COVID-19 Update

20th March 2020

In keeping with the latest Government guidance, the Forest of Bowland AONB team has taken the decision to work from home for the foreseeable future. We have postponed or cancelled all planned face-to-face events, volunteering activities, and nature and wellbeing group activities.  We will be following the latest advice on the situation from Public Health England.
This means we won’t be reachable on our main office phone number – however, we are carrying on with business as usual as far as possible and we are all still working remotely. If you have a query, please email or ring individual mobile numbers, and they’ll reply or give you a call as soon as they are able.   Or use the general Bowland email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

"Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives"

The latest Government guidance means that everyone is required to stay at home. Although we can go out for exercise, that means close to your own home. People must not travel from other areas into the Forest of Bowland AONB, and you should not travel distances within the AONB for walks or other exercise.

This helps to reduce the spread of the virus. It will also help to minimise the risk of accidents on our roads, reducing unnecessary pressure on the NHS and emergency services at this extremely difficult time. It will also support our local communities who need to access their local shops and services while maintaining the required distances from others to keep everyone safe.

In these unprecedented times, please ensure you stay up to date with the latest guidance from the Government

The outdoors will be there for us after this is all over.  

Please follow us on twitter @forestofbowland and Facebook @bowlandaonb for the latest updates from the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 
With thanks and best wishes,
Forest of Bowland AONB Team

Hay Time Rescue - Project Summary

11th February 2020

Melancholy thistle at Bell Sykes Farm (Forest of Bowland AONB)Delivered by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust in partnership with Forest of Bowland AONB, this 14-month project engaged local volunteers and Kew Millennium Seed Bank to propagate and "foster" sustainably collected seed into plug plants.

The four key species were bird's-eye primrose Primula farinosa, globe flower Trolllius europaeus, melancholy thistle Cirsium heterophyllum and saw-wort Serratula tinctoria.

These species were once widespread in our meadows, road verges or stream and river banks, but have now declined into scattered, isolated populations around the area. In particular bird's eye primrose is listed as a nationally scarce species, is a Lancashire BAP target species and in 2012 cited as decreasing globally on the IUCN Red List.

Using data provided by the Lancashire Environmental Records Network (LERN) team, surveying and soil testing potential sites, suitable locations for seed collection and re-establishing populations were found.

Kew Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place in Sussex was commissioned to produce approximately 1000 plug plants from locally sourced seed of the four key species for the project.

The work focused mainly in the species rich hay meadows and pastures in the area, but also included some special verges. Engaging volunteers, landowners, community groups and Kew Millennium Seed Bank to grow local, sustainably sourced seed into plug plants, the project has successfully re-introduced 1100 plug plants of three scarce plant species at eight different sites across the AONB.

Bird's-eye primrose (J Hickling)The field scale hay meadow restoration work carried out through the Hay Time project continued, with 13 ha of meadows having restoration or enhancement work over the summer and autumn of 2019.

The project has worked successfully with land owners, community groups and with schools. Over the course of the project our public events attracted over 80 people, sharing seed collection and propagation knowledge with landowners, both within and outside Forest of Bowland AONB, and educating local school children on the importance of wild flowers.

We visited the fascinating seed bank at Kew MSB and discovered the journey our seed took through the various drying, testing and propagating processes.

We also worked with an entomologist to find a rare fly species Chiastocheta, which rely on globe flower for the adult portion of their life cycle.

Saw-wort (YDMT)Hay Time Rescue was a project funded jointly by Lancashire Environmental Fund, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Forest of Bowland AONB. The full report is available here.

Hay Time will be continuing in 2020 with further field scale restoration, and more rare plug plants to place this spring.

For further information contact Carol Edmondson 01200 448000, or email

Bowland Dark Skies Festival

6th January 2020

Night sky image by Robert InceNEW EVENT ADDED! 

Tuesday 18th Feb - After Dark Family Event

This February half-term we have a selection of exciting events to help you celebrate some of the darkest skies in England – right here in the Forest of Bowland.

Last year's events were extremely popular so we'd recommend early booking!

17th February

Pop-up Planetarium – Knowle Green
1pm, 2pm or 3pm

Step inside the pop-up planetarium for a journey through space – without leaving the ground! Discover the wonders of the planets and stars with amateur astronomer, and professional scientist, Robert Ince. Great for families with children eight years and over.

Booking essential. 

Tel: 01200 448000 or email
£2.50 per person

18th February

After Dark Family Event - Gisburn Forest

5pm to 6.30pm

Come and explore the forest at night. During the session you can make your own space themed Pizzas to cook over the campfire, make a woodland star and discover a whole new world after dark.

