Lapwing © David Patrick

Hay Time Gets Creative!

3rd August 2022

Fused Glass - A SomersThe latest phase of the Bowland Hay Time project has a real focus on engagement, with the aim of encouraging people to discover, understand and enjoy our fantastic meadow habitats here in the AONB.

In partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, and thanks to funding from Defra's Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, the Hay Time project is working with artists and local creatives to offer a series of hands-on events designed to get people closer to nature – and perhaps learn a new skill at the same time!

July's events featured a fused glass workshop led by Lune valley artist, Anne Somers, plus an afternoon of ceramics with Julie Miles, who is based in East Lancashire.  You can see from the images how inspiring participants found the meadow theme!

Ceramics - Julie MilesThe creative vibe continues during August and September, with a beginners' photography course hosted by Salar Media's Mark Sutcliffe in Gisburn Forest, and eco printing and hedgerow medicine with Helen Leece at The Gathering Fields on the edge of Abbeystead.

For full details of this year's Hay Time events take a look at the Festival Bowland listings on the website:


20th July 2022

Image by Graham CooperLord of Bowland Annual Lecture 2022

Dr Sophie Thérèse Ambler will deliver this year's 11th Lord of Bowland Lecture on the evening of Tuesday 4th October 2022, beginning at 7.30pm.

"John de Lacy: Rebel, Crusader, Lord of Bowland in the Age of Magna Carta", will explore the role and influence of the 5th Lord of Bowland during the early 13th century.

John de Lacy played a leading role in some of the most momentous events of the Middle Ages. He rebelled against King John and was one of the twenty-five barons responsible for enforcing Magna Carta in 1215.

At the same time, he was an active Lord of Bowland – a role that took on new importance with the introduction of the Forest Charter, which promised to reduce the royal forest dramatically. The King insisted that his barons offer the same terms to their own tenants in their private forests, and although pressured by the people of Bowland to abandon his forest rights, John de Lacy staunchly resisted. 

John’s career offers a window onto the wider medieval world, and onto how the lives of ordinary people and their landscape were transformed, in Bowland and across England.

Dr Ambler is Reader in Medieval History and Deputy Director of the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University. She currently holds a Philip Leverhulme Prize in History and is a current Visiting Fellow at All Souls, Oxford. 

William, 16th Lord of Bowland, will introduce the evening, which aims to raise funds for two local charities: Slaidburn Archive, which works to record the history of the Hodder Valley; and Champion Bowland, which supports projects benefiting the environment, local communities and visitors to the Forest of Bowland. Both organisations rely heavily on grants and donations to continue their work.

Thanks to the generosity of the Parker family, the lecture is currently planned to take place in the lovely surroundings of Browsholme Hall's Tithe Barn.

Now in its eleventh year, the annual autumn lecture offers the perfect chance to hear expert speakers sharing their knowledge and passion for Bowland's heritage.

Places for the lecture can be booked online at Further details are available by emailing or by calling 07973 923142.

Bowland's Premiere Cycling Festival

14th June 2022

Bowland Cycling Festival logoThursday 23rd June to 3rd July sees Bowland's first cycling festival, and an exciting programme of events to celebrate all that is special about cycling in this beautiful area.

Whether you're new to cycling or regularly tackle one of Bowland's iconic climbs, enjoy pedalling under your own steam, or welcome a more leisurely e-bike ride - there will be something for everyone!

Organiser Phil Wade from Breaking Cycles CIC said: "The Bowland Cycling Festival is a collection of small events run by local cycling enthusiasts, community organisations and businesses who share a passion for cycling in the Forest of Bowland. It is our intention, over time, to develop and grow these events to showcase all that the area has to offer as a cycling destination and celebrate some of the amazing things that already happen here". He adds: "Cyclists in the Forest of Bowland tend to keep themselves to themselves, quietly enjoying living and riding in one of the most beautiful and engaging landscapes in the UK. When it comes to describing the Forest of Bowland as a destination, it is often referred to as a ‘hidden gem’ or one of the ‘best kept secrets".

Salter Fell by Phil WadeAll the events this year – apart from the Clarion House musical performance - will start in Clitheroe.  The festival launches with the Wheelie Good Exhibition, organised by Gosha Gibek at Clitheroe Castle Museum, which is running from Saturday 18th June to 30th September.  

Foot of Pendle Hill by Phil Wade

The exhibition is a visual celebration of cycling in the Forest of Bowland.  Have a look at the exhibited artworks, meet the artists and engage with workshops and events from the gallery.  Claire Sutton, Manager at Clitheroe Castle Museum said: "We are delighted to be involved in the festival.  The exhibition celebrates the joys of cycling past and present and is wonderful blend of contemporary fine art from thirteen local artists.  Also on display are selected images and objects from the museum collection that provide a glimpse into the history of cycling and local cycling clubs. Objects include the Clarion Cup and a velocipede. The exhibition is free to visit in the Steward's Gallery and runs up to the 30 September."

