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Lapwing © David Patrick

National Meadows Day 2021

21st June 2021

Bell Sykes Meadow

Pre-book your place for a chance to explore Lancashire's very own Coronation Meadows in all their summer colours!

Enjoy guided walks taking a closer look at Slaidburn's Bell Sykes hay meadows and their invertebrates, or expand your knowledge on a wildflower ID session.  Stalls and refreshments available.

Saturday 3rd July:

Invertebrate walks - 10.30am and 12 noon

Hay meadow walks and meadow plant ID workshops - 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm

Bell Sykes MeadowPlease note that this event will be subject to Covid-19 guidelines. Lancashire is an area where the Covid-19 Delta variant is currently spreading. Please make sure you are aware of the latest government guidelines https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

Pre-booked entry essential as numbers are limited. For more information and to book your place(s) please email sandra.silk@lancashire.gov.uk

Free attendance but there will be a charge for refreshments.


Scorton Primary School pupils persuade us to visit Nicky Nook

16th June 2021

Grizesdale Class at Scorton Primary School have been developing their persuasive writing skills by writing to persuade visitors to come to the local area. 
What a fantastic piece by a boy in Year 4 all about Nicky Nook!

Are you tired of watching TV and need some fresh air? You can appreciate the wonderful and picturesque nature, whilst admiring the beautiful, outstanding scenery. You can also see the amazing animals and do bird watching too! It's away from eardrum shaking traffic and busy towns. Also the sun gives you vitamin D which makes you stronger! If you reach the top then you can look at the panoramic views and see the peaceful lakes and ponds too.Have you ever wanted to be immersed in nature and feel as free as you could ever feel? Do you dream of keeping fit, at one with your surroundings, whilst being calm and relaxed? Do you want to go somewhere astonishing that is an all round beauty? Well Nicky Nook is the perfect environment for you!

Tarn Lake, Nicky Nook by Sam Fielding

If you think exercise is tedious, then Nicky Nook is the perfect place to change your mind.There's an abundance of different routes for lots of different people,of all ages and all abilities.You can enjoy the fascinating moments with anyone you like, including family and friends. Also you can do exercise whilst having lots of great fun! You can do a vast variety of things at Nicky Nook including bike rides, runs and walks. Also it’s very rare you will get as many beauty spots as Nicky Nook so you are very lucky if it is right on your doorstep. Nicky Nook definitely keeps you fit and healthy!

Nicky NookNow we come to the best part, Nicky Nook isn’t just around at one part of the year it’s around all year! No matter what season you're in you can enjoy the fun and adventure. When Spring arrives, you can see the beautiful flowers starting to slowly release their delicate petals and make a sea of colour surround you. When Summer comes, you can keep cool underneath the dappled and lush green leaves and paddle in the crystal clear water of the gushing stream. In Autumn you can see the leaves falling in colors of yellow, orange and crimson and are creating a carpet of colour on the ground. If you go in Winter, you can build huge and friendly snowmen, do fun sledding and make snowballs. Maybe you could have snowball fights. Nicky Nook surely is the best place for anyone!

So get your coat, put your shoes on then zoom to Nicky Nook and enjoy the time of your life. This place definitely is amazing for exercise, is outstanding all year round and with brilliant nature along the way. So a walk a day makes you work, rest and play.

Very well done to this young man, I'm sure you're as sold as we are! Visit our walking page for ideas for walks around Grizedale and Nick Nook: ViewRanger App Walking Routes | Forest of Bowland AONB


Visiting Bowland

14th June 2021

Update on 14th June 2021

On 14th June Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was joined by Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, at a press briefing.

As not all of four tests for proceeding to step 4 in the UK Government roadmap have been met, step 4 openings will be delayed until July 19th, with the exception of weddings and wakes of more than 30 guests which still can go ahead with social distancing.
 
The situation will be monitored daily and if after 2 weeks, the risk looks like it has diminished, it would be possible to move to step 4 earlier. 
 
View the Prime Minister's statement and the slides and dataset from the briefing.

