Statement on Persecution of Birds of Prey

7th November 2017

The Forest of Bowland AONB is an important area for the birds of prey that we associate with the English uplands, such as hen harrier, peregrine, merlin and short-eared owls.  However, the RSPB Birdcrime Report 2016 published last week highlights how some of these iconic species continue to be the subject of illegal acts of persecution throughout much of England and particularly the northern uplands. 

The Chair of the Forest of Bowland AONB Joint Advisory Committee, County Councillor Albert Atkinson stated:

"It is particularly concerning to the Committee that these acts of illegal persecution continue; badly affecting the populations of birds of prey that are synonymous with the Forest of Bowland. These acts undoubtedly have an impact on the reputation of Bowland as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'.   The Committee unreservedly condemns all illegal persecution of birds of prey.  The AONB will continue to work closely with landowners, the police, RSPB and Natural England to help protect and conserve birds of prey across the area."

If you wish to report any crimes against wild birds, we would suggest contacting the police by calling 101.

Farmer's Slow the Flow Workshop – 19th October

26th September 2017

As part of a series of events marking the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Wray floods, farmers are being invited to a workshop about natural flood management next month.

Natural flood management, sometimes known as "Slow the Flow", looks at ways of working with natural processes to store water in the landscape in order to try and slow its movement downstream.

The free workshop will take place at Hornby Institute on the morning of Thursday 19th October and will involve a series of short presentations followed by a visit to a local farm to see demonstration projects on the ground. 

Slow the flow methods are currently being trialled in projects around the country in an attempt to try and help reduce the damaging impacts of flooding on local communities and those further along the catchment. Techniques range from peatland restoration and woodland planting to swales and leaky dams.

Farmers and landowners in the Roeburndale, Hindburndale and Littledale areas, along with those around Keasden and the Upper Wenning, are being invited to attend the workshop, which will also include lunch.

Anyone interested in finding out more, or booking a place on the session, is asked to contact Sandra Silk at the Forest of Bowland AONB office by telephoning 01200 448000 or by emailing

Lord of Bowland 7th Annual Lecture - October 3rd

26th September 2017

The Parkers of Browsholme are descended from Peter de Alcancotes, who held the Manor of Alkincoats in Colne in the mid-13th century, and became park - keepers of Radholme Laund, one of the two great deer parks in the Forest of Bowland.  Over the next 630 years, the family has had a great influence on the history of Bowland and the Hodder Valley. Robert Parker was created Bowbearer of Bowland in 2010 and is the eighth member of his family to bear a title that stretches back to 1157.  Robert will share with us his personal perspective on six centuries of family and forest history.

The event starts at 7.30pm (pay bar from 7.00pm) at the Tithe Barn, Browsholme.  Places are free but need to be booked in advance by contacting Sandra Silk at the Forest of Bowland AONB office on 01200 448000 or by emailing

All donations from the evening will go to Slaidburn Archive to support its important work in recording the history of the Forest and its communities and to Champion Bowland which supports projects benefiting the environment, local communities and visitors.

The Forest of Bowland AONB is grateful to the Parker family for hosting this event at Browsholme Hall.

Web banner image courtesy of Robert Parker.

Outstanding Week 2017

5th September 2017

Outstanding Week is the AONB Family’s week-long programme of events to help people enjoy and be inspired by the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). This year it takes place from Saturday 16th – Sunday 24th September.

AONBs are some of the most beautiful, cherished and outstanding landscapes in Britain. They are vibrant landscapes which offer a wealth of opportunities for everyone to enjoy them.

Outstanding Week is an opportunity for you to get involved and get out into our outstanding landscapes to enjoy country shows, dark sky discovery nights, walking festivals, archaeology walks, wood fairs, foraging and local food festivals, wildlife walks, coastal and marine days, thatching courses, drystone walling competitions, charcoal making, bioblitz, inspiration through art and many, many  other activities.


Join us throughout the country to discover why September is such an Outstanding month!

See @naaonb @AONBFamily #OutstandingWeek for details.

Celebrate Outstanding Week in Bowland:

  • Autumn's Palette

Sat, 16 September, 11:00 – 12:30, Tosside

Autumn is on the way so bring some of Bowland’s fantastic colours inside with these lovely tissue paper window hangings. Red, yellow, green, orange – the choice is yours! A family-friendly activity where adults come free!

