Lapwing © David Patrick

Are you a Farmer or Landowner around Quernmore, Ellel or Halton?

25th May 2023

Thanks to a grant of almost £200,000 from National Grid's Landscape Enhancement Initiative, the Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership is working with landowners and farmers to filter views of the high voltage electricity pylons along the north-western boundary of the AONB in the Halton, Quernmore and Ellel areas.

Tree cage

Projects include woodland planting and the creation and management of native hedgerows.

Tree and hedgerow planting in the right places can help to strengthen the connection between important ecological habitats, provide shelter for stock, benefit wildlife and improve biodiversity and water quality.

Forest of Bowland AONB Project Officer, Sandra Silk, said, "Woodland planting areas don't have to be large. In fact, we're looking for small-scale sites, such as field corners, cloughs and small copses, which will suit the landscape and existing field patterns. "

"We're also interested to hear from landowners or tenant farmers looking to plant new, native hedgerows, or bring existing hedge boundaries back into management."

Hedgerow replanting

The programme is being supported by UK conservation charity, the Woodland Trust, who are providing fully funded woodland saplings and plant protection. In addition, the Trust are offering "tree cages". These are small groups of four or five trees protected by timber fencing, which offer an effective way of incorporating field trees into the landscape.

As well as offering tree stock and protection, the funding can also support the cost of planting and stock proof fencing. Projects need to take place before the end of March 2024 and meet certain criteria.

Quernmore woodland

A farmer in Ellel recently carried out woodland and hedge planting as part of the initiative and said, “The scheme has proved to be a great success for us. This is our second round of work and we are really happy with the entire process."

The area covered by the funding stretches from the outskirts of Halton, through Quernmore, to the area north of Ortner and Ellel Crag quarry.

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Sandra by emailing or by calling her on 07973 923142.


23rd May 2023

A riot of colour and buzzing with life, Bowland's traditional hay meadows are true havens during the summer months – and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy them this season.

Hermitage Field Meadow - Crook O'LuneThe Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust are joining forces once again to offer a host of events designed to get people exploring and appreciating this rare and valuable habitat.

Bowland Hay Time Project Officer, Carol Edmondson, said, "With these events we want to give people the chance to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of wildflowers; whether that's through experiencing a meadow at the height of the season, seeing traditional scything in action, getting creative with arts and crafts, or learning how to grow their own wildflower plants."

The series of events begins on 9th June with a meadow inspiration walk at Gisburn Forest and continues throughout the summer, including National Meadows Day and the Northern Scythe Festival over the first weekend of July, plus a second meadow walk and BioBlitz at the Crook o' Lune, Lancaster later that week.

A textile workshop, photography walk and a tutorial on how to grow your own plants and manage a mini meadow are also being planned as part of the programme, with information coming soon.

Continued Carol, "Here in Bowland we're lucky to have some of the last remaining upland hay meadows in the country thanks to the traditional practices being carried out on the farms where they're found. Helping people to discover such special places is a really enjoyable part of my role."

In an addition to the Festival Bowland programme, a Summer Dawn Chorus walk will be taking place on Saturday 10th June at Gisburn Forest. Starting at 5am the event will soak up the sounds of a waking woodland, before heading back to the Hub for coffee and croissants.

Full details and booking information for the Bowland Hay Time summer events and Summer Dawn Chorus morning will be available on the Festival Bowland calendar at Festival Bowland Events | Forest of Bowland AONB.

The Hay Time project is being supported by the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.

Statement on Hen harrier disappearance in Mallowdale area of Forest of Bowland

18th May 2023

Yesterday, Lancashire Police's Rural Crime Taskforce reported the disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier in the Forest of Bowland AONB. 

Male Hen Harrier - image by Andy Hay

The bird went missing, with the tag suffering catastrophic failure, over 4th/ 5th May in Mallowdale, an area of moorland to the south of the village of Wray.  The Rural Taskforce and National Wildlife Crime Unit have since carried out a search of the area but have been unsuccessful in locating the missing bird.

Lancashire Police have issued an appeal to the public for information.  Please contact the Rural Crime Taskforce via 101 or email and quote log number LC-20230516-0307.