The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England has been updated with a summary on changes from 21 June, including more information on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events. 

Please continue to follow guidance as stated on 10th May below.
 


In his statement on the 10th May, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that from Monday 17 May, England will move to step 3 of its roadmap.

The what you can and cannot do guidance for England has been updated with measures that will change from 17 May including:

  • Bluebells in Brock ValleyGathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes).
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules.

It is welcome news that we can all start to spend more time enjoying our beautiful National Landscapes once again, but whilst visiting the Forest of Bowland please continue to stay safe and consider the following:

  • AONB Countryside Code Poster

    Know the Countryside Code (64) - Plan ahead, take a map and exercise within your limitations to keep pressure off local resources.

  • Avoid hotspots and busy spots – if you arrive at a place that is already busy and car parks are full, please find an alternative. For ideas of short-breaks covering the whole of the AONB take a look at our area-based itineraries: https://www.forestofbowland.com/discover-bowland-itineraries
  • Our farmers have been working hard to maintain food supplies during the pandemic. Support them and our communities by leaving gates as you find them, sticking to the path and keeping dogs on the lead (Note: If you are with a dog and cattle chase you, it is safer to let go of your dog's lead).
  • Strictly no BBQs or open fires, due to the danger of wildfire.
  • Leave no trace. Please take all your litter home.
  • Respect the plant and wildlife which has thrived during lockdown.
  • Travel sustainably - If you can, journey on foot or bike; This means you experience the wonderful scenery of the AONB en-route and you don’t have to worry about finding a car parking space.
  • Support local - Take a look at the businesses featured on the Discover Bowland website who are all members of the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network.  
  • Stay at home if you, or anyone in your household or support bubble, have symptoms of COVID-19 and keep to the isolation guidance issued by government.  Continue to take hygiene precautions when you are outside and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors.
  • Be kind and respect one another.

A new, refreshed Countryside Code was launched on 1st April by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the founding booklet.  With more people enjoying the outdoors than ever before, the code was revised to help people enjoy the countryside in a safe and respectful way.  You can view the new revised version here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code or refer to our local guidance above.

Respect, Protect, Enjoy!


Milestone Celebrates Vital Conservation Work

24th May 2021

Peat infographicJust over ten years of partnership work has resulted in peat restoration equivalent to the size of 1000 football pitches in this special area.

The Forest of Bowland is known for its wide-open spaces and upland landscape, much of which is made up of heather moorland and blanket bog. A type of peatland, blanket bog is considered internationally important, and the Bowland Fells support the largest extent of this habitat in Lancashire.

Forest of Bowland AONB Manager, Elliott Lorimer, said, "£2.5 million has been spent on peat restoration in Bowland since 2010, helping to restore 755 hectares of blanket bog.  That's all thanks to the project funders, moorland owners and partners, including the Environment Agency, Natural England, United Utilities, Yorkshire Peat Partnership, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Ribble Rivers Trust and of course, the contractors and volunteers who have made the work happen on the ground."

The remoteness of the uplands means that many people are unfamiliar with this very special habitat and the advantages a healthy blanket bog provides.    Sarah Robinson, Farming & Wildlife Officer with the Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership explained, "Peat is made up of partly decomposed organic material which builds up in waterlogged, acidic conditions and takes thousands of years to form. It offers us so many benefits: from its intrinsic worth and landscape value to biodiversity, flood risk management and improvements in water quality. It's also vital for carbon storage."

Over the decades, peatlands have been damaged through a number of factors including atmospheric pollution, drainage, wildfires, grazing, trampling and the effects of climate. Work carried out in Bowland aims to initially stabilise the peat, preventing further loss, and then restore it to the point where it can begin to capture carbon once again. 

No two peat sites are the same, which means that restoration techniques vary from place to place across the AONB, but three main principles apply – control peat erosion, manage hydrology and re-instate vegetation cover. 

