Lapwing © David Patrick

Let's Support Local This Christmas

26th November 2020

Now more than ever is the time to support our local food, arts & crafts producers and shops. Despite the current restrictions many local businesses have adapted to offer home delivery and online payment and collection services to make local shopping accessible to all.

This Christmas why not look towards our fantastic local farm shops, markets, butchers, bakers and greengrocers as well as seeking out specialist, artisan producers.  There are many reasons why supporting local makes sense, but quality and personalised experiences feature high on that list – by supporting independent businesses you'll be dealing with people that care and who are passionate about going the extra mile.  You'll also be buying lovingly crafted products unique to the area, often supporting generations of entrepreneurs who are driven to provide quality and authenticity.  What's not to love?   Here's a spotlight on just a few of our local food producers, all members of the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network, or for further inspiration visit:

Courtyard Dairy

The award-winning Courtyard Dairy, Austwick stocks and supplies a carefully chosen range of unusual and exquisite farmhouse cheeses, selected direct from individual farms.  Order the perfect Christmas cheese board online from them here:

Goosnargh Gin

If your favourite tipple is a G&T, then look no further than Bowland-based gin producers Goosnargh Gin, lovingly crafted by Richard and Rachel Trenchard at their micro-distillery, based at the foot of Beacon Fell.  This small business offers Lancashire-wide, non-contact doorstep deliveries and national postal deliveries, or you can buy from one of their many stockists scattered across the area:

Gazegill OrganicsYou can be sure of the quality of the produce at Gazegill Organics, their Rimington based farm has remained under the watchful eye of the Robinson Family for nearly 500 years. They follow an ethos that 'happy, healthy animals make better food with a traditional flavour'! Order raw milk, dairy and a wide range of rare breed organic meat boxes and products online:

Bowland Outdoor Reared PorkGet your farm fresh Christmas meat ordered and delivered direct to your door from Bowland Outdoor Reared Pork, Beef and Lamb.   All their meat comes from their own animals which roam freely across more than 50 acres of lush farmland in Lowgill, on the northern fringe of the Forest of Bowland. Order direct here:

Bowland Chocolate Company

Indulge in some luxury chocolates and treats all handmade in Slaidburn in the heart of the Forest of Bowland at the Bowland Chocolate Company. Angela uses natural, seasonal and where possible local ingredients in her chocolates, and her Christmas collection features Bailey's, cognac, amaretto and cherry bourbon – a mouth-watering combination!  To order chocolates visit:   

Support several local food and drink producers under one roof at the Bowland Food Hall, for Christmas you’ll find everything you need to create a tasty and stylish Christmas feast!  Shop online and have the produce delivered to your door the next day or click and collect from store.  Visit:

For gift ideas visit our directory of local arts and crafts producers or why not discover something unique with a gift voucher for your loved ones to enjoy a break or experience in the beautiful Forest of Bowland during 2021, visit for ideas!

There are many fantastic initiatives to help you shop locally from the comfort of your home, including:

Enjoy the experience of supporting local and a Happy Christmas to you all!

Media man Mark joins Champion Bowland

19th November 2020

Mark SutcliffeFormer Clitheroe Royal Grammar School student Mark Sutcliffe has been appointed a Trustee of Champion Bowland, the grant-awarding charity helping projects in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Mark, who heads Clitheroe-based Salar Media Services, grew up in the Ribble Valley and is deeply committed to the Forest of Bowland and its communities.

He brings a wealth of media experience to Champion Bowland which is currently developing plans to expand support for projects that benefit the environment, local communities and visitors in the AONB.

Mark’s media career began as a journalist in East Lancashire newspapers including the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times and Burnley Express, and took him around the UK before he returned to his roots five years ago.

Over the last five years, he has provided regular communications support to the AONB team and when he isn’t at work, Mark spends much of his spare time walking or cycling in the Forest of Bowland.

He said: “It’s an honour to be asked to join the Champion Bowland team at such a pivotal moment. Farming, food, recreation and the environment are rapidly moving up everyone’s agenda and I’m looking forward to playing an active role in communicating the value of the Forest of Bowland’s wealth of natural assets to a wider audience.”

Champion Bowland chair Mike Pugh said: “We are delighted Mark has agreed to become a Trustee. He is joining at a time of change, not only within the charity as it seeks to develop a higher profile to support more projects, but also at a challenging time socially and economically across the country.”

Photo Competition Winners

18th November 2020

Damselfly on Grindleton Fell by Mark Harder

A big thank you to all the photographers who submitted entries to our October photo competition and well done to the final shortlisted 12 and thanks to all of you who cast your votes!