Elliott Lorimer, Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership Manager commented:

"The disappearance and failure of this satellite tagged Hen harrier is very concerning.  The Forest of Bowland is often considered a stronghold for this protected species, with conservation efforts in the area aiding the recovery of this threatened bird.  So, any loss in such circumstances is particularly upsetting.  I would strongly urge members of the public to contact Lancashire Police if they have any information that could relate to the disappearance of this bird."


2nd May 2023

May is always a busy month in the Festival Bowland programme and this year is no exception.

Charcoal Making by Keith ParkinsonCo-ordinated by the Friends of Garstang Walking Festival with support from Wyre Council, the Garstang Walking Festival returns between the 5th and the 14th of the month. With over 40 walks, ranging from strenuous hikes to easy access routes and family activities, this annual event is a great way to explore Wyre and the western fringes of the Forest of Bowland.

The Ribble Rivers Trust will be heading out on a water-themed route from Chipping on Friday 12th  and, the following day, history lovers can join All Routes North for a guided  walk taking in the Ribble Valley farm where Gandhi stayed the night in 1931.

On Saturday 20th why not enjoy a morning of outdoor creativity in the lovely surroundings of Gisburn Forest with artist, Keith Parkinson, and Outdoors for All Together? Have fun round the fire pit learning how to make your very own charcoal, then enjoy a relaxed, tutored sketching session before taking your newly made drawing materials away to use at home. A lovely way to spend a spring morning say the organisers.

Pendle Hill Summit by Graham CooperFor a spring challenge, keen hikers are invited to join Forest of Bowland Peatlands Officer, Dom Hartley, for a walk to the top of Pendle Hill on Thursday 25th May, when Dom will reveal the fascinating, but often unseen, world of peat restoration. From coir dams to cotton grass, participants will find out how work on this iconic local landmark is helping to slow the flow, restore habitats and store carbon. And as a reward for all that hard work, delicious Pendle Peat Pie – a hearty local dish - and a well-earned cuppa will be served in the village hall after the walk.

For budding bee enthusiasts, the Bowland Hay Time project will be running a bumblebee spotting workshop on Friday 26th May, back in Gisburn Forest. The session will be a great chance to learn how to identify some of the most common bumblebees found in the Forest of Bowland; plus an opportunity to find out all about the Bumblebee Conservation Trust's BeeWalks – and how to become a BeeWalker this summer.

RSPB will bring the month to a close with the last of their Bowland moorland safaris on Monday 29th when they will be hoping to spot rare upland birds and other moorland specialities.

Details for Garstang Walking Festival are available at:

Information and booking details for all other Festival Bowland events can be found at:

Lucorum on Vetch

Pendle Peat & Pie Challenge

26th April 2023

Join us for a walk to the top of Pendle Hill where Forest of Bowland Peatlands Officer, Dom Hartley, will reveal the fascinating, but often unseen, world of peat restoration.

Pendle Peat by Graham CooperFrom coir dams to cotton grass, find out how work on the summit of this iconic hill is helping to slow the flow, restore habitats and store carbon.

And as we're sure you'll be hungry after all that hiking; we'll be serving up delicious Pendle Peat Pie – a hearty local dish! - and a well-earned cuppa back at the village hall after the walk.

Pendle Peat Pie by In-SituPendle Peat Pie is a delicious dish with a story to tell! Brought to life by artist, Kerry Morison, and independent chef, Andrew Dean, the layers of this vegan pie represent the different elements of peat restoration: dahl for the peat, chips for the coir logs holding the peat in place, and spinach for the vegetation growing on the peat surface. The ingredients are also a reflection of East Lancashire's cultural diversity.

You can find out all about Pendle Peat Pie in this Discover Bowland article

(Please note that the route to the summit of Pendle Hill is steep and participants will need to be physically fit for this event. Thank you.)

Booking essential: For more information and to book a place please email or phone 07973 923142.

£10 (including Peat Pie)

7 to 8 miles. Uneven ground, fields, lanes and tracks with steep climbs. Expect stiles.

New Sabden Tramper is available to hire!

24th April 2023

Tramper launch event at Sabden, image by Mark Sutcliffe

It’s up and running! The Sabden Tramper is ready for bookings. Thanks to everyone who came to the launch, to see and test drive the all-terrain, all electric, sturdy, super wheels.