This specialist work involves expert contractors who access the fells between September and March. Working in such exposed locations during the winter months can be challenging and the conditions are often less than easy. Andy Barnes from Terra Firma Environmental Ltd said "By investing in specially adapted machinery and developing our expertise in working in these unique upland environments we have been privileged to work closely with the  AONB ,estate and land managers to help them achieve their restoration vision over the last 10 years. Working in a defined geographical area such as the Bowland Fells  means that we are often working adjacent to sites that we have restored during the early years of the programme and watching the improvements develop in the hydrological and environmental condition on the restored areas is hugely satisfying for us as a team."

To date, work has been carried out on 18 fells covering land within each of the AONB's three main river catchments of the Lune, Wyre and Ribble.

Coir logs on MallowdaleMallowdale, above the River Roeburn in the Lune valley, forms part of the Bowland Fells Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Here, restoration work has been carried out sensitively over a number of years so as to avoid disturbance to ground nesting birds such as the lesser black backed gull. Emphasis has been on restoring the intrinsic biodiversity value of the site by rewetting the peat and restoring the blanket bog and heather moorland vegetation. Ultimately this will increase the habitat available for upland species such as fox moths, sky larks and green hairstreak butterflies.

Work in the Wyre catchment has focused on the headwaters at the top of the catchment, with natural flood management very much in mind. Blanket bogs act like sponges during and after high rainfall events. As sphagnum mosses can absorb ten times their weight in water, they hold onto the rainwater and let go of it gradually over time, slowing the flow of water off the fells and helping to reduce flashy flood risk downstream. Re-profiling steep sided peat gullies and installing coir logs, which build up sediment behind them, all helps blanket bog vegetation to re-establish, improving the water absorbing capacity of the fells.

Work on Pendle Hill in the Ribble catchment has been carried out as part of the four-year National Lottery Heritage Fund Landscape Partnership project. The summit of this iconic landmark has long been a popular spot and is visited by thousands each year.  Over time the vegetation on the hill has been eroded which has resulted in damage to the underlying peat. Director of Conservefor, Gareth Evans, explained, "Working closely with the AONB staff our dedicated team work hard through the winter months helping to protect and restore these fragile upland habitats for the future’’.

Restoration work has included the construction of scores of timber, coir and stone dams designed to hold water in place, along with path improvements and revegetation with heather brash, sphagnum mosses and cotton grass plugs. "Much of the original brash was washed away in the storms of 2020", said Sarah Robinson, "so we've had to go back and construct more dams to slow the speed of water during storm events and add geotextile as a type of carpet to protect the bare peat.  It just goes to show how extreme the conditions on top of the hill can be sometimes."

The Pendle Hill LP team have developed a special "Peat Freaks" walking route which explains all about the work on the hill.  The self-guided trail starts at the trig point on the summit and can be downloaded via the Viewranger link: https://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MzUxOTQyMA%3D%3D

For further information about Bowland's Peatland Restoration visit: https://www.forestofbowland.com/peatland-restoration 


A Field Full of Poems for National Meadows Day

10th May 2021

Hoverfly on MeadowsweetNATIONAL MEADOWS DAY POETRY WORKSHOP

Thursday 10th June - part 1

Tuesday 15th June - part 2

7pm - 8.30pm (both sessions)

Does the sight of a summer meadow bright with wildflowers inspire you to put pen to paper? Celebrate Lancashire's Coronation Meadows with us by joining our poetry walk-and-workshop and your poem might be chosen to be shared on our website and social media for National Meadows Day in July.

Meadow Cranesbill by Graham CooperPart 1: The first session will include writing activities (so have pen/pencil and paper to hand), with supporting information and visual material on the meadows and discussion of exemplar poems. It will conclude with a question-and-answer session with guest poet Philip Burton, based on a selection of poems from his new collection, Gaia Warnings.

Part 2: The second session – after a few days for you to draft your poem(s) – will be an opportunity to discuss your drafts, and to get peer feedback if you choose to read your poem to us. Following this session, you will have a few days to finalise your poem(s), for submission to the Forest of Bowland AONB by midnight on Sunday 20 June for possible use on our website and social media for National Meadows Day.