We can now announce our winning photographs to receive the prizes are:

• Mark Harder – 'Damselfly on Grindleton Fell'

• Hazel Stansfield – 'The cows of Thirty Acre Farm admiring Pendle Hill'The cows of Thirty Acre Farm admiring Pendle Hill by Hazel Stansfield

• Andrew Cowell – 'Ribble Valley autumn fog, near Downham'Ribble Valley autumn fog, near Downham by Andrew Cowell

Thanks also to the businesses who donated prizes:

Shireburn Arms - Dinner, bed and breakfast break

Bowland Food Hall - Local Produce Hamper

Cobden View Holiday Cottage - Milking Parlour cheese, butter & biscuit hamper

Look out for all the shortlisted images in our 2021 Discover Bowland Guide!

Bowland Champion Joins Champion Bowland

5th November 2020

It was announced today (Nov 5 2020) that William, 16th Lord of Bowland, an active and longstanding champion of the Forest of Bowland, its people, landscape, heritage and rural economy, is to become a Trustee of Champion Bowland.

Champion Bowland is a grant-making charity that helps fund local projects which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors within the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The notoriously camera-shy Lord of Bowland has a track record, dating back to 2009, of schools visits, sponsorship of business awards and local heritage, the commissioning of music (Songs of Bowland, an original choral composition by Lakeland composer Christopher Gibbs), and even the ceremonial unveiling of the occasional road sign. He also hosts the Annual Lord of Bowland Lecture at Browsholme Hall, a much-loved local history event due to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year (2020) but postponed because of Covid-19 restrictions.

William Bowland said: “I am honoured to be invited to become a Trustee of Champion Bowland, an outstanding charity that does so much for the Forest of Bowland, its people, landscape and visitors.  I look forward to contributing to its important work”.

Mike Pugh, chairman of Champion Bowland, said: “I’m delighted William Bowland, a committed champion of Bowland, is joining the ranks of Champion Bowland. William’s energy, dedication and vision will make a huge difference. We greatly look forward to working with him for the benefit of all those who live, work or visit our beautiful Forest”.



William Bowland, 60, succeeded to the Lordship of Bowland in 2008.  Since then, he has worked tirelessly with the Forest of Bowland AONB to celebrate and promote Bowland, its people, landscape, heritage and rural economy.  For more information, see:

For further information, contact Margaret Wright on email:  or tel: 01282 776285 or mob: 07989 401595.

COVID-19 Update 05.11.2020

5th November 2020

As we head into new national restrictions from 5th November, our over-riding priority is for both visitors and the residents of the Forest of Bowland to remain safe; and to ensure we don’t place undue pressure on public highways, emergency services or key workers.

If possible, please do exercise from home; for those who are not able to get out, have a look at our 'At Home in Bowland' online resources or re-visit some of our online Festival Bowland events which have taken place during 2020.

If you are making a special journey into the Forest of Bowland, please carefully consider your own wellbeing and that of the AONB's small communities: home to many vulnerable people and a working environment for farmers and land managers. Please consider the following:

  • Know the Countryside Code. Plan ahead, take a map and exercise within your limitations to keep pressure off local resources
  • As daylight hours are shorter and weather conditions are more severe be prepared and follow our latest 'Walking Safely' guidance:
  • Avoid hotspots and busy spots – if you arrive at a site or car park that is already busy, please find an alternative
  • Leave no trace. Take all your litter home
  • All eateries, venues, attractions, accommodation, non-essential retail, museums and galleries will be closed until at least 2nd December. Some eateries will be operating a takeaway service, but please check with individual providers before visiting them.
  • Be kind and respect one another.

Full details of national restrictions can be found HERE and please continue to follow the general guidance:

  • HANDS - Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • FACE - Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

Stay home if you have any of the symptoms and get a test as soon as possible.

Best of Bowland Photo Competition

12th October 2020

There are some fantastic prizes on offer in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty photo competition running throughout October.

We'd love you to share images that capture the beauty and opportunities this outstanding area has to offer year-round. These may include landscape or wildlife images, or people enjoying activities in the area - whatever captures Bowland at its best!

Misty Woods Clougha, Image by Stehen KiddThere are three fantastic prizes on offer, donated by members of the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network:

  • A dinner, bed & breakfast walking break for two at the Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green (kindly donated by James' Places)
  • Lancashire food hamper (kindly donated by the Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill).
  • A Milking Parlour cheese, butter & biscuit hamper (kindly donated by Cobden View Holiday Cottage, Sabden) 

The winners and shortlisted images will appear in the 2021 printed Bowland Discovery Guide and on AONB supported websites and social media.