The tramper is a boon for folk with mobility issues as it helps them enjoy the outdoors and beautiful Sabden countryside with family and friends.  It can be used on two specific routes that have lovely views.
Please note: a ‘walking’ companion must travel the routes with you. 

The Tramper is free to hire,  and the service is run by local volunteers, with support from the Forest of Bowland AONB and the National Heritage Lottery Fund. It isn’t suitable for children.

Donations to Champion Bowland are gratefully received to help with running costs.

Tramper launch event at Sabden, image by Mark Sutcliffe

Have a look at where there’s all sorts of information, and the booking calendar where you can find a date and time to suit you.

You then email to check if your preferred date and time slot are available. Or you can phone Maggie on 07989 401595 to sort out your booking. You’ll meet up on your day and time with a volunteer from the village who’ll explain how everything works and give you a route map.
The volunteer will meet you again at the end of your ride.

Dog Walking Advice for Spring

4th April 2023

We want everyone to enjoy the beautiful countryside at this time of year with new spring life emerging, and as Bowland is a sheep farming area, there is a strong chance you will encounter some sheep or new lambs while out walking locally with your dog.

It is every dog’s instinct to chase, even if they are usually obedient and good with other animals.  Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to sheep, even if the dog doesn’t catch them. The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.

  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times, especially when near farm animals
  • When walking your dog in the countryside, near or on farm land keep a lookout for signs and notices informing you of the rules to be observed regarding livestock

For further advice about walking your dog at this time of year visit the National Sheep Association website.

Also keep a close eye out for our feathered friends - Bowland is an important breeding area for ground nesting birds such as lapwing, curlew, oyster catcher and redshank.   The breeding season, between 1st March and 31st July is a particularly vulnerable time for ground nesting birds. Disturbed birds may be prevented from settling, or if already nesting they will fly away from their nests, neglecting their eggs or chicks. So it's just as important to follow the same dog walking advice as above and keep your dogs on a lead.

Further advice from RSPB can be found here.

Join Festival Bowland for an Arts Festival, Wildlife Forays, Forest Bathing and More...

13th March 2023

It's a delight to be in Bowland during the spring-time months and this year's Festival Bowland events programme offers lots of opportunities to explore this lovely area.

Dunsop Bridge in the Spring

The well-established Garstang Walking Festival will be back between 5th and 14th May this year and you can get a taster of what's to come thanks to an online introduction on the evening of 22nd March.

History hounds can enjoy a series of three walks focusing on famous Bowland visitors. So, if you want to find out more about Wainwright, Cromwell or Gandhi – and explore some beautiful places at the same time – sign up with All Routes North for their sessions in March, April and May.

Pop into the village institute in Hornby over the weekend of 15th and 16th April to enjoy a display of ceramics, art, silk paintings and carving from the Lune Valley and beyond. You'll be able to chat to the makers – and perhaps even treat yourself!

Wildlife enthusiasts can discover the underwater world of invertebrates and fish with the Wyre Rivers Trust's monitoring morning in Scorton on 13th April; explore the weird and wonderful world of earthworms online on the 27th April and seek out waders (and fingers crossed some chicks!) in Claughton-on-Brock with the RSPB on 28th.

The RSPB also have three, guided moorland safaris from Slaidburn starting on 21st April and repeated on 1st and 29th May.

Snipe by Andy Hay

Step back, take a breath and reconnect with your surroundings in Gisburn Forest on a forest bathing evening with Rewilding Outdoor Therapy on 28th April or book a Tramper to explore lovely Grizedale with Wyre Coast & Countryside Service on 29th.

If you want to get out and about but don't want to walk too far, there are regular short walks from Garstang on most Mondays, which don't need booking in advance – so you can make your mind up on the day.

For the keen walker, the Pendle Peat and Pie Challenge on 25th May offers a great (if muscle-testing) opportunity to find out more about one of Bowland's key habitats – peatlands; or why not become a BeeWalker and learn how to monitor bumblebees during the summer?  All will be explained in a morning session at Gisburn Forest on 26th May.

