has something for the whole family and will be a great opportunity to reach a new audience.
In addition, on Bank Holiday Monday (25th May), there will also be free, drop-in art workshops delivered as part of the Bowland Revealed Explore & Engage project.
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This year's programme will run from February through to December and is offering over 90 events in and around the AONB.
Once again, events have been made possible thanks to landowners, local experts, businesses and countryside staff including Wyre Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, RSPB and Lancashire Wildlife Trust.
During late spring and early summer why not look out for the Whimbrel Roost Watch on 29th April, Rathmell Heritage Ramble on 10th May, Map and Compass training on 30th May, an Evening Bat Walk on 5th June and a Ribble Valley Ramble on 26th June?
For details of all this year's events see the full programme within our new Discovery Guide or visit the website.
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The AONB team are running one of the Dunsop Bridge Village Hall 'Sunday Teas' on Sunday 31st May, to help raise funds for Champion Bowland. Please come along and support us and treat yourself to sandwiches and home made cakes. If you can help by making a cake that we could sell – even better! Please get in touch email@example.com
We are in the final stages of putting together our bid to Heritage Lottery Fund and will submit this by 1st June. The Landscape Partnership aims to conserve and enhance the Pendle Hill area, to re-connect people with their landscape and their past, to safeguard the area's wildlife and heritage, and to improve people's access to this popular countryside area. Weaving through the programme and gathering together the two sides of the hill, will be a creative and digital thread, providing exciting opportunities for people to get involved and to be inspired by this special place.
We will keep you updated as the bid progresses. For for further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Scrapbook publication was a great success and rounded off a great little project for 2014. Just under £1000 was raised through sales of the book, and the Trustees were so pleased with this that they have funded a re-print to go on sale primarily through the Museum of Lancashire to coincide with the exhibition. Copies will also be available at points of sale throughout the AONB for a donation of just £5, so get your copy quick!
Contact the AONB office if you would like a copy 01200 448000.
The 2014 fund was all spent up with 8 projects receiving a total of just over £19,000. Schemes this year included invasive species monitoring and removal in both the Wyre and Lune river catchments; a new biomass store at Thorneyholme school and insulation improvements at Pendleton village hall. More details of these and all the schemes we have supported over the years can be found on the website http://forestofbowland.com/SDF-Projects-201415
The 2015 fund will soon be open for business.
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The Forest of Bowland is a stargazer's paradise - one of England's darkest areas making it a great destination both by day and night! During March we organised two workshops, attended by 20 Bowland Experience businesses – 'Star Tips for Profit', helping tourism businesses to gear up to provide an unforgettable dark sky experience for customers. The workshops, held at Wyreside Lakes Fishery and Stirk House Hotel, were delivered by local astronomer Robert Ince who has also helped the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park develop their offering and was the resident astronomer at the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory for its early phases. Working with Robert, the Forest of Bowland is currently applying for Dark Sky Discovery Site status for a number of sites across the AONB, so visitors can view the skies at their best! We'll keep you posted as things develop over the next few months!
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January saw the launch of a mobile friendly version of the website with some simplifications to design. Statistics showed that increasing numbers of visitors were accessing the website via smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices and the old site, created several years ago now, just wasn't customised for these various platforms. The new site is much fresher looking, with easier navigation and more images; feedback to date has been very positive and new interactivity via 'photo of week' has proved very popular. Have a look at www.forestofbowland.com
Discover Bowland 2015 was launched in February and includes a wealth of information to tempt people out into this beautiful area. The full-colour A4 guide, which is available on-line and from local tourist information centres and selected venues, includes everything from walking routes and recipes to award winning green tourism businesses. And this year, for the first time, the new discovery guide features the Festival Bowland annual events calendar. Bowland Experience members supported the guide through business advertising, making the project viable.
Local businesses, tourism representatives and event providers joined AONB staff at a special celebratory launch of the guide held at Gibbon Bridge Hotel near Chipping on 11th February.
Due to demand we have also recently re-printed the Bowland by Bike Leaflet and the Gisburn Forest Bike Trails leaflet, supported again by Bowland Experience business contributions and the Forestry Commission.