This online workshop over two evenings will follow a Covid-compliant guided walk through the species-rich meadows at Bell Sykes Farm in Slaidburn on the morning of Thursday 3rd June. For more information about the walk please see our full Festival Bowland programme here. Please note: if you are unable to attend the guided walk you are still welcome to apply for a place on these online sessions.

The event is free, but booking is essential. For further information and to book a place please email sandra.silk@lancashire.gov.uk
 


Name that Bee!

13th April 2021

Lapidarius in flightBumblebees are fascinating creatures – and play a key role in producing our food - but sadly, along with other pollinators, their numbers have seen a decline in recent decades.  One way we can help in their conservation is by learning how to identify and record them.

Why not join the Forest of Bowland AONB and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to learn about the bumblebee lifecycle, why they are important and how to recognise the species we find here in Bowland?

BUMBLEBEES FOR BEGINNERS

Thursday 6th May

12noon – 1pm

Online

Bumblebees are declining in our countryside, but one important way to help with their conservation is learning how to identify the different species and record what you see for the national records on iRecord.

In this Forest of Bowland AONB/Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust workshop you can learn about their lifecycle, why they are important and how to identify our seven more common species.

Booking essential.  Please contact carol.edmondson@lancashire.gov.uk for more information and to book a place.

Free, but donations to Champion Bowland welcome via https://www.championbowland.org.uk/

BUMBLEBEE IDENTIFICATION - INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

Friday 14th May

10am - 12 noon

Online

This online training session is intended for people who already have a grasp of basic bumblebee identification. The workshop, delivered by Ben Hargreaves from Lancashire Wildlife Trust, will introduce you to identifying the scarcer bumblebees and the cuckoo species.

Booking essential. Please email catherine.mercer@ydmt.org for more information and to book a place.

Free


Visiting the Forest of Bowland AONB

12th April 2021

In his statement on the 5th April, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that from Monday 12 April, England will move to step 2 of its roadmap.

The following are some of the COVID-19 restrictions that will be eased from 12 April:
(for full details visit: (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

  • Image by Alan KilduffSelf-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England for people with their household or support bubble
  • Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • Most outdoor attractions will be able to reopen
  • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people

It is welcome news that we can all start to visit our beautiful National Landscapes once again, but whilst enjoying more time in the Forest of Bowland please continue to stay safe and consider the following:

  • AONB Countryside Code Poster

    Know the Countryside Code - Plan ahead, take a map and exercise within your limitations to keep pressure off local resources.

  • Avoid hotspots and busy spots – if you arrive at a place that is already busy and car parks are full, please find an alternative. For ideas of short-breaks covering the whole of the AONB take a look at our area-based itineraries: https://www.forestofbowland.com/discover-bowland-itineraries
  • Our farmers have been working hard to maintain food supplies during the pandemic. Support them and our communities by leaving gates as you find them, sticking to the path and keeping dogs on the lead (Note: If you are with a dog and cattle chase you, it is safer to let go of your dog's lead).
  • Strictly no BBQs or open fires, due to the danger of wildfire.
  • Leave no trace. Please take all your litter home.
  • Respect the plant and wildlife which has thrived during lockdown.
  • Travel sustainably - If you can, journey on foot or bike; This means you experience the wonderful scenery of the AONB en-route and you don’t have to worry about finding a car parking space.
  • Support local - eateries continue to provide takeaway services and if space allows, some outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen.  Take a look at the businesses featured on the Discover Bowland website who are all members of the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network.  Be sure that you check ahead to make sure that places are open and what they are offering, in-line with the Government roadmap https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary
  • Stay at home if you, or anyone in your household or support bubble, have symptoms of COVID-19 and keep to the isolation guidance issued by government.  Continue to take hygiene precautions when you are outside and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors.
  • Be kind and respect one another.

A new, refreshed Countryside Code was launched on 1st April by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the founding booklet.  With more people enjoying the outdoors than ever before, the code was revised to help people enjoy the countryside in a safe and respectful way.  You can view the new revised version here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code or refer to our local guidance above.

