Lapwing © David Patrick

Local Producer Donates Funds to Raise Awareness of one of Bowland's Special Habitats

15th September 2021

Through funds raised from sales of Goosnargh Gin's 'Hay Time', a re-wild the child project was able to secure educational resources to support visits for youngsters to learn about the special hay meadows in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Goosnargh GinHay Time is just one of Goosnargh Gin’s creations which are distilled in small batches in their bespoke copper still Bea in the shadow of Beacon Fell. The company uses local, organic and sustainably grown botanicals to produce a limited number of their unique distillation, the fourth ‘Chapter’ in their range of gins, from Bowland's Coronation Meadows.

The wildflower-rich Coronation Meadows are located at Bell Sykes Farm in Slaidburn and they act as a living seedbank – one of the last unimproved flower-rich grasslands in this part of Lancashire. Peter Blackwell, the farmer at Bell Sykes Farm lets the grasses grow much longer before cutting and bailing, so that the seeds can develop and then be used to regenerate wildflower meadows elsewhere.

During 2020, for every bottle of Hay Time gin sold, Goosnargh Gin donated £5 to Champion Bowland.  Owners Richard and Rachel Trenchard were keen to support a project in the Forest of Bowland that would provide educational visits for youngsters to learn about the importance of protecting these wonderful habitats.

Chair of Champion Bowland Mike Pugh said: 'We were delighted to receive £600 from Goosnargh Gin, with a particular focus on supporting an educational project within the Forest of Bowland, linked to the hay meadows.  Working with the AONB, we were able to find the ideal project to support these aims. Located at the Gathering Fields - a site already working in partnership with the AONB to restore their own hay meadows – is the project 'Re-wild the child'.

Re-wild the child, based at the Gathering Fields near Abbeystead, is a grass roots project in its early stages, raising funds and awareness for the rewilding of a wildflower meadow and providing opportunities for educational visits. Supporting small groups and charities that would not normally be able to access our beautiful countryside.

Gathering Fields - Re-wild the child projectHelen Leece, owner of the Gathering Fields said: 'We started working in 2019 with the AONB's Hay Time Rescue Project, continuing in 2021 through the Green Recovery Fund delivered by Plantlife's Meadow Makers project, restoring our 4-acre meadow, adding seed and plug plants. The transformation to date has been wonderful to see.  During the early summer months our hay meadow is a beautiful sight and is alive with the buzz of bees and insects, and we wanted to be able to open-up opportunities for young people to explore this wonderful habitat.  Our educational visits include discovering the healthy benefits on our wellbeing through nature-based activities, nutritional cooking, crafts, movement and plant identification.  The donation from Goosgnargh Gin through 'Hay Time' sales, has enabled us to purchase some useful resources to support the activities during these visits'. 

Carol Edmondson, Hay Time Project Officer for the AONB said: 'This type of partnership approach is at the centre of how we deliver projects across Bowland. It's fantastic to see it all tying together, from the restoration work here at the Gathering Fields and at Bells Sykes Farm, to increasing opportunities for the public, then linking that through to the AONB's tourism work and a local business with sustainable values being inspired to put something back.'

For further information about Bowland's Hay Time Project visit: and the charity Champion Bowland visit:

To find out more about the Re-wild the Child project at the Gathering Fields visit:

And for details of Goosgnargh Gin's Hay time bottling visit:

Discovering Wonderful Waxcaps

9th September 2021

Yellow waxcapAutumn is the best time to spot fungi and waxcap fungi are amazing!

They are found in old grasslands and, whilst they can be elusive, they have been found on Worsaw Hill before. Their bright colours make them easy to spot - there are white, yellow, red, pink and even green ones called Parrot Waxcaps.

Ballerina waxcapWhy not come and join us from Downham on Saturday 9th October, 10am – 12noon, to see how many different ones are to be found this year?

(Please note that Worsaw Hill is not in "open access land" and access to the hill itself is for this guided event only. A public footpath skirts the foot of the hill on the southern and western edges.)

