Bowland Bulletin July 2015


Dark Sky Discovery Sites

Image by Robert Ince

The Forest of Bowland is almost ready to submit its application for Dark Sky Discovery Site status for seven public sites across the AONB, thanks to the support of local astronomer Robert Ince. Robert has been working with the AONB to identify the best sites to view the night skies and to provide technical data and photographs to support the application. The sites identified are Beacon Fell, Crook O'Lune, Harris End Fell, Bowland Knotts, Slaidburn, Gisburn Forest Hub and Barley Green. Robert has produced a fantastic series of timelapses and images of the sky above Bowland, take a look!

Why not join us for two events in the autumn at Beacon Fell? Monday 21 September, 8.30pm (age 16+) and Friday 30 October, 7pm (age 8+)

Come and experience an unforgettable night under the stars guided by amateur astronomer Robert Ince.  We will be your guide taking you on an incredible journey through the constellations and along the Milky Way.  Wrap up warm, bring binoculars, and get booked in early! Cost: £5. Please contact to book your place(s) or phone 01200 44800.

Festival Bowland

With the summer holidays almost here the Forest of Bowland is a wonderful place to find family-friendly activities – many of them free of charge!

Spring Wood near Whalley will be hosting a conservation day in the woodland on Wednesday 5th August where volunteers can tackle tasks with saws and loppers.  You can find out more from the ranger by emailing

Beacon Fell Country Park has a great line-up throughout the summer break and with a café on site, and plenty of space for picnicking, it's the perfect place to make a day of it.  Dragonflies and damselflies are in the spotlight on Saturday 25th July, whilst budding wildlife enthusiasts can have a go at pond dipping on Wednesday 5th August and minibeast hunting a week later. Other adventurous mid-week August activities include shelter building on the 19th and Camocraft on the 26th.  Places can be booked by via Eventbright or by phoning 0300 123 6780.  To round off their summer programme the country park will hold a green woodcraft day from 11am – 4pm on Sunday 6th September with demonstrations, bird box making and children's activities.  No booking necessary.

Bugs and beasties will also be getting a closer look with the Wyre rangers on Wednesday 5th August at Brock Valley Picnic Site. More information is available from the Visit Garstang Centre on 01995 602125 or by emailing

Details of other Festival Bowland events can be found at

Museum of Lancashire Exhibition

If you haven't managed to catch our 50th anniversary exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire yet, make sure you get there before it closes on the 26th July!

The exhibition has been a fantastic chance for us to give a wider audience a taste of what the Forest of Bowland is all about – including some of the fun things we got up to in our anniversary year.

The staff at the museum have been brilliant. It was wonderful working with such a professional team and having access to their great collection of artefacts.

You'll find the Museum of Lancashire on Stanley Street in Preston.  Email for opening times.

Teashops Leaflet

The popular Bowland Tea Shops leaflet was recently re-printed supported by the cafes, inns and pubs across the AONB who each contributed towards the re-print.

The leaflet features 25 eateries that offer afternoon tea, and new information in the leaflet inspires visitors to combine their tea shop visit with a walk or bike ride.  The map also incorporates electric bike hire and charge points.  Copies of the leaflet are available from Tourist Information Centres in the area.


Bowland Scrapbook

To coincide with the exhibition for the AONB 50th anniversary, being run at Museum of Lancashire, Champion Bowland has re-published the popular Bowland Scrapbook. The Scrapbook was put together last year to celebrate 50 years of rural life in the AONB and it features stories and photos of changes in farming, village life, visitors and some of the major events happening here since 1964.

Funds raised from donations for the Scrapbook (£5 a copy) will be made available by Champion Bowland and awarded as grants to local projects which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors. For more information see

Scrapbooks are now available at the following outlets around the AONB, please buy a copy and help to support our work in Bowland:

  • Bashall Barn, nr Clitheroe
  • Brabins shop & gallery, Chipping
  • Bridge House Farm tearoom, Wray
  • Longridge Heritage Centre
  • Platform Gallery and Tourist Information, Clitheroe
  • Puddleducks, Dunsop Bridge
  • Scorton Post Office
  • Settle Tourist Information
  • Slaidburn stores and post office

Bowland Revealed

Beauty by Andy Lathom

Mid Pennine Arts will launch the "Bowland Explorers' Club" at this year's Cloudspotting Festival in Gisburn Forest – a great start to the Explore & Engage element of Bowland Revealed!  MPA are planning a series of events, workshops and artist-led expeditions between now and the autumn, all with the aim of reaching communities on the periphery of the AONB and trying to find out how they can be involved in creative projects in Bowland in the future.

Potential partners for this phase of the work include Burnley's Ground Up, In Situ in Pendle, housing association tenants in Preston and communities based in Wyre.

The programme will finish with a celebratory event in October confirming participants in their status as ambassadors for Bowland!

Sustainable Development Fund

Trail Builders - Gisburn Forest

The Forest of Bowland AONB SDF grant scheme is once again open for business!

Did you know that since 2005 over half a million pounds of SDF grant has been awarded to projects in the AONB? These projects seek to improve the sustainability of the area via activity supporting the environment, the economy and the communities of Bowland.

This year £17,000 is available and if you have a good idea for a project you had better get your skates on because the first round of funding has a closing date of 31st July!

To discuss your project first call Cathy on 01200 448000

Champion Bowland

Scything Training

Champion Bowland has awarded three new grants since the Spring.

Bowland Forest High parish council were given £500 towards a shelter to be built on Dunsop Bridge village green, this will commemorate the Queen's Jubilee and provide a handy shelter for walkers, picnickers and bus users.