Booking essential For further information phone 07814 464872/07801 794514 or email

Children £9. Adults £4. Under 3 free

Tales from a Dark Forest Night – Gisburn Forest

7pm to 8.30pm

Join us in the forest where we'll be keeping cosy in the yurt as we listen to night-time tales with local storyteller, Sue Allonby. Great for families with children eight years and over.

Booking essential. 

Tel: 01200 448000 or email

£3 per child (adults come free)

20th February

Free Family Nature Event: Creatures of the Night - Barley

4pm to 6.30pm

Have a go at owl pellet dissection then come on a nature walk to discover what night-time creatures we can hear – or see!  Aimed at families with children four to 12 years old.

Booking essential.



21st February

Film Screening: A Grand Day Out – Downham

1.30pm to 2.30pm or 3pm to 4pm

Come along and enjoy night-sky crafts then join Pendle Social Cinema for this family-friendly animation of Wallace and Gromit's adventure to find cheese on the moon!

Booking essential.

Tel: 01200 448000 or email
£2.50 per person

23rd February

Dark Skies Stargazing – Bleasdale

7.30pm to 9.30pm

Join Robert Ince for an evening of stargazing. Robert will be your guide on an incredible journey through the constellations and along the Milky Way. Weather permitting there will be powerful telescopes to gaze through, when Robert will show you how to find the night sky's wonders for yourself. The evening includes colourful talks and videos, plus friendly advice on how to get started in this wonderful hobby.

Booking essential.



Beacon Fell South night sky by Robert InceWhy not combine your dark sky adventures by staying for a few days in one the AONB's Dark Sky Friendly Businesses? We have thirteen in Bowland – all quality accommodation providers – geared up for your star gazing visit.
Further Information:

Images by Robert Ince

Banner image by Steven Kidd

Could your Bowland Photo Feature in 2020?

23rd October 2019

Autumn's colours are well and truly here and making the landscape light up! It's a fantastic time ofBrennand Valley (J Hickling) year for getting out with your camera and capturing some of that beauty so, next time you're out and about in Bowland, why not take a pic or two and share them on our visitor photo gallery?

But don't just think autumn – think all year!  The Forest of Bowland AONB is lovely throughout the seasons, whether it's a wintry frost-covered valley, a bird on a branch full of the joys of spring or a swathe of flowers in a summer hay meadow.

If you submit your images to our photo gallery there's the chance they could pop up as Photo of the Week on our website home page, or appear in one of our publications.

Dinner Tme (R Bayley)And our 2020 Discover Bowland guide will include a special Bowland through a lens feature, highlighting some of the inspiring images from our visitor gallery.

So, whether you head out with your camera this weekend, or search out one of your earlier masterpieces, why not share it with us?

Go to and click on the Upload your Bowland photos link where you'll find the Terms & Conditions.

What is Bowland Without its Trees?

3rd September 2019

Coat of Arms of William, Lord of BowlandIn this year’s ninth Lord of Bowland Annual Lecture, Dr Bill Shannon will explain how hunting rather than trees traditionally define a Royal Forest like Bowland.

Medieval kings and nobles established forests and chases for pleasure and prestige, for the preservation of the deer and to provide gifts of venison for their followers. 

The Forest of Bowland under the Tudors and Stuarts will chart the gradual decline of Bowland as a Forest; beginning with Henry VII's desire to put Crown lands on a sound business footing in order to maximise his revenues and ending when James I completed the process a hundred years later.

Taking place on the evening of Tuesday 1 October in the wonderful surroundings of Browsholme Hall's Tithe Barn, attendance is free but places need to be booked in advance by contacting the Forest of Bowland AONB on 01200 448000, or by emailing or 

The lecture starts at 7.30pm with a pay bar available from 7.00pm. 

Donations are invited on the evening and will go to Slaidburn Archive to support its important work in recording the history of the Forest and to Champion Bowland, which supports projects benefiting the environment, local communities and visitors. 

The Forest of Bowland AONB is grateful to the Parker family for kindly hosting this lecture at Browsholme Hall and to William, Lord of Bowland for his continued support. 

(Deer leap cover illustration by Jennie Anderson)

Ancient Tree Forum - Our Landmark Trees

30th August 2019

What makes a tree ancient and veteran?Morning mist Whitewell autumn (T Wilson)

Why does our country have more veteran and ancient trees than any other country in Europe and why are they under threat?

Will there be the next generation of landmark trees here in the Forest of Bowland for future generations? What can we do about it ?