All under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.  Please note that Worsaw Hill is a steep climb.

This event is subject to any Covid-19 restrictions which may be in place at the time.

Booking essential. For more information and to book a place please email

Free, terrain guide 4, 2 miles approx

Tramper Taster Day

8th September 2021

Tramper at Gisburn ForestAutumn is a fantastic time of year in the Forest of Bowland and this year's Festival Bowland events programme has a great opportunity for countryside lovers who relish getting outside, but who might have restricted mobility.

On Thursday 7th October 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. 

Dale Head Church Interpretation

The Birch Hills Trail is a stile-free, mile and a half long woodland route in lovely surroundings – and with lots of history to discover.  There are 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.

Sessions are available at 10am and 1:30pm and will last around one hour. Toilets and café are located approximately 1 ¾ miles away at Gisburn Forest Hub.

Early booking is recommended as Tramper numbers are limited.  Accompanying family and friends are welcome. The event is free but donations towards the upkeep of the Trampers are welcome via

For more information, and to book a place, please email

25,000 YEARS IN ONE EVENING: Lord of Bowland Annual Lecture 2021

1st September 2021

Originally planned for autumn last year but delayed due to the pandemic, Maps, Mines and Minerals: 25,000 Years of Bowland History, will be delivered by award-winning geologist Dr Nick Riley MBE and will take place online on Tuesday 5 October 2021, beginning at 7pm.

The Arms of William, 16th Lord of BowlandFrom the melting of the last ice sheet to the present day, the presentation will explore the interaction between people, landscape and geology – explaining how this has shaped life in Bowland across millennia.

William Bowland, 16th Lord of Bowland said: “Bouncing back after months of lockdown, this year’s lecture – our 10th – will take a long view of the Forest we call home.  No-one could be better equipped to guide us through 25,000 years of history in one evening than Nick Riley.

“Born in Blackburn, Dr Riley is the UK’s leading authority on the geology of Bowland. In 2003, he was awarded an MBE ‘for services to UK geoscience’.  More recently, he was awarded the John Phillips Medal by the Yorkshire Geological Society for his ‘lifelong contributions to understanding the geology of Northern England’". 

Traditionally held at Browsholme Hall, the Lord of Bowland Annual Lecture has built a large following over recent years.  Given the continuing situation, however, the decision has been made to hold this year's event online, so that as many people as possible can be accommodated. Open to all free-of-charge, the format will also allow virtual visitors from beyond Bowland to discover the heritage of this beautiful area.

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

Places for the lecture can be booked by emailing

Together For Our Landmark – New to Walking Festival

17th August 2021

Join the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership for a FREE 9 day walking festival - Together for Our Landmark - Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th September.

Did you enjoy regular walks from home during lockdown? But need some further ideas of where to explore?  Participate in our 'New to Walking' Festival and experience the Pendle Hill area with the support of knowledgeable guides. Learn more about the area's fascinating natural and cultural heritage, find some hidden gems away from the crowds and gain confidence to venture out on self-guided walks in the future!

Hetty Byrne, Sustainable Tourism Officer for Forest of Bowland AONB said: 'The Pendle Hill area has so much to offer for those seeking adventure, exploring history or for a family day out, but all too often people flock to the same busy spots, perhaps gaining reassurance by following the crowds.  One part of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership Scheme has been to look at spreading some of that visitor pressure from the same 'honeypot' sites and encouraging people to seek out all the opportunities that the area has to offer.  This led us to the idea of organising a walking festival to highlight all these wonderful opportunities, on all sides of the hill.'

From 18th to 26th September we're excited to present a 'new to walking festival' – Together for our Landmark - to further extend walking from home and the connections made during Lockdown.  The guided walks will be an opportunity for people to continue with the regular walks they have enjoyed and to develop their confidence to explore new walks in the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership area.  It is also an opportunity for people to learn more about the natural and cultural heritage of the area.

