Bowland Bulletin February 2016


2016 Discovery Guide

Dark Sky Discovery Sites; family-friendly activities; local producers and over 80 Festival Bowland events are just a few of the things featured in 2016's Discover Bowland brochure.  Keen photographers have the chance to get one of their pictures chosen for the 2017 Bowland calendar, whilst youngsters can have fun coming up with ideas for a new ice-cream flavour, or working out the subjects in the Bowland Picture Puzzle Competition.
The free guide is available from Visitor Information Centres in and around the AONB and also from a range of local venues, businesses and accommodation providers.  An on-line version is available on the Forest of Bowland AONB website at along with a full calendar of Festival Bowland events.

If you would like a copy of the guide please contact

Festival Bowland 2016

Once again we'll be joining lots of other AONB’s throughout the country to promote Outstanding Week, which runs from 17th to 25th September: the perfect opportunity to discover and enjoy some of our most treasured landscapes.
Coming up soon, early spring events include an Easter trail, a moorland safari walk, family-friendly felt making, the first of three Pendle Hill walks, an evening's bat spotting plus the chance to watch roosting whimbrel.
With thanks as always to the volunteers, landowners, local experts, businesses and countryside staff who share their knowledge and enthusiasm of Bowland's birds, wildlife, landscape and culture.

For the full Festival Bowland programme go to or email

Family-Friendly Bowland

Illustration by Louise Mills

Why not take a look at our Family Fun web page?  Just the job for getting a little inspiration before you head off into the great outdoors!
You'll find ideas for picnic spots and family-friendly walks, events and agricultural shows. And now we've added a whole host of downloadable activity sheets and quizzes – everything from Bowland Bingo and village "I Spy" sheets to tricky tree anagrams and range of beautiful wildlife illustrations by local artist, Louise Mills, which are great for colouring in. 
Plus, entrants to our Bowland Picture Puzzle competition have the chance to win a free family ticket donated by Cobble Hey Farm and Gardens near Garstang.  A big thanks to them!

You'll find everything at

New Rail Interpretation

The AONB are working with Northern Rail and the Community Rail Partnership to put together interpretation boards from rail stations at Giggleswick, Clapham, Bentham & Wennington.  The boards will include information about the walking and cycling opportunities in the area, as well as general information about Bowland.  We are also going to include information about tourism businesses on the boards and have offered this advertising space to Bowland Experience members.  If you would like any further information about the this project please contact  


Champion Bowland

Did you know that Champion Bowland is a small charity which works to enhance the outstanding landscape of the Forest of Bowland AONB? It provides easily accessible small grants (up to £750) for local projects which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors. Champion Bowland raises funds from visitor donations, charitable activities and other sources. It also benefits from any profits earned by its trading subsidiary, Bowland Experience Ltd.
At the Annual General Meeting of Champion Bowland held last November the Trustees said goodbye to their retiring Chair, Jonty Collinson. Jonty had been involved in Champion Bowland since its inception in 2012 and had helped greatly in organising and supporting projects locally, especially the Tramper projects around Scorton. The Trustees have since appointed Paul Reynolds of the Traddock Hotel in Austwick as Chair of Trustees and appointed Phil Dykes, who recently retired from the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, as a new Trustee.
Since last Autumn Champion Bowland have awarded one new grant to Lancaster Bee Keepers for their planned new 'pollinator patches' and wildflower meadows in Caton and Hornby. (insert image)
If you have a project in need of funds, check here to see if you meet the fund criteria
If you are a keen fundraiser then why not adopt Champion Bowland as your local charity – we have collection boxes available or you can donate by text with Just Giving or online with BT MyDonate: just search for Champion Bowland or visit our fundraising page

Bowland Revealed – A Very Special Meeting!

Join Bowland Explorers for a free, family friendly, magical adventure in the forest with Wild Rumpus, the creators of Just So Festival. Join the Explorers Club and get a personal invite to this wondrous, one off event on 12th March. 
The Bowland Explorers have been busy since last July attracting new members to this club dedicated to exploring the magnificent Forest of Bowland.  If you haven't come across these wonderfully eccentric, pith helmet wearing, folks, then you have missed a treat, but there’s still time.  A very special event of exploration and discovery, assisted by the fantastic Wild Rumpus, will take place on 12 March.  Join us in the quest to find the Explorers missing founder, Gertrude Fulshaw Smythe.  By invite only, visit to get yours.
Latest news:  The Bowland Explorers will be setting up camp at Brockholes Nature Reserve on Sunday 28 February!  Join Senior Explorers Cath and Lady Shonarella for FREE family friendly activities between 10am and 4pm. 

