Bowland Bulletin October 2015


Bowland Revealed

Mid Pennine Arts are managing the Explore & Engage element of the Bowland Revealed arts project and summer 2015 has seen the birth of the Bowland Explorers: an intrepid crew of pith-helmeted adventurers who have pitched their tent at various locations in order to encourage like-minded folk to discover the wonders of the AONB.  To date, the Explorers have visited Cloudspotting in Gisburn Forest, Burnley Canal Festival and Blackburn Heritage Festival and are set to make an appearance at Lytham Hall in Wyre for the Hopeful & Glorious art and craft fair in November.

Alongside the Bowland Explorer's Club, In Situ have been working with Brierfield-based group, Mums Together, who have visited Gisburn Forest, Downham, Clitheroe Castle and Dunsop Bridge to enjoy picnics and walks and to gather inspiration for creative projects back at base. Writer, storyteller and film maker, Steve Fairclough (in the guise of an anthropologist) has been journeying around Bowland, interviewing the people he meets on his travels and blogging about his observations.

Finally, Huckleberry Films are documenting various parts of the programme, which is due to close with a culminating celebration delivered by family arts organisation, Wild Rumpus.  Details to follow soon.

For further information contact

Festival Bowland

It's been another busy year for Festival Bowland event leaders and, although this year's programme is now drawing to a close, there is still chance to enjoy some fresh air and exercise on walks with Wyre Council and the Friends of Garstang Walking Festival, hands on practical tasks with Lancashire Countryside Rangers and spooky happenings with the Friends of Beacon Fell amongst others. Beacon Fell's family activities were popular once again, with over 100 people joining both the Easter Trail and summer Gruffalo days. Coronation Meadow walks were well attended, as were the star gazing events, archaeological dig tour and visits to Claughton Hall estate. Training in practical navigation and hedge laying had good booking numbers, as did Lancashire Wildlife Trusts Birds Before Breakfast and Wyre Council/RSPB's Whimbrel Roost Watch. The Spread Eagle's Ribble Valley Rambles, combining a local guided walk followed by a meal at the pub, were popular again this year. We're now planning for Festival Bowland 2016 and welcome ideas for new events which celebrate the birds, wildlife, landscape and culture of the Forest of Bowland AONB. Email with ideas or if you would like to be added to our events mailing list.

Dark Sky Discovery

Image by Robert Ince

Over the summer months we've been working with local astronomer and physicist Robert Ince to identify a number of sites across Bowland that offer the best opportunities for star gazing, and that would be suitable for Dark Sky Discovery Site accreditation. The accreditation is administered by the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and the application process involves gaining support from the land owner and local authority. Robert Ince's expertise has helped in assessing the darkest skies and providing quality images that are submitted as part of the application. So far four sites have been submitted for accreditation: Beacon Fell, Gisburn Forest Hub, Crook O'Lune and Slaidburn. There are a few more potential sites that will also be put forward in the autumn, so we'll keep you posted as things develop. The dark skies have already captured people's imagination and both events, organised at Beacon Fell recently have been fully booked. We are looking forward to providing more events next year as part of the Festival Bowland programme. For further information

For further information visit 

Annual Report

The latest Forest of Bowland AONB Annual Report is now available.  From biodiversity action, pollution reduction measures and undergrounding electricity cables to enhanced community facilities, business support and access improvements, 2014/15 was another busy year for the AONB and its partners.

The report also highlights the projects which helped us to celebrate the AONB's 50th anniversary during 2015, including the Bowland Anniversary Awards, Bowland Scrapbook, Bowland Revealed and Festival 50!  Many thanks to all those who contributed articles and images. 


Champion Bowland

Champion Bowland have been busy updating their website as well as setting up a facility so that people can donate to the charity via a text service, (text CBOW15 followed by the amount you want to text, e.g. CBOW15 £5, to 70070). They are also currently setting up a system to enable people to make donations to Champion Bowland on-line, which will also incorporate the facility to use Gift Aid - watch this space!