Clitheroe is a hub for fantastic eateries and the all-important refreshment stop.  Head to Clitheroe market Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday for some wonderful café stops with the barista-style cafe Horse Box serving breakfast and lunch using locally sourced produce, or Blueberries café and the Secret Garden café with useful outside space for securing bikes. If you fancy a more pub-like atmosphere, enjoy the outdoor space at the café and bar at Holme's Mill or explore the town for a whole array of pubs, restaurants, and cafes.  Or if you want to make a break of it visit for a round-up of local accommodation.

Below is the full programme of events, but for full details visit the Festival Facebook page:


Saturday 18th June – 30th September - Wheelie Good Exhibition: Gosha Gibek, Clitheroe Castle Museum

The Wheelie Good Exhibition is a visual celebration of cycling in the Forest of Bowland. Have a look at the exhibited artworks, meet the artists and engage with workshops and events from the gallery.

Thursday 23rd June (12:00) - Sharing the Road: Fagan & Whalley, Ribble Valley e-bikes, Breaking Cycles CIC

‘Hills’ and ‘Traffic’ are the two most stated reason to not cycle in the Forest of Bowland. This event showcases the techniques and technology that can overcome both. Have a look at the technology fitted to Fagan & Whalley’s trucks, which help drivers to see us and experience the support of an e-bike!

Friday 24th June (19:30) - Ride Pendle with Breaking Cycles CIC

Join Phil, from Breaking Cycles CIC for a guided ride on country lanes and bridleways around Pendle Hill. As the sun is setting, we will be returning to the centre of Clitheroe, where opportunities to ‘refuel’ will be plentiful if needed!

Saturday 25th June (08:00) - The Green Jersey: Challenge Rides

Join the Green Jersey Cycling Club for a challenge ride of your choosing. Ride any, or all, of the three ‘Grimpeur’ routes to conquer some of the most notorious local climbs or head off for an adventure ride on your Gravel Bike.

Saturday 25th June (10:00) - Beginners & Improvers led ride: Breaking Cycles CIC

Join Breaking Cycles CIC for a gentle paced, social group ride from Clitheroe. This will be led by qualified cycling instructors who can provide tips and advice to support your progression.

Saturday 25th June (11:00 – 15:00) Dr Bike

Call in to see Dr Bike at Clitheroe Castle - free advice and guidance on bike maintenance/repair from a qualified cycle mechanic

Saturday 25th June (14:00) - Pedal Pilgrimage with Revd. Andrew Froud

Join Revd. Andrew Froud on a scenic guided ride between Ribble Valley Churches and Whalley Abbey.

Sunday 26th June (11:00) - Wheely Good Exhibition: Meet the Artists

An opportunity to meet the people behind the artwork on display. There will also be an opportunity to have a go at using Gosha Gibek’s Gloss Drip technique!

Sunday 26th June (13:00) - Jack Young at Clarion House

Classical Pianist, Jack Young will be performing a combination of classical pieces and his own improvisations from the Clarion House Garden.

Wednesday 29th June (18:15) - NLRC evening 10s: Newcomers Night

The evening 10 is a great starting point for many a racing cyclist. Newcomers Night is a supportive opportunity for riders who have never raced before to come along and have a go.

Saturday 2nd July (14:00) - Wheely Good Exhibition: Bike Bites

We all like to talk about our bikes and our adventures. Bike Bites is a collection of short talks, sharing passion for cycling from different perspectives.

Sunday 3rd July (06:00) - Bowland Audax: Saddleworth Clarion

This 200KM Audax ride begins at Denshaw and brings cyclists through some of our finest roads, scenery, and cafes!

Notes to Editors:

For press enquiries, please contact Phil Wade, Breaking Cycles CIC:, Tel: 07746 272643

Bowland Cycling Festival is a celebration of cycling in the Forest of Bowland.  It is the first year that the festival has run, and it is hoped that the festival will grow in subsequent years. 

It is organised by local cycling enthusiasts, supported by private businesses and public sector organisations on a not-for-profit basis.

A Summer of Events at Lower Lythe

8th June 2022


Lower Lythe Farm, Lowgill, Tatham Fells 
Sunday 12 and Saturday 25 June, Saturday 23 July, Saturday 13 August & Saturday 20 August 2022 

This exciting programme of summer events celebrating rural skills and the local landscape have been funded through the AONB's Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme.

The events are all taking place at Lower Lythe Farm near Lowgill and are looking at traditional crafts such as stone walling, stone carving and shoe making, whilst also exploring ideas around mortality and our place in the landscape.

Refreshments at the farm also available.

Additional Info for the events/walks:

Walk on 20th August - there is a car parking available at the Old School car park in Lowgill, please email Esther Nimmo to book a place on the walk. 

