Bowland Bulletin March 2018


Festival Bowland

Festival Bowland Cover - image by Jim Asher

Bowland is full of people ready to share their love of this beautiful area, its landscape, wildlife and heritage, so why not join them on some of the events in the 2018 Festival Bowland programme?

Reward yourself with breakfast on our Dunsop Bridge dawn chorus walk, enjoy afternoon tea after feasting your eyes on Calder Vale's bluebells or head off on a Ribble Valley Ramble then make a meal of it over in Sawley.

Get creative with stone carving and wire sculpting in Craven, turn your hand to fantastic felt flowers in Abbeystead or spruce up your map reading skills in the heart of Bleasdale.

Choose from a multitude of walks in lovely surroundings - from all day hikes to relaxing rambles and lots in between. Garstang Walking Festival in May has options galore!

This year we've introduced three themes which sit within the main programme. Springtime Wildlife, Meadow Magic and Bowland by Night each highlight a particular aspect of Bowland.  From lapwings, hares and butterflies in April, to wildflowers in July and night-time explorations in September, these events are a great way to discover this beautiful part of Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

For information about Festival Bowland events go to where you can also find details of any additional events added during the year.

Discover Bowland

Discover Bowland Cover Image by Graham Cooper

50 local businesses, event organisers and community members gathered to celebrate the release of Discover Bowland 2018 at Gisburn Forest Hub cafe earlier this month– and got the chance to try out Champion Bowland's four-wheel drive, electric Tramper vehicle at the same time.

With everything from walking routes and wildlife features to traditional countryside skills, archaeology and local food, the 2018 guide is packed with information about the AONB.

New for this year are Discover Bowland itineraries - the first in a series of five planned over the next 18 months, the itineraries provide inspiration for short breaks in the area, highlighting suggestions on what to do and where to eat and stay. And thanks to local businesses – all part of Bowland's Sustainable Tourism Network – there are offers and discounts a-plenty.

The guide also includes this year's Festival Bowland programme, which lists a host of events between February and October.   The new guide is available from local Tourist Information Centres and a range of local businesses, or view it online here:

Prestigious Award Shortlist

The Forest of Bowland has been shortlisted as the 2018 Best Holiday Destination in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards.  Now in their seventh year, the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018 are a celebration of the British countryside and its people, from mighty landmarks and outstanding national parks to the best nature reserves and finest rural pubs.

This year, they invited readers to send in their suggestions for the greatest sites in the countryside. Their panel of expert judges scrutinised all the suggestions and deliberated for hours to select five outstanding contenders in each category. 

One of the panel experts and Countryfile presenter, John Craven, speaking about the Forest of Bowland said: “At the very centre of mainland Britain, this is one of the most unspoiled of all holiday destinations in the UK. Although I’m a little worried that by nominating it, it might become too popular!”

Voting closes on 5th March - so not much time to get your vote in!


Bowland Explorer

Bowland Explorer Bus by Mark Sutcliffe

Following its launch last year, we're delighted to welcome back the Bowland Explorer summer Sunday bus service.  Travelling between Bentham and Clitheroe – and linking with rail services at both those destinations – the Explorer bus is a great way to travel across the AONB, whether you aspire to be car free for the day, or just want someone else to do the driving for a change.

Starting from Lancaster, the bus travels through Caton, Hornby and Wennington before reaching Bentham.  The journey then continues via Ingleton, Clapham, Gisburn Forest, Slaidburn, Newton and Waddington to its destination in the market town of Clitheroe.

Whether you want to make the most of the AONB's walking opportunities, sample some of Bowland's fantastic food offers or simply enjoy some wonderful scenery from a comfy mini-bus, why not give the Bowland Explorer a try this summer?

The service starts on 20th May and runs on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays until the autumn. Timetable and fare details will be available via the Forest of Bowland website later in the spring

Champion Bowland

Champion Bowland recently held its Annual General Meeting for 2016/17. The annual accounts and report were approved, and the directors were pleased to see a steady increase in donations.

Champion Bowland raises funds which are managed as a small grant scheme making awards to local projects which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors. More details can be found on the website

Champion Bowland has now become a registered charity, which means that it will be eligible to apply for certain grants and funds previously out of reach. The charity is still in the process of being set-up and is seeking more people to become Trustees, so if you are interested and committed to the environment of the Forest of Bowland please contact

The AONB is very supportive of Champion Bowland and encourages businesses, communities and visitors to make donations when accessing AONB events, services and information. If you have any ideas for fundraising please get in touch!