Friends of Bentham Station were awarded £750 towards their 'Day in the Life' photography project (which takes place on 29th July) which will record life in the town as seen through the eyes of its residents and visitors. The resulting photos will be used to create a new mural at the station.

More 'Friends', this time at Beacon Fell country park, were given £630 to pay for two volunteers to attend a 'learn to scythe' course, and to purchase their own scythes and rakes in order that they can develop and manage a small wildflower meadow at Beacon Fell, where they will educate and inspire visitors about our wonderful wildflower resource.

Champion Bowland is keen to support other small scale projects in the AONB which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors. So if you need up to £750 to get your project off the ground contact


Know Your AONB Workshops

Two free workshops were organised in June to support new Bowland Experience members, or members who wanted a refresher on what the AONB has to offer.  The two hour workshop is designed to help tourism businesses maximise on the opportunities the area has to offer, and covers such things as sense of place, visitor experiences, business opportunities and communications.

The workshop will be offered on-going to BEx members, so if you know of a business with several employees or new employees who could benefit from the training, just get in touch.  Email

Bowland Experience

Electric Bike Network business card

New Members - Since April Bowland Experience has welcomed 4 new members - S@BB Art Gallery - Bashall Barn, School House Self Catering - Newton, The Cabin - Barley and the Assheton Arms - Downham.

Electric Bike Network - a new promotional business card has been produced to promote the Electric Bike Network - both hire and charge points.  This was a more cost effective way of getting the information out to visitors and comes in a handy business card size.  More detailed information is kept up to date on the Forest of Bowland website

Visit England Awards for Excellence 2015 – Very well done to BEx member, The Parkers Arms, receiving a Highly Commended Taste of England Award at a prestigious event held in Gateshead earlier last month; They were up against some of the finest eateries in the country, so a fantastic achievement!

Board Meeting - the board recently appointed two new directors Margaret Wright, Cobden Farm and Mike Pugh who recently retired from the AONB team.  The board met recently and are currently developing ideas for potential collobarative BEx projects that might apply for funding through such channels as RDPE.  The board have also set the date for the AGM and Sustainable Tourism Forum for 10th November.  Further details will be ciruclated in the autumn.


Roadside Verges

Over the last few years the AONB Unit has been working with Lancashire County Council and the District authorities to try to improve the management of roadside verges for wildlife. In the Hodder Valley this activity is now 'bearing fruit' as the very best verges are now clearly marked to both motorists and grass cutting contractors by orange-topped wooden posts. You may see these as you pass by, so slow down and look out for the wonderful display of wildflowers now in full bloom – meadowsweet, common spotted orchids, melancholy thistle, knapweed, ox eye daisy, yarrow and many more. (image)

Roadside verges are effectively remnants of our old hay meadows: they have been left untouched by re seeding, fertilisers and herbicides and as a result they are often rich in wildflowers and fine grasses. Their linear nature makes them act as perfect wildlife corridors - a good source of seed but also vital food for our important pollinators. Often backed by hedgerows and dry stone walls the wildflower verges are a distinctive feature of our outstanding landscape.

These special verges have been left un-touched since the Spring and will now only be cut once at the end of Summer. In some areas the cuttings will be raked off and removed by Friends of Bowland and other volunteers to prevent the build-up of nutrients and becoming overgrown with nettles and brambles. In some other places the verges have been left undisturbed for breeding and feeding birds rather than wildlflowers, and these too will receive a late cut.

We are now looking to extend this work to the Lancaster area of the AONB, so keep an eye out for more blooming verges!

Dry Stone Wall Training

Image by Graham Cooper

Free drystone walling training sessions suitable for both novices and also for those who would like to fine-tune their existing skills. Master craftsman Mike Rushton will be on hand to help guide you.

This year we are running two tasks during which you'll build up your drystone walling skills and help create two bespoke drystone wall features:

Monday 17th August to Friday 21st August 2015 - Fairsnape Fell summit shelter - Help us create a long term secure shelter near the trig point using the stone stockpiled on site. The design will incorporate seating and wind break walls.

Monday 21st September to Thursday 24th September 2015 - Fell Foot Interpretation feature, Parlick - Help build an interpretation feature with a difference! To incorporate viewing windows and arty panels.

For further information and or bookings contact Tarja Wilson on 01200 448000 or

Wildflowers into the Meadows

As part of the Hay Time and Networks for Nectar projects, Gisburn Forest hosted a series of visits from five local primary schools during late June and early July.

The visits were part of an ongoing programme organised by Ribblesdale Rotary Club where KS1 and 2 children are learning all about the importance of species-rich meadows as habitats for both plants and pollinators.

Each school has been given materials and seeds to grow meadow plug plants, which will be planted out at Stephen Park later in the year.  These initial visits, which were led by Lancashire Wildlife Trust, were a chance for the children to experience the beauty of a meadow for themselves and they had great fun surveying the edge of the field, making colour dab bookmarks and going on a bug hunt. Amazingly, the weather was very kind to us too!

The schools will have a third (but hopefully not final!) visit to the meadows next summer to see how successful their plug plants have been.

For more information about Hay Time and Networks for Nectar email

Networks 4 Nectar

Melancholy thistle seed

Save the Date: 15th September

Networks 4 Nectar Project Officer Sarah Robinson honed her skills last week by attending a one-day course at Kew Gardens on 'Seed collectng & use for restoration and re-introduction'.

With her new found skills Sarah is now running a one-day course in September - find out how to harvest and create your own flower seed bank for restoration projects.  If you are interested please get in touch with 01200 448000.