Hetty said: 'We've got such a varied programme from archaeology to herbal medicine, mindfulness to traditional boundaries and family-friendly walks.  The guided walks start from locations all around Pendle Hill including Nelson, Barrowford, Sabden, Roughlee and Downham.  We've kept the walks to a maximum of 6 miles, but they include a variety of terrain, so we hope there is something for everyone!'

The walks are all free, but donations are welcome on the day contributing to Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue and the Pendle Hill Fund.

For full details of the walks and information about how to book, please visit:

Meet you at the top event, image by Mark Sutcliffe

New funding for climate, nature and people in the nation’s special landscapes

24th June 2021

Farmers and land managers in England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) will be given grants to make improvements to the natural environment, cultural heritage and public access.

Image by Charlie HedleyThe three-year programme, Farming in Protected Landscapes, was announced today by Government, and will be open to farmers and land managers to support nature recovery, mitigate the effects of climate change, and provide ways for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape.

In this area, the funding available for projects in National Parks and AONBs in the first year comprises:

  • Arnside and Silverdale AONB - £132,509
  • Forest of Bowland AONB - £864,635
  • Lake District National Park - £1,041,000
  • North Pennines AONB – £1,150,000
  • Solway Coast AONB – £141,000
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park - £1,211,159

National Parks and AONBs are living, working landscapes that support communities and businesses, but are also home to a huge range of habitats and species. They are also places that are enjoyed by millions of visitors and residents every year. The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will fund a range of projects to help look after these areas.

The programme will provide funding for one-off projects which allow farmers and land managers in protected landscapes to:

  • support nature recovery – such as increasing habitats to improve biodiversity or greater connectivity between habitats
  • mitigate the impacts of climate change – such as reducing flood risk or storing more carbon
  • provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
  • support nature-friendly and sustainable farm businesses

In each area, projects will be assessed by a local panel to ensure they provide value for money, a legacy from the work, and meet at least one of the scheme’s outcomes, for people, nature, climate or place. Projects should also meet at least one of the aims of the Management Plan for the relevant National Park or AONB.

Projects to help to mitigate the effects of climate change might include measures to reduce flood risk through natural flood management, or by taking action to reduce a farm’s carbon emissions. Action for nature recovery might include land being improved for wildlife, by creating new habitats or by changing the way land is managed to deliver better results for nature.

Other eligible projects can focus on ‘place’, improving the quality and character of the landscape. These might be restoring and maintaining some of the landscape features and historic assets that make our National Parks and AONBs so distinctive.

Haymaking by Graham Cooper

Helping people to enjoy and understand the landscape is a priority, and this programme will support projects including those that provide more opportunities for people to access and explore AONBs and National Parks.

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will run from 2021 to 2024, and proposals are invited from 1 July 2021. Further information can be obtained by contacting your local AONB or National Park team. The funding is for one-off projects and is not an agri-environment scheme. Receiving funding from this programme will not prevent farmers or land managers from participating in the emerging Environmental Land Management Schemes, and projects on land within existing stewardship agreements can be funded provided they are additional to the current agreement.


Follow this link for full details of the Farming in Protect Landscapes programme in the Forest of Bowland


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.

Places are booking fast1

Saturday 3rd July:

Invertebrate walks - 10.30am and 12 noon

Hay meadow walks - 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm

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

Pre-booked entry essential as numbers are limited. For more information and to book your place(s) please email

Free attendance but there will be a charge for refreshments.

Stands on-site at the event include:

  • AONB information stall
  • Goosnargh Gin – tasting of this season's Hay Time gin, made with botanicals from the meadows on the farm
  • Reuben Parsons, local waller demonstrating cobbling in the yard
  • Butterfly Conservation – opening up their moth trap at the beginning of the day
  • Scything and hay timing demonstrations
  • Pole lathe demo
  • Local spinner Helen Dawson
  • Local proddie rug demo
  • Wood carver, demos and chopping boards etc for sale
  • Mike Ravey, Turnerford Oak, bespoke products from local timber
  • 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:
  • 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 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:

For further information about Bowland's Peatland Restoration visit: 

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