Lapwing © David Patrick

Photo Competition Winners Announced!

13th December 2021

We received some fantastic submissions for the Forest of Bowland photo competition running through November.  The images really captured the beauty and opportunities this outstanding area has to offer throughout the year.

Winning image by Mark Harder - Short Eared OwlThe AONB team shortlisted 10 photographers to receive prizes, all donated by businesses in the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network, and the public then voted for their favourite images via the Forest of Bowland website. We received nearly 1700 votes with the winning photo receiving over 400, so thanks to everyone for getting involved! The winning photographer – Mark Harder - received two nights at Laythams Holiday Lets Retreats, while the second prize winner Paul Warrilow received £100.00 Individual Inns voucher, kindly donated by the Spread Eagle Inn and the third prize of a bottle of Wild Fox farm-to-bottle signature gin was received by Naomi Barnes.

Winner Mark Harder said: 'I’ve only recently taken up wildlife photography and I’m naturally drawn to this beautiful countryside which I find inspirational and good for the soul. With the recent lockdown, I had found the Forest of Bowland a source of therapy and taking photos of wildlife a way to expressing my artistic side.'  While runner-up Paul Warrilow said: 'I really enjoy landscape photography and I am fortunate to be living in such a beautiful area as the Forest of Bowland. The varied landscapes in this area offer some wonderful opportunities to capture nature at her very best and having recently retired I have much more time on my hands to discover the area and take more images. I found out about the competition whilst browsing the Forest of Bowland website - I was looking for ideas as to where I might go to photograph some of its spectacular countryside - and a week or so later we had snowfall on the lovely Pendle Hill and so I went along at dawn to take the
image that was entered for the competition.'

Second prize - Paul Warrilow - Wintry Pendle

Natalie Barnes, General Manger at the Spread Eagle Inn, Sawley said: 'It is a pleasure to be supporting this competition, The Forest of Bowland is a beautiful area and I am looking forward to seeing the winning photographs'.

Amy and Gavin, Managers at Laythams Holiday Lets Retreats said: 'We're delighted to be able to support Bowland's photo competition, our cottages are located in the heart of the AONB in a beautiful, rural setting where we see the wonder and variety of the changing seasons.  The final ten images really capture Bowland at its best from hay making in the summer to Waders returning in the spring and snow-topped fells in the winter!'

The winners of the other prizes were as follows:

Hannah Binns – winner of a virtual cheese tasting voucher, donated by the Courtyard Dairy

Third prize - Naomi Barnes - 'I think we're being followed'

David Fish – winner of a Goosnargh Gin gift pack, donated by Goosnargh Gin

Duncan Singleton – winner of afternoon tea for two, donated by Stirk House Hotel

Dave Spellman – winner of a seasonal giftbox, donated by the Rewilding at Patty's Barn

Phillipe Hanford – winner of a £30 voucher for Gisburn Forest Hub, donated by Gisburn Forest Hub Café

Jane Ashall – winner of a Milking Parlour cheese, butter & biscuit hamper, donated by Cobden View Holiday Cottage, Sabden

Janice McCall – winner of a hand knitted scarf and hat, kindly donated by Lancashire Farm Wools.

Hannah Binns - 2 likley ladsDavid Fish - View over Mellor Knoll

Duncan Singleton - sunrise over Hodder Bank Fell

Dave Spellman - Autumn Landscape

Phillipe Hanford - Curlew with Pendle backdropJane Ashall - cutting silage on a summer's evening

Janice McCall - Stocks at Dusk

Bowland Through the Seasons Photograph Competition

21st October 2021

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


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 through every season!

There are some fantastic prizes on offer, donated by members of the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network:

The winners and shortlisted images will appear in the 2022 printed Bowland Discovery Guide and on AONB supported websites and social media.

The closing date for the competition is Monday 29th November 2021, for details of the prizes, terms and conditions and a map of the Forest of Bowland AONB visit the website:

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 6th December.  Please upload up to 3 images via the AONB website at:

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!

If you have any questions please email 

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 waxcapNOW FULLY BOOKED - reserve list available

Autumn 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 ForestNOW FULLY BOOKED - reserve list available

Autumn 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

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