Feel free to bring along cake or snacks to share :)

The car park at the Old School / Church can also be used by walkers visiting the walling project.  Donations in the wall box in church are welcome.

Click here or the poster to view the full programme of events


Meadow Art Workshops

23rd May 2022

There are few things more uplifting than the sight of a meadow bursting with blooms and buzzing with insect life. How lovely if we could capture those rainbow colours and delicate forms and keep a slice of summer with us all year round….

Well, this summer, our meadow art workshops can help you do just that!Ark Glass image by Anne Somers

Hay meadows are a special habitat that has suffered a massive decline over the last century. Here in the Forest of Bowland we have been working hard to restore this habitat through our Hay Time projects in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT).

Project officer, Carol Edmondson, will be working with local farmers and landowners to restore a further 20 hectares of hay meadows, which have lost some of their characteristic wildflowers over recent decades.

The sessions below are part of a series of complementary events and activities which aim to increase awareness, enjoyment and understanding of hay meadows in the Bowland area.

A choice of two, free, guided meadow walks will provide inspiration for the creative workshops. Participants booking a workshop are encouraged to come along and enjoy one of these walks beforehand, but this is not essential. 

Inspirational Meadow Walk #1Bell Sykes Hay Meadow
Wednesday 15 June, 10am - 1pm, Gisburn Forest, Slaidburn


The chance to explore a real meadow 'hub' in Bowland! Over the course of this three and a half mile walk we will find out about the meadow restoration work at Gisburn Forest Hub, visit the Biological Heritage Site at St. James' Chapel and enjoy the flora at Black House Farm, where the meadows have been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

Wednesday 6 July, 10.30am - 12 noon, Crook o' Lune, Lancaster

Join us for a morning of floral immersion! A relaxing stroll around the Life 4 a Life meadow on the banks of the River Lune, with time to absorb the abundance of bees, flowers and bird life enjoying the habitat here, created in partnership with the AONB, Life 4a Life and the Community Pollinator Patch volunteers.

Meadow Art Workshop - Fused Glass (FULLY BOOKED. RESERVE LIST AVAILABLE)

Saturday 9 July, 1.30pm – 4pm, Caton
£15 per person
Lune Valley artist,  Anne Somers, will guide you through each stage of the fused glass process to help you create colourful pieces reflecting flowers, grasses, bees - in fact, whatever takes your meadow imagination!

Image of ceramic tiles by Julie Miles

Meadow Art Workshop - Ceramic Tiles (FULLY BOOKED. RESERVE LIST AVAILABLE)

Saturday 16 July, 1.30pm – 4pm, Sabden

£15 per person

Join Pendle-based ceramic artist, Julie Miles, as she shows us how to make porcelain clay tiles, using natural materials to create patterns and pictures. Have fun introducing a splash of colour using underglaze and oxides to pick up the details on the surfaces once fired.  

All materials, tools and tuition will be provided.

Places for both the walks and workshops need to be booked in advance by emailing or by phoning Sandra on 07973 923142.

National Meadows Day in Bowland this year will be taking place on 2nd & 3rd July at The Gathering Fields, Over Wyresdale. Find out all the details here

The Hay Time project is being supported with funding through the Farming in Protected Landscape ProgrammeDefra logo

Local Shows and Family Adventures

18th May 2022

Slaidburn Steam Fair - Image by David McNameeWhether you live here, or you're visiting on holiday, the Forest of Bowland is a year-round discovery for all ages.

Get your wellies on for a fun-filled, family day out!  

Many of Bowland's local shows pride themselves on being traditional agricultural and horticultural shows, and are a great opportunity to enjoy a slice of rural life in the local community – making the perfect family date out.

Why not visit our traditional steam fairs – in Chipping, 28th to 29th May and Slaidburn, 11th to 12th June. 

Hodder Valley Show by Peter Costello

The Slaidburn Steam and Vintage Vehicle Display is an annual event held at the Hark to Bounty Inn, Slaidburn with several steam engines, the original bounty bus, many vintage vehicles with cars, tractors and more. There are also stalls selling local goods and demonstrating traditional crafts. 

For food lovers be sure to visit Clitheroe, 30th July for the annual food festival - expect quality Lancashire produce, inspirational chefs, exciting culinary activities for all the family and great music from the area.

Local Shows, Festivals and Fairs for 2022

Bowland's Dark Skies Light up Castle Gallery

4th May 2022

Image by Robert InceA brand-new exhibition of night sky images has opened in the lovely setting of the Steward's Gallery at Clitheroe Castle Museum.

The exhibition has been organised by the Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership and Clitheroe Castle Museum staff to highlight the magical site of the night skies in Bowland – an area fortunate to have relatively little light pollution.