The Bowland Scrapbook, part of our Golden Anniversary activity last year, has been reprinted by Champion Bowland and copies are available for a £5 donation from various outlets in the AONB, we will be promoting this more in the run-up to Christmas as it makes an ideal gift! See where you can get hold of copies at:  

Champion Bowland has awarded four 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 on 29th July –which recorded 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 and a travelling exhibition.
Friends of 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.
The 'Church Goes Wild' project run at St Johns, Hurst Green was given £175.00 to purchase a moth trap and ID guides to enable them to run moth trapping events.

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

For further information visit 


Burton in Lonsdale sports pavilion

The 2015 Sustainable Development Fund was allocated by one panel meeting this year as we had a good level of interest from applicants. The £17000 available was mostly allocated and the remainder is earmarked for a project still in development. Successful projects awarded grants were as follows:

Bolton by Bowland village hall received a grant of £4408 to carry out insulation works to improve energy efficiency. This is part of a hall refurbishment project which will make the hall more attractive and cost-efficient to run, and so will generate more income to resource the hall into the future.

Burton in Lonsdale sports pavilion was given £2000 for a renewable energy heat sink as part of a new-build scheme. The committee are currently fundraising to purchase solar thermal and PV equipment to heat the building, and the heat sinks will enable them to store and re-use the excess heat generated.

Ribble Rivers Trust are organising two training courses in 'Pinpointing Diffuse Water Pollution' this autumn. They were awarded £2000 to support 5 Bowland-based farm advisors to attend the course free of charge. This is part of the Ribble Rivers Trust drive to improve river water quality as part of their new Catchment Management Plan.

The Deer Initiative received a grant of £3450 towards deer survey work, to assess the numbers and impact of deer in the AONB. They will also raise awareness of the need for deer management in Bowland via public meetings, school talks, food fairs and workshops for volunteers.

For further information contact

Undergrounding for Visual Amenity

As part of the Undergrounding for Visual Amenity (UVA) programme, Electricity North West (ENWL) has continued to work with the Forest of Bowland AONB to identify visually intrusive sections of overhead lines for undergrounding.

Since April 2015, two undergrounding schemes have completed with poles and lines now down at Deep Clough to Winder in Littledale and Laund Wood to Middle Lees, near Whitewell.

Also, the Forest of Bowland AONB has been allocated approximately £1.8m to fund further undergrounding schemes between April 2015 and March 2023.  The AONB Unit has begun surveying a number of overhead lines for early inclusion in this new programme period.  In addition, a call for potential undergrounding schemes has been made to all the Parish Councils within the AONB.  Parish Council have been asked to send in details of any suggested lines for undergrounding by early December.

Please get in touch with if you would like to suggest any lines to be put forward.


Bowland Experience

We have recently welcomed 9 new businesses to Bowland Experience -  Bowland Cottage - Newton, The Cabin - Barley, Assheton Arms - Downham, Park House B&B - Gisburn, Crook O'Lune Holiday Park - Lancaster, Red Pump Inn - Bashall Eaves, Bowland Pork, Beef & Lamb - Tatham, Bowland Chocolate Company - Slaidburn and James' Places - so a big welcome to them all. Other activites in recent months have included:

  • Development of a 'Know your AONB' workshop - designed for new members to the network to inform them of the special qualities of the AONB and the opportunities for visitors which several members have attended.  A Social Media Workshop was also organised for members held at the Tithe Barn, Browsholme Hall on 30th September and was attended by 10 businesses.
  • Business cards promoting the Electric Bike Network have been produced and distributed to increase awareness of the opportunities and the Teashops Leaflet was re-printed with contributions from Bowland Experience members
  • BEx have been exploring ideas for potential collaboration projects through EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) funding.  A proposal is being developed for a local produce/holiday hamper initiative to benefit a number of tourism businesses including food producers and retailers across the AONB.  We are awaiting for the call for projects under this funding strand before submitting an application.
  • Very well done to Cobden Farm B&B, Sabden and the Bowland Wild Boar Park who were recently re-accredited by Green Tourism, they maintained their Gold Awards - a great acheivement!