To upload up to 3 photos and for details of the prizes, terms and conditions and a map of the Forest of Bowland AONB visit the website: 

Bumble Bee on Yellow Rattle - YDMT

The closing date for the competition is Sunday 1st November 2020.  A shortlist will be 

made by the AONB team and the finalists will go to a public vote (via social media and the AONB website) week commencing 9th November.  

Images can be taken from any season, so if you didn't manage to take some summer shots, there's still chance to get out and capture the best of Bowland in the autumn sunshine.  We're looking forward to seeing all of your submissions!

New Discover Bowland website

29th September 2020

Rural businesses in the Forest of Bowland are working together to rebuild the visitor economy as demand for domestic holidays in countryside settings looks set to increase.

Led by Champion Bowland – a charity that provides accessible small grants for local projects which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors – the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network has launched a new destination marketing website designed to attract everyone to explore the beautiful Forest of Bowland.

This site: went live this week – along with a new social media campaign designed to drive traffic to the new website. Champion Bowland has provided the seed capital to launch the site, with future funding to come from stakeholder businesses who have signed up to participate.

Discover Bowland website

A deep well of original content includes information on accommodation, outdoor activities, courses and experiences and the Forest of Bowland’s outstanding food and drink offer.

The new destination website launches with a deliberate focus on bringing in bookings for the 2021 season.

Rural accommodation providers continue to be hit hard with ongoing restrictions affecting the wedding market – an important source of revenue for many rural businesses.

But next year, millions of adventurous couples and active families are expected to seek fresh air and plenty of outdoor activities on UK staycations in rural settings.

As autumn gives way to winter, the focus of the website content will shift to promoting Bowland as a genuine year-round destination, with a comprehensive calendar of events, activities, festivals and shows.

Forest of Bowland AONB sustainable tourism officer Hetty Byrne said:

“It’s been a very challenging year for the rural economy in Bowland, but many of these enterprising businesses have been busy preparing to welcome back visitors with even better facilities next year.

“We’ve been working hard with our sustainable tourism business network and local suppliers to collate the content and build this website and we are confident the new website will significantly increase awareness of Bowland and inspire outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers and foodies to discover the area.

“We will also be encouraging visitors to stay longer and – ideally – spend more money with local businesses to do their bit to help the rural economy recover.”

Chairman of Champion Bowland Mike Pugh said:

“We were delighted to receive such a positive response to the destination website when we first floated it last year and when the pandemic arrived, we decided to accelerate our existing plans when we recognised the need to Build Back Better.

“As a charity that aims to invest in schemes that develop the rural economy and benefit the towns and villages of the Forest of Bowland, we are proud to be in a position to ensure the website launched in time to get Bowland firmly back on the tourism radar for the 2021 season.”

Local Tourism Business owner Dominique Ashford, Dale House said:

“We are really excited to be able to tap into this exciting new website as, since we reopened, we have noticed an increase in enquiries from across the country from people who are nervous about holidaying abroad and also don’t want to negotiate crowds of people in the usual tourist traps.

“We believe the new destination website will inspire a new generation of visitors to Bowland who will really appreciate the fresh air, the amazing landscapes, the stunning wildlife and the delicious food and drink to be found in the Forest of Bowland.”

Outstandingly beautiful – the Hodder Valley in the Forest of Bowland near Dunsop Bridge.


About the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

The Forest of Bowland is one of 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across Britain and covers 803 square kilometres (312 square miles) of rural land in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1964, it’s important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds like the iconic Hen Harrier – symbol of the Bowland AONB.

In 2005 the AONB became the first protected area in England to be awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas and this honour was repeated when the Charter was re-awarded in September 2010.

In November 2011 the AONB were recipients of the prestigious 'Best Destination' runner-up award from The International Responsible Tourism Awards.

About Champion Bowland

Champion Bowland is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which provides easily accessible small grants for local projects which benefit the environment, local communities and visitors within the Forest of Bowland AONB.

Champion Bowland raises funds from visitor donations, charitable activities and other sources – including this website.

In recent years, Champion Bowland has helped fund projects as diverse as outdoor classrooms for local schoolchildren, bird hides, pollinator patches and wildflower meadow conservation. Read about the projects Champion Bowland has supported in recent years here.

Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoety

26th August 2020

Ginkgo Prize posterThe Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry, the biggest international prize for ecological, environmental and climate-concerned poetry, opens Friday 31st July 2020. Calling from poets around the world competing to win £5,000 (first prize)£2,000 (2nd prize) or £1,000 (3rd prize). 

