The Forest of Bowland offers some of the most beautiful and remote walking in the country, from the grandeur and isolation of the moorland hills to the undulating lowlands with their distinctive pattern of settlements, woodland cloughs and river valleys. These landscape contrasts, along with the serenity and tranquility of the area make this a walker’s paradise.
As well as the fell tops and moors, there are extensive opportunities for shorter and less challenging routes in the valleys, most especially riverside walks which abound in the area.
We hope that these walking routes will give you the opportunity to explore and enjoy this beautiful area but please be aware that this is a living landscape and changes may well occur along the routes themselves over time.
Should you encounter any problems with one of the promoted download routes please contact the AONB unit on 01200 448000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also be aware that many of the walks covered by these download routes pass through farmland where there is likely to be livestock. See our "Walking Safely" page for advice given on the National Farmers Union website.
We actively encourage the use of public transport in the Forest of Bowland AONB, for more detailed information visit our Travel Information page.
Other walking routes
It is strongly advised that you refer to the page on walking safely before undertaking a walk. This page highlights safety information and the Countryside Code and also provides further information about sustainable tourism and how you can make your contribution towards keeping the Forest of Bowland special! The following are other walks and routes in the Forest of Bowland AONB:
The Ribble Way follows the river from the sea near Preston to its source high in the fells of the Yorkshire Dales; 70 miles of delectable walking through an ever varied landscape. For convenience it is divided into seven easy sections with comprehensive descriptions of places passed en route such as Preston, Ribchester, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Settle and Horton. For those who do not wish to tackle the whole route, each section makes an easy day’s walk.
The Pendle Way is a 45 mile circular walk in 8 sections passing through villages like Barnoldswick, Earby and Newchurch-in-Pendle. There are also 6 smaller circular walks along the route. Information about the Pendle Way is contained in a special information pack available from Nelson Tourist Information Centre. Telephone 01282 692890.
The Lune Millennium Park
A multi-user route roughly following the River Lune from Glasson near Cockerham to Lancaster and on to Bull Beck near Caton. The section between Lancaster and the Bull Beck Picnic Site follows the banks of the River Lune and is suitable for disabled users. It follows the route of the former Lancaster to Wennington railway and is approximately six miles in length. Car parking facilities are available at Lancaster, Ladies Walk, Denny Beck, Crook O'Lune, Bull Beck, Conder Green and Glasson Dock. A leaflet on the cycle way is available from Tourist Information Centres.
Lancaster Tel: 01524 32878
Morecambe Tel: 01524 582808.
Gisburn is the largest forest in Lancashire and is managed by Forest Enterprise. Within the forest there is a network of waymarked forest walks. These are based on existing forest roads and offer a variety of routes with a cycle network of 16km length. Contact Forest Enterprise for further details on 01229 860010 or visit www.forestry.gov.uk/gisburn
Beacon Fell Country Park Trails
The Fellside Trail is a circular route on Beacon Fell provided for mountain bikes. The route takes approximately one hour to complete. Horse riding is permitted by prior arrangement with the Ranger Service. Please remember to give way to walkers and wildlife and to wear a cycling helmet at all times. For further information on horse riding permits please contact the ranger service on 01995 61693. Further information
Other Rural Rambles
Listed below are a series of pdfs that provide detailed information on other walks in the Forest of BowlandAONB.
- The Bleasdale Circle Walk Leaflet (PDF, 917kb)
- Lune Valley Walk Leaflet (PDF, 518kb)
- Lune Valley Rambles Leaflet (PDF, 549kb)
- Tolkien Trail Leaflet (PDF, 381kb)
Five Walks Around Longridge
This attractively illustrated pack details 5 walks in the area to the east of Longridge. It includes circular walks on Longridge Fell and between Longridge and Ribchester "in the footsteps of the Romans", together with a linear walk over Longridge Fell to Chipping. Copies of the packs are available for £3 from Clitheroe and Preston Tourist Information Centres, Longridge Library and Longridge Post Office.
Organised walks (brisk or not) can have a health impact on individuals by providing an opportunity to socialise (good social networks enhance health) and a distraction from everyday stresses (stress contributes to poor health).
Walking for Health has more than 590 health walk groups across England. Supported by Natural England the groups meet for regular short walks every week. Anyone can turn up and join in - it's free and fun.
There are several organised groups in or close to the Forest of Bowland AONB, for more information follow the indiviudal links:
- Morecambe and Lancaster: Active Health Walking Scheme
- North Craven Strollers
- Pendle Leisure Trust: Let's Walk
- Ribble Valley: Stepping Out in the Ribble Valley
- Wyre: Walkin' Wyre
Walk4Life is part of the Change4Life movement that has been set up to encourage families and adults to eat well, move more and live longer, by making small lifestyle changes that add up to big health benefits.
Walk4Life is supported by Walk England and is all about helping people move and walking is a great way to start. For details of walks visit the Walk4Life website