For further information or to join Bowland Experience please contact or visit

Sustainable Tourism Forum

Image by Assheton Arms

Tuesday 10th November, Assheton Arms, Downham, BB7 4BJ

16.00 to 17.00 - Bowland Experience AGM

17.15 to 20.00 - Sustainable Tourism Forum

Please join us for our annual get together of tourism businesses and partners - a great opportunity to share news & ideas!  We'll also be treated to a tour and delicious food from the Assheton Arms.  The Forum will also include: a presentation on the Rural Development Fund, the Dark Skies Project and a Champion Bowland update.

We look forward to seeing you there, please reserve your place by completing the booking form.


Wildflowers into the Meadows

Wielding trowels and knee pads, three of the schools involved in the Wildflowers Into the Meadows project have now been back to Stephen Park to plant out plug plants grown over the spring and summer.

Organised through Ribblesdale Rotary Club, children from St. James', Whalley and Waddington & West Bradford Primary Schools got stuck in during late September planting ox-eye daisy, tufted vetch, meadow cranesbill and knapweed amongst others.  A number of the plug plants were grown by the children themselves as part of the Wildflowers Into the Meadow project and these were supplemented by plants grown at Beacon Fell Country Park.

The site, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, was part of the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust/Forest of Bowland AONB Hay Time project, and three years ago was spread with a crop of green hay from nearby Blackhouse Farm.  This made a huge difference to the seed bank and the meadow was a beautiful site during June and July this year.

The species planted by the schools are those which weren't part of the green hay crop and will greatly improve the biodiversity value of this particular spot.  In turn, this will help to support a healthy population of pollinators.  Good news for plants and people!

For more information about Hay Time and Networks for Nectar email

Pollinator Patches

Lancaster Beekeepers continue to enthusiastically involve local volunteers from the Lune Valley including Community Payback and Littledale Hall to develop and manage a network of small new pollinator sites.  The display of flowering plants this season has been stunning and the areas have been buzzing with insect life.  This is been supported by Lancashire Environmental Projects and the Forest of Bowland AONB Networks 4 Nectar project.

For more information click on Press Releases at

For further information contact or visit

Drystone Shelters

With the support of a local master craftsman, drystone walling volunteers have built two new shelter features and built up their skills along the way.  Over five days, 11 volunteers walked up and down the fell daily to build a new shelter next to Paddy's Pole on Fairsnape Fell.  This substantial shelter now provides a cosy spot to have a snack irrespective of which direction the wind and rain are coming from. The volunteers and master craftsman were certainly fitter after the week!

At the base of Parlick Fell near Fell Foot, a new shelter-art feature has been created in the shape of the top of a Shepherd's Crook.  This will also act as a background for new interpretation-guidance for recreational users using the Bowland Fells.

Beauty Stones

24 stones with the word beauty written in 24 different languages were created as part of the Bowland Revealed project celebrating 50 years of the Forest of Bowland AONB in 2014.  These stones are now being sited in drystone wall features across the AONB.  So far there are 4 in situ on Fairsnape Fell, Parlick and Beacon Fell.

Watch this space as we complete these installations.

For further information contact

Bowland Land Managers Forum

The Forum met in June and September 2015 to discuss a diverse range of topics from the Countryside Stewardship grant schemes and rural development funding to high nature value farming and bracken control.

In addition, the May meeting saw the return of Phil Warren from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust to update forum members on the status of Black grouse conservation efforts in Northern England and in particular the potential to restore this species to the Bowland Fells. 

Previous feasibility work had suggested that efforts should remain focused on extending the range southwards in the Yorkshire Dales before considering translocation of birds to any Bowland sites.  However, the southern range has now advanced close enough to Bowland to reconsider potential translocations.  The AONB Partnership and several landowners have been able to commit funding to support further planning and assessment work which would be required to pave the way for a future Black grouse conservation project led by the Bowland Land Managers Forum.

Farming forum members were also involved in a trip in early August to visit high nature value farming projects in County Clare, Ireland, which is detailed under the section in the report on 'Northern Upland Chain LNP'.

For further information contact