Our Landmark Trees, Monday 7th October 2019, 7.00 - 8:30pm, Downham

Ted Green MBE and Jill Butler of the Ancient Tree Forum are two of our leading specialists. Ted founded the Ancient Tree Forum and was awarded the Royal Forestry Society's Gold Medal in 2017. Ted will introduce the concept of working trees in the Bowland landscape.

The event is free but voluntary donations to Champion Bowland CIO ( the charity that supports environmental projects in the AONB ) will go towards our Landmark trees campaign.

To book a place go to

Postcards for Kindness

4th July 2019

Postcards for Kindness

Postcards for Kindness (Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria)Whether you're enjoying a day trip to Bowland, or planning a longer summer break in this fantastic part of the country, you could help brighten the day of a local care home resident simply by sending them a postcard from your travels.

Lancashire County Council's Postcards for Kindness campaign is back for a second year and is a really easy way to help tackle loneliness amongst older people.

According to Age UK figures, many residents living in care homes receive no visits, so getting an unexpected postcard from a lovely spot – a place many may have visited themselves in the past – could be a wonderful boost.

A postcard can help to re-kindle happy memories and spark conversations, especially for people living with dementia – and with over 100 care homes taking part, this year's campaign could bring smiles to many faces.

To find out more – and to see which local care homes are taking part – see the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria website at

Happy holidays!

Meadows to Morris Dancing

10th June 2019

Tramper Taster Day - May 2019 (Forest of Bowland AONB)Festival Bowland is packed with events to help you explore and enjoy the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Wyre rangers and the River Wyre Partnership team will be out and about clearing Himalayan balsam on the 18th and 19th June. Why not join them in the upper reaches of the catchment to give them a hand and enjoy a brew and a biscuit afterwards?

Bowland Active Naturalists and the Friends of Bowland have two Wildlife Wanders to choose from – the first in Gisburn Forest on Saturday 22nd June and the second around the Cross of Greet Bridge on the 20th July. A chance to learn a little from those who know a little at an easy pace.

Explore Churn Clough reservoir and the farmland around Sabden on a guided walk with the Ribble Rivers Trust on Saturday 22nd June then head across the AONB to Tatham on Sunday 30th for Clearbeck open garden – "A surprise round every corner" according to visitors. The garden has its last opening for 2019 on Sunday 7th July.

Bell Sykes Farm in Slaidburn - Lancashire's Coronation Meadow – will be welcoming visitors for this year's National Meadows Day celebrations on Saturday 6th July.  See traditional hay making techniques, watch woodcraft and spinning demonstrations, learn about the traditional uses of meadow plants and take a guided walk amongst the species-rich meadows on the farm.

Malkin Morris (2018)The following weekend - Saturday 13th - sees Morris teams, including locally based Malkin Morris, dance in Barley and Roughlee. There may even be a chance to try out some steps yourself!

And those who love the outdoors, but can't walk as far as they used to, can take a guided trek on a four-wheel drive Tramper mobility scooter in the picturesque parish of Nether Wyresdale on July 18th when the Wyre rangers have special permission to explore the tracks around Foxhouses lakes near Scorton.

Full information and booking details for all these events and more are available on the Forest of Bowland AONB website at

Tramper Taster Day

15th May 2019

Gisburn Forest

Tramper at Gisburn Forest Hub CafeSpring is a fantastic time of year in the Forest of Bowland and this month's Festival Bowland events programme has a great opportunity for countryside lovers who relish getting outside but who might not be as mobile as they once were.

On Tuesday 28th May the Forest of Bowland AONB will be running a series of Tramper taster sessions along the Birch Hills Trail at Gisburn Forest & Stocks near Slaidburn.

Trampers are specially designed, all-terrain, four-wheel drive electric buggies, which can be used on country tracks, mud and grass. Trampers can help people who have difficulty walking, or who may be disabled, to experience the countryside and to accompany friends and family on suitable routes. 

The Birch Hills Trail is a stile-free, mile and a half woodland route which has several benches and picnic tables along the way, allowing plenty of opportunity to stop and take in the sights and sounds of the forest.   In addition, the trail has been designed to be of special assistance to people living with dementia and is well waymarked with a "forget-me-not" symbol.  A booklet highlighting wildlife and heritage interest along the walk is also available.

Early booking for the taster day on the 28th May is recommended as Tramper numbers are limited. The event is free but donations towards the upkeep of the Trampers are welcome on the day.

For more information, and to book a place, contact Sandra Silk at the Forest of Bowland AONB office on 01200 448000 or email

For those who enjoy the experience and would like to re-visit the forest, a Tramper is available to book from Gisburn Forest Hub Café and can be used on the specially waymarked route between the Hub and the Birch Hills Trail. Festival Bowland also has a number of other guided Tramper treks available during the year and details are available at

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