Booking essential. For further information contact the AONB office on 01200 448000 or email​ £2.50, 1 ½ hours, family-friendly

  • Equinox Stargazing

Sat, 23 September, 19:30 – 21:30, Gisburn Forest Hub

Come and experience an unforgettable night under the stars in the Forest of Bowland! This weekend is the autumn Equinox, giving equal night and day so there should be great opportunity to travel through the constellations and along the Milky Way. Following an indoor presentation there will be powerful telescopes for you to gaze through, all operated by experienced amateur astronomers, who will attempt to answer your questions on life, the universe and everything! Suitable for adults and accompanied children 12 years and over.


Please keep an eye on Robert Ince's eventbrite page - due to the popularity we plan to run another event in the autumn!

For further information visit www.eventbrite.​​ince-7214874047

For full details visit

Festival Bowland Fun in Autumn

22nd August 2017

Enjoy a guided walk from Garstang on 4th September with one of Wyre Council's regular Monday Walks (there's another one in early October!).

Take inspiration from Gisburn Forest and paint your very own Bowland in Miniature picture on a tiny glass tile with local artist, Karen Redmayne on Sunday 10th. 

 Head to Garstang again for an evening bat walk on Friday 15th then make a 180 degree turn to enjoy a family-friendly Autumn's Palette craft session at Tosside Community Hall on Saturday 16th.  Round September off with some Equinox stargazing back at Gisburn Forest on Saturday 23rd when we'll be keeping our fingers crossed for clear skies!

Browsholme Hall's characterful Tithe Barn is once again the venue for the annual Lord of Bowland Lecture on Tuesday 3rd October and this year, we'll be finding out all about the Parker family, Bowbearers of Bowland.  Enjoy a spooky Halloween Activity Day at Beacon Fell Country Park on Saturday 28th and experience Grizedale valley's autumnal tints on a walk from Scorton on Sunday 29th October.

Search for Bowland meteors in the skies above Gisburn Forest on Friday 17th November and bring 2017 Festival Bowland to a close with Wyre Council's Barnacre Legstretcher on Friday 24th November.

For a full Festival Bowland programme and details of how to book go to

Summer in Bowland

26th June 2017

Image by Veronica CaperonBell Sykes Farm in Slaidburn is celebrating National Meadows Day on July 1st - a day packed with things to see and enjoy.  And why not continue the flowery theme with a visit to Clearbeck in Tatham to explore the lovely National Gardens Scheme open garden on Sunday 2nd?

Set off on a guided walk from Garstang on Monday 3rd or venture (slightly) further north for a Legstretcher around Wyre Lakes on the evening of Friday 7th.

Take the family along to Beacon Fell Country Park on Sunday 9th July for a fun Summer Activity Day or, for keen hikers, there's a Summer Fells walk to Clougha Pike on Sunday 30th.

Back to Beacon Fell on Wednesday 2nd August for the very popular Gruffalo Walk, but beware, this one can book up quickly!  If you missed the Garstang Monday Walk in July then there's another chance to explore this part of the AONB on August 7th.

Make a weekend of it on the 12th & 13th August and fashion your very own rustic stick chair at Cobble Hey Farm & Gardens, or pop over to Pendleside for a storytelling walk on Friday 18th.

Join the North West Fungus Group for a fungal foray in Gisburn Forest on Saturday 19th and then round off the month with a Ribble Valley Ramble followed by a meal at the Spread Eagle, Sawley, on August Bank Holiday Monday.

Click here to view a full list of event and booking details

Stop press!  We've organised a special, additional event to link with the summer Sunday Bowland Explorer bus service on13th August:

Image by Dave OystonStocks Circular Walk, School Lane Car Park (Gisburn Forest & Stocks) 11:00am – approx 4:00pm

Join us on a walk around Lancashire's largest reservoir. Guided by David Oyston, United Utilities Catchment Controller, we'll explore the history, wildlife and landscape of this fascinating and beautiful area.  Constructed during the early part of the nineteenth century, the reservoir was built on the site of the village of Stocks in Bowland, in Dalehead, and there are still clues to remind us of this once busy farming community.