Full details of all Festival Bowland events, including booking information, can be found on the Forest of Bowland AONB website at

New Bowland Visitor Guide

20th February 2023

Discover Bowland Guide CoverRural businesses are encouraging visitors to explore Forest of Bowland AONB all year round with the launch of the 2023 Discover Bowland guide

As the Forest of Bowland launches its 2023 ‘Discover Bowland’ Guide, rural business in the area’s Sustainable Tourism Network are emphasising the year-round appeal of this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As well as offering practical advice and information on making the most of holidays and short breaks in Bowland, the Discover Guide also showcases the increasingly diverse tourism options in the amazing landscapes of the Forest of Bowland.

From perennial favourites like hiking, cycling and increasingly popular e-bike tours, to exploring the night skies, food tourism and the therapeutic benefits of walking with alpacas, the new Guide is packed with useful tips and practical information.

The Forest of Bowland has miles of footpaths and traffic-free cycle trails, outstanding local produce and 'Dark Skies' away from sources of light pollution making it increasingly popular for spring, autumn and winter breaks.

Forest of Bowland AONB sustainable tourism officer Hetty Byrne said:

“It’s encouraging to see so many new businesses starting up in the Forest of Bowland AONB and it’s becoming increasingly clear that visitors really want to discover the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty all year round.

”From a reviving winter break at a country inn with roaring log fires and fabulous local food, to an action-packed family holiday or a short spring break as the countryside bursts back to life, the Forest of Bowland is a genuine destination for all seasons.

“And as our new Eco Escapes itineraries demonstrate, tourists can slash their carbon footprint and support the rural economy by exploring on foot, by bike or e-bike. It really is a win-win for the environment and local businesses alike.”

The Discover Guide is the essential guide for everyone who wants to make the most of their time in Bowland, from locals who want to explore its further-flung reaches to day trippers and visitors who want to get beneath the surface of this unique rural oasis on the Lancashire-Yorkshire Border.

Guide launch event at the Fleece Inn, DolphinholmeThe 116-page Discover guide also includes features about the fantastic work of the AONB Partnership including habitat restoration work for peatlands and hay meadows as well a series of short break itineraries and useful information on accommodation, hospitality and events.

This year’s guide was launched at The Fleece Inn at Dolphinholme and was attended by over 40 members of the Bowland Sustainable Tourism Business network, who enjoyed supper followed by an introduction to Dark Skies Discovery with astronomer Robin Ince.

Printed in a durable perfect-bound pocket-friendly format, the guide will be widely available at tourist information centres, hospitality and accommodation providers and other outlets across the Forest of Bowland AONB.  The guide is also be available to download online.

Both the guide and the companion Discover Bowland website focus on sustainable tourism, strengthening Bowland’s rural economy by encouraging visitors to support independent rural businesses by shopping local, staying longer and exploring more.

The Guide is free, but donations are welcome to Champion Bowland – the charity which supports sustainable tourism, environment and community projects across the AONB.

Get Ready for a Sparkling February Half Term!

6th January 2023

Join us from 11th-19th February as we raise our gaze skywards to celebrate the beauty of Bowland after dark.

Milky Way by Robert Ince

This year's Dark Skies Festival not only offers a helping hand to navigate the stars, it's also the perfect chance to indulge your creativity, delve into the history book of local astronomy, fine-tune your astrophotography skills and enjoy some family time round the campfire once the sun has dipped.

You can find a round-up of the fun below, with full details - including booking information - available on the Festival Bowland calendar at:

Saturday 11th, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Stargazing (FULLY BOOKED)


£5 per person

Moon by Matthew Greenhalgh

Sunday 12th, 7pm – 8pm  

Planet Watch



Monday 13th, 7pm – 8pm 

The Preston Observatory



Image by Rob Foster

Tuesday 14th, 6pm – 6.30pm

Family Storytelling



Wednesday 15th, 7pm – 8pm

Jupiter by Robert Ince

An Introduction to Smartphone Night Sky Photography



Thursday 16th, 7pm - 9pm (approx)

Skies and Pies (POSTPONED)


£10 per person (including supper)

Saturday 18th, 1pm – 3.30pm 



£15 per person

Sunday 19th, 3.30pm – 6pm

Campfire & Lanterns (FULLY BOOKED)

Dunsop Bridge

£5 per child (accompanying adults free)

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