Respect, Protect, Enjoy!


How Bowland's Rural Businesses Built Back Better

11th April 2021

Rural businesses in the Forest of Bowland will soon be ready to welcome visitors back to Bowland as demand for domestic ‘staycation’ holidays in the countryside looks set to rocket.

Discovery Guide Cover

As the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty launches its 2021 ‘Discover Bowland’ Guide, members of the AONB’s Sustainable Tourism Network are gearing up for a busy year.

As well as offering practical advice and information on making the most of their holidays and short breaks in Bowland, the Discover Guide also tells the stories of how a number of local businesses reinvented themselves during last year’s lockdown.

These positive ‘lockdown diaries’ include:

  • Courtyard Dairy, which pivoted to online tastings and nationwide delivery to replace some of the business lost during the closure of the hospitality industry
  • Slaidburn Central Stores, which became a community groceries hub and essential lifeline for outlying communities
  • Bowland e-bikes, which accelerated its growth plans as demand for eco-friendly electric bikes rocketed as lockdown lifted

The 112-page guide also includes a series of five detailed short break itineraries and useful information on accommodation, hospitality, events and outdoor activity providers.

Publication of the Discover Bowland guide is partially funded by continuing support from the members of the Sustainable Tourism Network who advertise within it. The guide accompanies the launch of the Discover Bowland website last September – funded by the AONB and Champion Bowland, a local charity which provides small grants for environment and community projects in the AONB.

The AONB and Champion Bowland provided the seed capital to launch the site:  www.discoverbowland.uk with future funding to come from rural businesses who have signed up to participate.

The website is designed to promote the opportunities of a 300 square mile rural oasis and to showcase the lesser known hidden gems of the AONB. 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.

Both the guide and the destination website launch with a deliberate focus on bringing in bookings for the 2021 season and extending the season into the autumn and winter months.

Rural accommodation providers were hit hard by last year’s restrictions, but this year, many visitors are expected to seek fresh air and plenty of outdoor activities on UK staycations in rural settings.

Forest of Bowland AONB sustainable tourism officer Hetty Byrne said:

“2020 was a very challenging year for the rural economy, but we’ve been encouraged and inspired by the resilience and innovation shown by rural businesses in the Forest of Bowland and their determination to welcome tourists back when restrictions are lifted.

“Many of these enterprising small businesses really stepped up to support their local communities and have been busy preparing to welcome back visitors with even better facilities this year.

“We hope the Discover Guide and the new website will significantly increase awareness of Bowland and inspire visitors to stay longer and – ideally – spend more money with local businesses to do their bit to help the rural economy recover.”

Visit www.discoverbowland.co.uk to plan your Bowland escape!

Or to view a copy of the new guide visit: https://www.forestofbowland.com/discover-bowland-guide-2021  


Meadow Makers Project

8th April 2021

Bell Sykes Hay MeadowFollowing the successful Plantlife bid to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, and our partnership with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Bowland Hay Time will be delivered through the 2021 – 2022 Meadow Makers Project.  The countrywide project aims to restore over 500 hectares of species-rich grassland on 100+ sites and will include a nationwide engagement programme connecting 7000 people in local and wider communities to grassland heritage, improving their experiences and wellbeing.    

Our part in this project is to carry out 25 hectares of meadow restoration work at 11 sites in the Forest of Bowland area. Using a combination of "green hay" and brush harvested seed from our donor meadows, the meadow restoration work in the Forest of Bowland continues into its tenth year.

 The Project also provides funding for a trainee "Meadow Maker", a 6 month traineeship with Plantlife working with our project officer, aimed at encouraging young people into conservation work.

We will also be running meadow related events, both on site and online, over the course of the project, raising awareness of the work we do in the meadows and why it is so important.

For further details of the project and funding visit: https://www.ydmt.org/news/partnership-meadows-greenrecovery 

Green Recovery Challenge fund logo


Dog Walking Advice for Spring

20th March 2021

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.


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