AONB Sustainable Development Fund

Two of this year's supported projects have already delivered their activity using grants from the AONB: the village hall in Bolton by Bowland has been refurbished and this has increased its energy efficiency, thus contributing to its economic and environmental sustainability. See what they get up to here
Burton in Lonsdale village also built a new sports pavilion with our support: the SDF grant enabled them to invest in infrastructure to install renewable energy systems in the future, thus making it a sustainable and income generating scheme. Although the pavilion is outside the AONB the community it serves lies largely within our boundary.
Sadly, we are unable to offer Sustainable Development Fund grants to projects in 2016. After 10 very successful years the grant scheme is now taking a break. A decision was made by the AONB Joint Advisory Committee that the AONB Partnership funding is needed elsewhere to support delivery of other Management Plan objectives.  We are happy to signpost communities to other grant schemes so please contact us if you are in need of fundraising help:


Parish Logo

We have been working with Bolton-by-Bowland, Gisburn Forest and Sawley Parish Council to develop a parish logo with a Bowland identity, that could be used on their new parish website.  Have a look at their newly launched website and if you would like to utilise this logo in your own parish, please get in touch.  Email  

Bowland Experience

A big thank you to the Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green – one of several venues owned by Bowland Experience member,  James' Places – who hosted the launch of the Discovery Guide on Tuesday 19th January.  It was a great networking morning attended by over 30 BEx members, tourism staff, event organisers and councillors.  The press release can be viewed here  

Sustainable Tourism Forum

The annual Sustainable Tourism Forum & Bowland Experience AGM was held on Tuesday 10th November at the Assheton Arms, Downham.  It was a buzzing evening with lots of useful information shared among members. Including updates on dark sky tourism, opportunities through Rural Development Funding and an update on the work of Champion Bowland.  Thanks to the Assheton Arms for providing such a cosy venue with fantastic food!  


Hedge Laying Competition

The chance to admire – and practice – a traditional countryside skill comes to the Ribble valley next month.
The 2016 Forest of Bowland Hedge Laying Competition will take place at Laneside Farm, West Bradford on Sunday 6th March, between 9.00am and 3.00pm, by kind permission of William and Mary Horner.
Held annually, the competition is part of the Lancashire and Westmorland Hedge Laying Association's Grand Prix calendar and is organised by Lancashire County Council, Ribble Valley Borough Council and the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A journey through the AONB shows just how important hedges are in this area.  Hand in hand with their landscape value a strong, healthy hedge can also act as an effective stock barrier whilst providing food and shelter for a wide range of wildlife, from birds to small mammals.
The competition itself has three classes – Championship, Novice and Open, and attracts both highly skilled practitioners and those new to hedge laying.
Anyone interested in having a go themselves - but not quite ready to throw their hat into the ring – can book onto the training session which will run alongside the more formal competition.

To register for the competition, or to book a place on the training session, contact Dave Padley on 07860 578558 or email

Tick Poster

We have been working with Public Healthy England to produce a new Tick Information poster, so that visitors and local people can find out more about ticks and how to protect themselves.  The poster is available to download from the website or view a copy here.

Undergrounding for Visual Amenity

Thanks to those parish councils, partners and businesses who nominated lengths of overhead power wires to be included in our undergrounding scheme, which is funded by OFGEM and delivered locally by Electricity North West Ltd.  Despite the impact of the winter storms on power distribution in and around the AONB, the shortlisted schemes are now being investigated further by engineers who will draw up technical plans for their delivery over the next few years. There is still opportunity to nominate an ugly stretch of wooden poles that may blight your outstanding landscape, so please contact the AONB Unit if you would like your eyesore investigated for inclusion


At the end of March we will be saying our farewells to Nick Osborne and Tarja Wilson, who between them have given many years of service to the Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership. Nick has been the AONB Unit Manager for the last four years, but also worked alongside us as Countryside Sites manager at the county council for many more. His enthusiasm for projects such as the Hen Harrier webcam and the voluntary ranger service has enabled many thousands of people to enjoy Bowland.

Tarja has been with the county council for over 25 years, both as a ranger and countryside officer: but always in Bowland. Her unfailing enthusiasm, friendliness and can-do attitude will be greatly missed by us all. Tarja's work in the north and west of Bowland in recent years has included increasing opportunities for Tramper users, horse riders and volunteers through projects such as the North Lancashire bridleway, traditional boundary training and much, much more.

We wish both Tarja and Nick well in their new adventures, and we hope to still see them both regularly in Bowland.