Following a call-out earlier this year, photographers submitted their dark sky images via the visitor gallery on the AONB's website. The images have been transformed into 20 stunning prints, which now hang in the Steward's Gallery adjoining the museum.

Sandra Silk, Forest of Bowland AONB Project Officer, said, "We've been so impressed by the quality of the photographs submitted for the exhibition. There are some beautiful images, which range from nebulae and star trails to constellations and local landscapes captured after the sun has set."

Clitheroe Castle Museum Manager, Claire Sutton, said, "We are thrilled to be hosting the Dark Skies exhibition this year – so many amazing images – it's well worth the visit.  The Steward's Galley is open daily from 11am-4pm and there's the castle and the museum to explore too so do call in. We'd love to see you."

The exhibition will run until Sunday 5th June.  Admission to the Steward's Gallery is free.

Opening times for the museum and gallery are available online at

Butterflies, Bees and Bridges feature in the Festival Bowland Calendar for May

19th April 2022

Monticola on red cloverMay is traditionally the month when activity in the wildlife world is going at full pace – and if heritage and art appeal too, the Festival Bowland programme this month has lots to offer.

The Lancashire branch of Butterfly Conservation will be leading a walk along the Langden Valley in the heart of Bowland on Wednesday 4th May, when they'll be on the search for the beautiful green hairstreak butterfly and the amazing day flying emperor moth.

Garstang Walking Festival runs until the 8th May and is packed with walks for all ages and abilities. It's a great way to explore the countryside around Wyre – including lots of opportunities in the Forest of Bowland.Langden butterfly walk

Nordic walkers can practise their skills in the lovely surroundings of the Lune Millennium Park near Lancaster on Sunday 8th; and for those who enjoy a little history, chartered civil engineer, Chris Hudson, will be exploring the medieval bridges of the Ribble Valley online on the evening of the 10th May.

Bumblebees will be making an appearance both virtually and actually – fingers crossed – as the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and the Forest of Bowland AONB combine to offer an online beginners' session over lunchtime on the 18th, followed by an optional "spotter" walk at Gisburn Forest early in June.

The programme is back with Butterfly Conservation again on the evening of the 26th May, this time online. Great for anyone unable to make it along to the walk earlier in the month.

And for those of a creative nature, the annual Maiden Bridge Gallery exhibition starts its summer run on 28th May. Open Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, the Tatham-based exhibition closes on Sunday 10th July.

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

Peat Performance in the Forest of Bowland

5th April 2022

A successful peatland restoration project draws to a close as funding success for another is announced in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership announces £200,000 peatland funding from the Nature for Climate Peatland Discovery Grant scheme. This allows the Partnership to continue the recent success of the Pennine PeatLIFE project, which has restored 250 hectares of peatland.

Peat land restoration in BowlandIn the recently announced Discovery Grants, the Forest of Bowland has been awarded £200,000 as part of a successful £418,000 bid with the National Trust, Cumbria Peat Partnership and Lancashire Peat Partnership. The bid was submitted through the Great North Bog initiative; a landscape-scale approach to upland peatland restoration and conservation across nearly 7,000 square kilometres of peatland soils in the Protected Landscapes of northern England.

This funding will enable the Partnership to survey 8,500 ha of peatland – including Historic Environment features – to establish baseline data for the condition of deep peat in the AONB. Within that area, 20 sites covering over 2000 ha will be surveyed in more detail to produce restoration plans. The funding in Forest of Bowland AONB will be match-funded by United Utilities and by a private landowner.

Peatland restoration in Bowland

This project is funded by the Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS) which provides funding to restore peatlands in the uplands and lowlands of England.

As one peatland project starts, another drew to a successful close in Forest of Bowland in 2021; Pennine PeatLIFE restored 250 ha of peatlands on United Utilities owned land at Langden Head, Webster’s Meadow and Hareden Fell.

The work, which was funded by the EU LIFE programme, United Utilities and the Environment Agency, and delivered in partnership with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, included:

  • installing 3,451 peat, stone and timber dams in 40km of eroding gullies.
  • reprofiling and revegetating 72km of grip and eroding gully and hag edges
  • revegetating nearly 6ha of bare peat with heather brash, seed and plug plants
  • planting 16k sphagnum plugs
  • planting 64,700 cottongrass plugs

Elliott Lorimer, Forest of Bowland AONB Manager, said:

“As well as being beautiful landscapes, our peatlands are home to striking wildlife, store millennia of carbon, filter our drinking water and help to reduce the risk of flooding by 'slowing the flow'. We’ve been leading restoration activity in Forest of Bowland over the last decade and I’m really looking forward to building on that success over the next.”

Rosie Snowden, Peatland Projects Manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said:

“Peatland restoration is a long-term project. We’ve seen immediate benefits in Forest of Bowland, but it’s going take time for new peat to start to form. I’m thrilled that the AONB Partnership is going to be able to continue with this vital work.”

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