The N4N project is now delivering more by supporting community groups and smaller projects. In Lancaster District we are working with the Lancaster Beekeepers, creating nectar strips on community spaces along the Lune Millennium Park and in Caton and Hornby villages; in Clitheroe we are supporting the Ribblesdale Rotary in their schools project 'Wildflowers into the Meadows', helping five schools grow plug plants to plant out into one of our restoration sites at Gisburn Forest; in Hurst Green and Dolphinholme we are supporting the church wardens in improving management of the church grounds; in Chipping we are supporting Chipping in Bloom further develop their wildlife areas in the village; and at Beacon Fell Country Park we are working with the ranger to restore areas of grassland to meadow, and grow on plug plants with Krishen, our placement student from last year.
During the winter months we have been preparing for our summer season of restoration, management, advice provision and public events. On Thursday 16th April we hosted a Networks for Nectar event at the Stirk House Hotel, where interested landowners, businesses and community groups came together to find out more about the project, and the importance of bees, visit the hotel gardens and hear about the work they have undertaken to support pollinators and other wildlife.
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Since the completion of the Pennine Peat LIFE bid (still awaiting news), we have been working on developing and delivering species recovery plans for key species in the AONB area. Plans are under way for globeflower, juniper and greater butterfly orchid, and are being discussed for black grouse. We have also been working on the datasets for priority habitats within the Pendle area, with a view to surveying the woodland sites this spring and summer.
Hedge laying: Winter 2014-2015
Once again hedge laying training sessions have been well supported with more than 32 members of the local community including volunteers, contractors and farmers attending. These have been held at the Crook O' Lune - Lancaster, Keasden - Craven and Bleasdale - Wyre. All participants use the Lancashire & Westmorland Style with expert guidance provided by local trainers.
The highlight of the season was the Bowland hedge laying competition held at Lane Side Farm, West Bradford on 7th March.
The hedge laying was organised and funded by the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Lancashire County Council.
There was a total of 104 hedge laying training days for Winter 2014/2015.
Hedge planting with Ribblesdale Students
8 students from Ribblesdale High School spent 6 days during February-March planting over 300 metres of hedgerow on Saddle End Farm – quite an achievement! These skills are credited to the on-going NVQ qualifications in Countryside Management and Animal Care that they are taking.
Garstang/River Wyre access for all path
Works have been completed on the riverside footpath between Wyre Lane and Broom Hill on the east side of the River Wyre at Garstang. This is now a surfaced path with gates suitable for use by the majority of footpath users. Garstang Millennium Green Committee engaged Proffitts CIC to project manage the scheme, and the project has been funded by Lancashire Environment Fund (LEF), Wyre Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.
Bilsborrow canal towpath ramp access
Work has been completed on a new ramp access between the canal and the A6 at Green Man Bridge adjacent to Barton Grange. Myerscough & Bilsborrow Parish Council have been working over the past 2 years with the Canal & Rivers Trust with support from Wyre Borough Council and Lancashire County Council to improve the canal towpath between Bilsborrow and Barton Grange Garden Centre/Marina. The whole length has been surfaced with associated edging maintenance.
Nicky Nook Fell, Nr Scorton-path improvements
The second phase of path improvements on the main footpath over Nicky Nook Fell between Snow Hill/Higher Lane junction and the SE side have been completed using a technique that creates a sub-soil path using natural materials on site. This brings the total length to 1.3km of sub soil path with associated drainage works and includes the creation of two stone pitched crossings points for quad bikes.
Promoted routes monitoring & maintenance
The volunteers' valued support continues in helping us to monitor promoted routes across the AONB and carry out minor maintenance and waymarking whilst out and about. Additional follow up maintenance has also been carried out on stiles, gates, boardwalks and signposts using local contractors.
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As part of the Undergrounding for Visual Amenity (UVA) programme, Electricity North West (ENWL) has been working with the Forest of Bowland AONB to identify visually intrusive sections of overhead lines for undergrounding.
Two undergrounding schemes have recently been working towards completion: Deep Clough to Winder in Littledale and Laund Wood to Middle Lees, near Whitwell.
In addition, ENWL have now announced future UVA funding allocations for AONBs and National Parks as part of their new business plan approved by OFGEM in the recent price review (RIIO-ED1). The Forest of Bowland AONB has been allocated approximately £1.8m to fund undergrounding scheme between April 2015 and March 2023.