Lapwing © David Patrick

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: 

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.

Crook O’Lune beauty spot gets new lease of life as a wildflower meadow

4th March 2021


A beauty spot at the Crook O’Lune near Lancaster, known locally as Hermitage Field, is getting a new lease of life as a wildflower meadow.

A formal 12 year license agreement has been finalised between Lancaster City Council as owner of the site and charitable residents’ group, Hermitage Field Community Meadow. The agreement will allow the group to manage a five acre plot of land in the field on the council’s behalf as a wildflower meadow.

Hermitage Field already contributes to the area being a popular place to visit, with car park and picnic facilities nearby, as well as stunning views across the Lune Valley.  The remaining two acres at the centre of the field is already being managed under a separate licence by charity ‘Life for a Life’, as a memorial forest.

The Hermitage Field Community Meadow charity was recently set up by a group of local residents and has already acquired funding to help them create and manage the meadow.  Work has begun on preparing the land before new planting can take place later in the year.  The aim of the project is to develop an attractive and enhanced landscape at the popular site which will complement the new memorial forest.

The paths running through the site and parallel with the road will be retained and maintained to enable visitors to the Crook O’Lune to enjoy access to the field.

Councillor Kevin Frea, Cabinet member for climate action and member of Crook O’Lune Advisory Committee, said: “The creation and development of a wildflower meadow at Hermitage Field by local people that are passionate about the conservation of this special place, has provided the council with another perfect opportunity to breathe new life into this treasured beauty spot.

"As well as looking incredibly attractive and complementing the natural beauty of the memorial forest on the same site, the new arrangement will also have massive ecological benefits.  Introducing pollinating plants and enticing pollinating bees, insects and other wildlife to the site will increase biodiversity as well provide a local seed bank for other potential meadows.”

“The arrangement also supports the aims of the council’s new grassland management strategy which will see changes to the way grass is cut in local parks and public spaces, again to help increase biodiversity and meet the council’s climate change commitments.”

The initiative was spearheaded by local resident and trustee of the charity, Erica Sarney who initially set up a group called the Community Pollinator Patches and went on to form the charity with a number of like-minded friends.

Erica said: "We’re very much looking forward to getting this exciting project off the ground and creating a stunning meadow teeming with wildflowers and wildlife for everyone to enjoy. Local people love this area so much and which is also part of a popular ramble overlooking the Lune Valley towards Ingleborough.

"We really hope everyone enjoys the meadow and may be inspired to come and join us, when restrictions allow, to help us bring it to life.  For more information and how you can get involved, visit our website at

The charity has secured funding from Plantlife, The Areti Charitable Trust, Halton Lune Hydro Trust, Forest of Bowland AONB and Life for a Life Memorial Forests. Part of the site has already been sown with seed from Lancashire's Coronation Meadow at Bell Sykes Farm, Forest of Bowland AONB, as well as Gait Barrows Reserve in Silverdale.

The project will be growing wildflowers with volunteers in polytunnels at the council’s White Lund Depot in Morecambe.

From Medieval Monastics to Radicals and Reformers

22nd February 2021

The AONB is full of fascinating history, not all of it well known to the wider world.  Join us for these Festival Bowland events and find out more!

Each event is free to attend and will be held online. See individual events for booking details.


Tuesday 2nd March, 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Bowland's many traditional farm buildings add to the AONB's landscape character and sense of place. Join architect and historic buildings consultant, James Innerdale, as he shares practical ideas and helpful tips on how to care for, and maintain, them.

James has delivered a number of training sessions on behalf of SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings).

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


Tuesday 23rd March, 6.30pm – 8pm

Meet the Radicals…  This online event introduces some of the nonconformists, reformers and change makers researched by the volunteers of the Pendle Radicals project.  And it introduces The Radicals Trail, a new way of exploring our rural communities around Pendle Hill.  There must have been something in the air, because radical history is all around us.  You just need to know where to look…  Meet some Pendle Hill people who changed the world! 

You will encounter the first Quaker, plus a Higham boy who became a beacon of the Enlightenment, the pioneers of the Independent Labour Party, and campaigners for women’s suffrage and for the right to roam.  We’ll tell you about themed Radicals walks and about future plans to grow and extend The Radicals Trail.  

Pendle Radicals is led by Mid Pennine Arts, and is part of the Pendle Hill programme, supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Fund.  

Booking essential. Please book via MPA's Eventbrite page at

For more information please email

Free, but donations to Champion Bowland welcome via


Wednesday 21st April, 6.30pm – 8pm

Between 1148 and 1537, Sawley Abbey was home to a community of white-clad Cistercian monks. This talk will examine the insights the abbey's ruined buildings provide into the evolution of the monks' way of life over 400 years, and question traditional notions of late medieval decline leading to Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. It will also use art and architecture to illuminate the lives of the people who lived, prayed and worked at the abbey between the 12th and 16th centuries. 