(Please book ahead for the walk by calling the AONB office on 01200 448000 or by emailing  Seats on the Bowland Explorer are on a first come, first served basis.)

Flowery Fun for all the Family

20th June 2017

It's National Meadow Day on Saturday 1st July, and we are celebrating with an Open Day at Bell Sykes Farm in Slaidburn.

There'll be lots to see and enjoy at Bell Sykes Farm as we celebrate all things meadow-y!

Join a morning guided walk to learn more about wildflowers and their traditional uses; watch craft demonstrations including wood and stone carving, spinning and traditional mowing; catch some bugs in a family-friendly bug hunt during the afternoon, or just sit and enjoy the meadows with a brew and a slice of cake.

The meadows at Bell Sykes are amongst the best examples in the whole of Lancashire and seed from them has been used to restore the wildflowers to 26 meadows across the AONB since 2012.

Guided walk places cost £3 and will need to be booked in advance by contacting Tel: 01200 448000

Lancashire Landscape Improved by Electricity North West

5th June 2017

The Lancashire landscape between Cow Ark and Newton in the Forest of Bowland AONB will be enhanced with the removal of decades-old overhead power lines and electricity poles.

Electricity North West, the region’s power network operator, is investing almost £300,000 in undergrounding 2.6km of overhead power lines and 35 poles between Crimpton and Ing Barn which were originally installed in 1958.

The scheme is part of Electricity North West’s commitment to invest £9m in undergrounding sections of the power network in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks across the North West.

David Kenneford, programme delivery manager for Electricity North West, said: “We’re champions of the North West and proud that it’s our network that connects communities and keeps the lights on across the beautiful North West region.

“We are committed to doing the right thing and we put the community in which we operate at the heart of everything we do. 

“That’s why we’re delighted to be working closely with Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to replace the power lines with underground cables to improve the views for local residents and the thousands of people that visit the area every year.”

Engineers have started to install the underground cables and the overhead power lines will be removed before Autumn.

Elliott Lorimer, principal officer for the Forest of Bowland AONB, said: “We're delighted that that this scheme is now in progress with Electricity North West.  Both the local landscape and the wider views out to the Bowland Fells and Yorkshire's Three Peaks will be significantly enhanced by this work.”

To view more photographs from the area visit Electricity North West's Facebook or Instagram pages, and to read more about the work Electricity North West does across the North West visit the news page here.

June is Blooming with Festival Bowland

25th May 2017

Enjoy an evening ramble from Scorton with Wyre Council's Legstretcher walk on Friday 2nd then pack some sandwiches and join them for their regular Monday walk around Garstang on the 5th.

Bring your torch on Wednesday 7th and go bats about Bowland in Slaidburn when we'll find out all about bats' roosting behaviour and then take a walk to see these fascinating creatures emerge from their roosts as night falls. 

If you love the countryside but can't walk as far as you used to then the Dunsop valley Tramper trek the following day might be just the thing.  Trampers can be booked in advance but limited numbers are available so you'll need to be quick.

Head for the hills on Saturday 10th when the RSPB will lead a moorland walk from Slaidburn looking for some of Bowland's special upland birds including ring ouzel, merlin and, if you're very lucky, England's rarest bird of prey, the hen harrier.

Spend a very special hour in Gisburn Forest on Sunday 11th June with storyteller, Sue Allonby.  Wander through the woodland then gather for fantastic tales which will be sure to delight! A great event for families with children of four years and over.  

For budding craft-folk, Sunday 11th also offers the chance to make your very own rustic log stool using a shave horse, over at Cobble Hey Farm near Garstang.

The evening of Thursday 15th June sees the world premiere of a choral work specially commissioned by William, 16th Lord of Bowland, and set to music by Lakeland composer, Christopher Gibbs. The four part song cycle will be performed by the Renaissance Singers of Blackburn cathedral at Slaidburn village hall and will feature acclaimed musician, John Kenny, playing the carnyx – an ancient Celtic war horn. 

To round of a packed month, Clearbeck garden near Bentham will once again be opening its doors in aid of charity as part of the National Gardens Scheme on Sunday 25th June. Sculpture, follies and a two acre lake all feature in this lovely corner of the AONB.

Places on most events (although not all) need to be booked in advance.

Click here to view a full list of event details

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