Tramper at Gisburn Forest

Michelle & Angela - mangers of Gisburn Forest Hub Cafe

The Champion Bowland Tramper is now located at Gisburn Forest Hub and is available to hire from the cafe.  There is a five mile easy access trail from the cafe with a link route to Stocks Reservoir to enjoy the wonderful scenery along the Birch Hills Trail.  The Tramper was launched earlier this month alongside the Discovery Guide and Festival Events programme - Angela Beech and Michelle O'Toole, managers of the Hub Café said, "It was also a great opportunity for people to try out Champion Bowland's off-road Tramper buggy, which visitors can use on a special trail here. It's a great way for those with limited mobility to enjoy the forest with their families."

The Tramper at Gisburn Forest can be booked in advance by contacting the Hub café on 01200 446387 or by emailing - the staff at the cafe will be able to carry out an induction for those new to the Tramper.


Pendle Hill Funding

Pendle Hill LP Board

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership has secured £1.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its ambitious and exciting four year programme of heritage activity based on and around the iconic hill. The scheme aims to reconnect people with their heritage and the landscape of this special place.

The partnership is led by the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the National Lottery grant award is the result of three years of consultation and development. Also on board with the scheme are local councils, farmers and landowners, arts and environment organisations, and community groups.

The chair of the partnership, Ralph Assheton, said “I am very excited that after all the hard work put in by the team and partners, that the National Lottery has confirmed this funding. Now the hard work really begins!”  The team are currently being recruited and work will begin in April - read more about the project and developments here: or for further information contact

A Journey into the Wild

Lancashire: a journey into the wild, the latest book by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust is due out in summer 2018, and can be ordered now at a special pre-publication price and subscription offer. You can obtain your copy(ies) at the pre-publication subscription offer price of £15 (plus £1.95 towards postage) if you place your order before 30 April 2018, and you can also get your name printed in the book in a List of Subscribers. One of the nice things about subscribing is that subscribers can buy a copy for a relative or friend, and have their name included in the book, which makes a lovely, and unusual, gift. There will be a book launch at which subscription copies can be collected post free, and be signed by the author. After publication the book will cost £19.99.


Traditional Boundaries

New skills have been learnt, old skills practised and a good deal of fun had during the hedge laying season so far. Both regular volunteers and newcomers have joined us under the watchful eyes of trainers Geoff Whitley and Joe Craig, who provide both instruction and entertainment. Two days during November last year saw the perimeter of the picnic site at Lancaster's Crook O'Lune given a face lift and the path made passable when 90 meters of hedge were laid. Over near Scorton, over 130 meters were laid around the boundaries of Fell View Caravan Park in the shadow of Harrisend Fell. The weather has been against us a little during January and February but we've managed a day up at Higher Gills Farm above Rimington and will be heading back there again – and to Lane Side Farm near West Bradford – before the season ends. If you'd like to find out more - or join us - take a look at the volunteering page on our website or email

Peat Restoration

Two more areas of bare and eroding peat and damaged blanket bog are currently undergoing restoration management thanks to partnership funding from the AONB, the Environment Agency, Natural England and Grosvenor estate. The work to 'fix the fells' has several benefits:

  • Slowing the flow of water off the fells during rainfall events by blocking gullies and creating pools can help to reduce flood risk further downstream, and as these projects are in the headwaters of the Lune and the Wyre catchments, that’s good news for people living to the west of the fells.
  • Slowing the speed of the water and re-wetting the peat by blocking small gullies and putting in low timber bunds across the bare peat reduces the amount of peat lost through erosion, which helps to improve water quality downstream for aquatic wildlife and for people
  • Reducing the amount of eroding peat reduces the amount of carbon loss from the fells, vital for tackling rising carbon emissions
  • Revegetating the bare peat also helps to reduce peat erosion, but also restores moorland habitats for their iconic wildlife
  • Creating pools to slow water flow also creates aquatic habitats for upland invertebrates, especially dragonflies and damselflies
  • The sphagnum mosses which colonise the rewetted peat and new pools help to re-start the process of peat formation, capturing carbon dioxide from the air and helping to mitigate climatic change

Currently contractors are on site re-profiling eroding peat, creating pools behind peat and timber dams, cutting heather to spread onto the bare peat as well as seeding the bare areas to encourage the growth of upland plant species once the weather warms up.

We are going to be helped by pupils from Abbeystead school to plant heather and bilberry into the bare areas and to seed the new pools with Sphagnum. We will also be making a film about the peat restoration project, so more people can see the work which is being undertaken, without the two hour walk up to the site!  For further information contact