Organised by the Poetry School, and judged by novelist, activist and UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and poet, critic and commissioning editor Jade Cuttle. The Ginkgo Prize aims to illuminate the climate crisis and the role that poetry can play in provoking consciousness and change. 

The competition encourages poets from all backgrounds and abilities to interrogate and explore our built and natural environments, to challenge the global climate crisis and celebrate ecological beauty by lending creative space to the writing of poetry.

To help applicants enter, Ginkgo has set up virtual workshops throughout the submissions period (31st July – 31st October 2020). These workshops aim to encourage the writing and understanding of ecopoetry. There will be essays from leading environmental writers and more workshops announced soon.

This year, they are launching a separate prize with the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the theme will be Landscape, and the £500 prize will be awarded to The Best Poem of Landscape. This prize will be free to enter if a poem already submitted to the Gingko Prize qualifies as a landscape poem.

The winner of the Ginkgo Prize will be awarded a week-long glamping residency and bespoke rewilding workshop at Knepp Rewilding Safaris.

Festival Events Go Virtual

10th August 2020

Festival Bowland OnlineFor over 10 years, Festival Bowland has been offering residents and visitors the opportunity to explore the beautiful Forest of Bowland AONB through a range of guided walks, talks and hands on workshops.

Coronavirus restrictions have meant that many of this year's face to face events have had to be cancelled so, instead, event organisers have gone digital and moved online.

Sandra Silk, Project Officer with the Forest of Bowland AONB said, "Each year we look forward to meeting new people and old friends through the Festival programme. Sadly, we haven't been able to do that this year but, rather than miss out, we've worked with colleagues at the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership to put events online. We're really excited by how many people have joined us "virtually" to find out about everything from archaeology to bats and wading birds. We even managed to move our national Meadows Day celebrations online."

Events are free to attend and you don't need a camera on your device to be able to join in.

Events planned for August include family-friendly bird ID, peat restoration and a look at Pendle Hill's "radical" heritage.  Black grouse, Roman roads and an introduction to rewilding will feature in September, along with online Bowland Foodie Foray sessions.

"Holding our events digitally means that people can join us no matter where they live", said Sandra, "so we're really grateful to all the presenters who have made these virtual events possible. It's also great to welcome people who may not normally be able to take part in face to face events, whether that's for health, transport or other reasons.  We certainly hope to include online events alongside our more traditional format in future Festival programmes."

Details and booking information for all Festival Bowland online events can be found on the Forest of Bowland AONB website at Anyone wanting to know more about how the online events work can email Sandra on

Days to Remember

31st July 2020

Memory Box PhotoA trip to the countryside can provide endless opportunities for making – and re-living – happy memories, as well as being great for our physical and mental wellbeing.

There are times though, when a visit to the great outdoors isn't possible and at those times, the Forest of Bowland AONB team hopes their new online resources will come in handy.

The Days to Remember project aims to encourage older people and those living with dementia, alongside family members and carers, to enjoy a "virtual" exploration of this beautiful area.

The newly launched web page has everything from tips and resources for making your own Great Outdoors memory box; to links to puzzles, quizzes and colouring sheets and a relaxing guided meditation.

Sandra Silk, Forest of Bowland Project Officer said, "Last year we worked with Lancashire County Council's Heritage Learning Team to produce a Great Outdoors memory box full of activities designed to trigger positive recollections and encourage conversations about past countryside visits and adventures. Unfortunately, this part of LCC's loans service is temporarily on hold so the new web page is our way of sharing some of those ideas online."

Activities include Bowland wildflower "playing cards" which can be downloaded and printed; a series of images from around the AONB, which can be used to make up a photograph album; recordings of the calls of Bowland birds, including the iconic curlew and lapwing, plus ideas for other resources to spark happy memories.

The web page also includes a guided meditation written and narrated by Helen Leece of the Gathering Fields Retreat near Abbeystead. Based on the sights and sounds of a Bowland meadow in summer, the twenty minute audio, which includes natural sounds and simple music, is designed to offer some gentle relaxation.

"Ultimately, we would like to help people experience Bowland in a variety of ways", said Sandra, "whether that be through improving signposting and access so that people have the confidence to explore for themselves, or through offering guided sessions and activities. In the meantime, we hope our online suggestions will help people stay connected to nature."

The Days to Remember web page can be found at and more information about the project is available by emailing Sandra at or by calling 07973 923142.

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