Dr Michael Carter is senior properties historian at English Heritage. He specialises in monastic history, art and architecture and has an especial interest in the Cistercians in northern England. He has published and lectured widely.

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

Meadow Makers Green Recovery Challenge Fund Trainee Opportunity

18th February 2021



Plantlife and its project partners are seeking six enthusiastic, self-motivated individuals with a strong interest in conservation to become Trainee Meadow Makers and take part in a fully funded trainee programme.  We are particularly interested in hearing from young people keen to develop a career in conservation.


Six full-time, fully paid (based on the National Living Wage) career entry positions are available.  Each position is for six months, from April to September and will be hosted by Plantlife (x3), Cumbria Wildlife Trust, High Weald AONB Partnership and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.  You will work in areas including Herefordshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Devon & Cornwall and East Sussex. 

The Meadow Makers project is taking place thanks to funding from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.  The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Deadline for receipt of applications Sunday 7th March at 9PM

Interviews will be held online during the week commencing 15th March.

About the role:Bell Sykes Hay Meadow

Meadow Makers is a new and exciting project, taking place thanks to funding from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.  The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Led by Plantlife, it aims to restore species-rich grasslands across England in partnership with Arnside & Silverdale AONB, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Duchy of Cornwall, Herefordshire Meadows, High Weald AONB Partnership, Moor Meadows and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

Plantlife is seeking to appoint three Trainee Meadow Makers - one to work across Herefordshire, working alongside Herefordshire Meadows and two to work across Devon/Cornwall, working alongside Moor Meadows and the Duchy of Cornwall.  All three posts will be employed by Plantlife and fully supported by a nominated member of staff.

The other three opportunities available will be employed by external partners, High Weald AONB Partnership, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.  To find out more about what each provider is offering, follow the links on the webpage.

In all cases Trainee Meadow Makers will work alongside expert grasslands project staff to support the delivery of all aspects of the Meadow Makers project.  Each provider will offer a wide range of opportunities for you combining work-place learning and experience, practical action (including conservation and people engagement), peer to peer learning and the completion of a training framework.  There will be an opportunity to focus training to reflect the interest of individual trainees, supported by a personal training budget.

The training framework will comprise of five units and training will be delivered via a mix of digital remote learning, by Plantlife, by your host project partner and by yourselves.  The five units are as follows:

  1. Understanding an organisation - the organisation you are employed by, who, what, why, how.
  2. Being a responsible colleague - workplace behaviours, values, communication.
  3. A developing professional - training, work placed learning.
  4. Leadership and management - with your employer identify your own ‘mini project’ and take responsibility for all aspects from planning to completion.
  5. Next steps: create your portfolio, diaries, blogs, photos, case studies, videos.


It is anticipated that there will be an opportunity for all six Trainee Meadow Makers to work together as a team on a project over the full length of the placement.

Throughout the six months there may also be wider opportunities within project partner organisations and there is potential for a programme of ‘expert’ speakers to be pulled together.

For more information please visit plantlife's website:  You will also find information there about our trustees, our policies and projects, as well as our annual reports and accounts.

About the job

This is a full-time post (35 hour week) and is for six months.

The Plantlife Trainee Meadow Makers will be home based. 

Frequent travel will be needed within the postholder’s project area (either Herefordshire or Devon/Cornwall) and occasional travel may be necessary to other project areas in England.

We work normal office hours (9-5, Monday to Friday), although this role will also require some weekend and evening working.  Flexible working is offered.

The reward package includes being paid the National Living Wage (£8.91 an hour) plus contributions to a group personal pension scheme and other benefits, including up to 12.5 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

How to apply

A full job description and person specification are set out below. If you fit the bill, please write explaining why you would like to be considered for this role and please complete a Plantlife application form (available online) and return it to  by Sunday 7th March at 9PM

We expect to hold interviews on-line during the week beginning 15th March

If you have any questions about the role please contact Isobel Hall, the Meadow Makers Project Manager ( or 07960 152687

In order to minimise our administrative costs, applicants should assume they have been unsuccessful if they have not heard from us within three weeks of the closing date.  In such instances we are thankful for your interest in Plantlife International.



Bowland Farmers Invited to Find Out More About Planned Changes in Agriculture

8th February 2021

Poster imageFarmers in Bowland are being invited to online meetings this month to hear more about the future direction of farming policy and support payments, including the new Environmental Land Management system and changes to the existing Countryside Stewardship schemes.

Following the publishing of the Government's Agricultural Transition Plan in November 2020, farming is set to undergo significant change over the next few years.  The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has joined with The Farmer Network to offer local farmers the chance to find out more about some of these changes and to ask what support and advice they might need during this transition period.

The online webinar will be held via Zoom and there are a choice of two dates:  Wednesday 17th February from 7.30pm – 9pm or Friday 19th February from 12.30pm – 2pm.

Places on the webinar are free, but interested farmers need to book in advance for their chosen date by ringing the Farmer Network on 01768 868615 or by emailing

Speakers will include Adam Day and Veronica Waller of The Farmer Network and Sarah Robinson Farming and Wildlife Officer from the Forest of Bowland AONB.

Anyone unfamiliar with using Zoom can call The Farmer Network beforehand and will be given advice on how to join in.

The Forest of Bowland AONB have also commissioned The Farmer Network to conduct a survey with local farmers to determine what support might be needed going forward and how this should be supplied locally.

Ruth Kendal from the Farmer Network will be conducting the survey via telephone interviews and any farmers wishing to take part should ring Ruth on 07397985324 or email her on 

Festival Bowland 2021 is here!

6th January 2021

We have some great events planned for our Festival Bowland programme this year and we can't wait to get started.

Image by Mark Harder

From wildlife that flies, flaps and crawls, to vibrant meadow flowers and rainbow-colour fungi. From medieval heritage and the annual Lord of Bowland lecture, to family-friendly fun and Tramper taster sessions – we're sure you'll find something to capture your interest!

We'll be keeping things virtual until Easter this year then, from mid-April, we're hoping to re-introduce some small-scale walks and face to face events.  These will need to follow any Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines which might still be in place at the time and we may need to postpone or cancel some sessions at short notice. 

We'll do our very best to keep our listings up to date but it will be even more important this year to contact the event organiser and "check before you travel".

Don't worry though – we'll be rolling our online events out for the rest of the year and beyond, so there'll always be a way to explore and enjoy this very special part of Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

For full event details and booking information go to  And don't forget to keep checking back to see what's new!

COVID-19 Update

5th January 2021

National Lockdown: Stay at Home

The Prime Minister has announced a new national lockdown with emergency measures to control the rapid spread of coronavirus, during a televised address on Monday 4th January 2020, the prime minister announced the tougher restrictions would come into force from midnight on that day.

Read the full guidance here.

The latest Government guidance means that everyone is required to stay at home. Although we can go out for exercise this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. People must not travel from other areas into the Forest of Bowland AONB and must not travel distances within the AONB for walks or other exercise.

Our 2021 online Festival Bowland programme begins on the 20th January with the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch and we've a fanastic week-long Dark Skies Festival running from 13th to 19th February, with online events for all the family.  We also still have our 'At Home in Bowland' online resources available or you can re-visit some of our online Festival Bowland events which have taken place during 2020. 

In these unprecedented times, please ensure you stay up to date with the latest guidance from the Government and continue to follow the general guidance of ‘Hands. Face. Space.’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 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)

In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

Covid-19 Update

31st December 2020

COVID-19 Update 31.12.2020

The majority of the AONB which covers Lancashire is now under Tier 4 restrictions, with North Yorkshire, Craven district area in Tier 3. 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 you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. You should not travel into a Tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for a specific reason - please read all the latest Tier 4 guidance here.

Please do exercise locally if you can; 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.

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.

Green Recovery Challenge Fund

10th December 2020

Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty receives grant of 233,900 from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund

  • Dr Chris Miller surveying at Holme House68 projects have been awarded grants between £62k and £3.8 million have been awarded by Defra to kick-start a pipeline of nature-based projects while creating and retaining jobs
  • First funding round sees £40 million pot allocated, second round of funding to open in early 2021

The Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Holme House Fell Peatland Restoration project is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

This landscape-scale project will restore peatland habitat at Holme House Fell, a 127 hectare site at the centre of the Bowland Fells SSSI; part of the largest expanse of blanket bog and heather moorland in Lancashire.  The scheme will include work to reduce surface water flow; decrease carbon loss caused by peat erosion; improve water quality and increase the potential of the habitat to act as a carbon sink.

Restoration work will be carried out by an experienced moorland contractor, helping to support the local economy; whilst providing initial training in peatland restoration skills for a further local contractor looking to specialise in this type of work.

Helicopter lifting materials for peatland restoration at Langden Head.Forest of Bowland AONB Manager, Elliott Lorimer said:

 "We're absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant to help restore a significant area of internationally important blanket bog habitat in the Bowland Fells.  The project will be jointly delivered with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and will also help support the recovery of the wider rural economy, benefitting local contractors and suppliers." 

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change.  The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:

“These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.”

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