Outstanding Week

10th August 2016

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.

We have lots going on here in the Forest of Bowland, so why not join us?

Catch the Wind!

Sunday 18th September, 11:00am – 1:00pm, Gisburn Forest Hub

Kite making and flying with Alan Poxon.

Booking essential.  Call 01200 448000 or email

£2.50 per child, accompanying adults free

Autumn Colour in the Grizedale Valley

Thursday 22nd September, 10.30am – 2.00pm, Scorton

An autumnal walk and Tramper trek down this beautiful valley.

Booking essential. Call 01995 602125 or email


Autumn Bat Walk

Friday 23rd September, 7.00pm – 9.00pm, Brungerley Park, Clitheroe

Wrap up warm and bring a torch for this evening bat walk with Phil Dykes.

For more information call 01200 448000 or email

£2.50 per adult, accompanied children come free

Seed Collecting!

Saturday 24th September, 10.00am – 12 noon, Slaidburn

A morning collecting seed from meadow species to sow or grow.

Booking essential. Call 01200 448000 or email


Discover the Stars

Saturday 24th September, 8.00pm – 10.00pm, Beacon Fell Country Park

Join amateur astronomer, Robert Ince, for a fascinating journey through the constellations.  Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and there'll be powerful telescopes to use too!

Booking essential.  Call 07511 403702 or book via Eventbrite at


Full details of all our Outstanding Week events are available at

For information about Outstanding events throughout the country, go to

The Forest of Bowland AONB exhibited in the Ribble Valley

9th June 2016

An exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 2014 will be on display in Clitheroe this month.

Clitheroe Castle Museum will host the exhibition from Saturday 28 May until Sunday 17th July.

The display includes a range of authentic equipment from the museum's own farming collection, as well as featuring items from the Bowland Scrapbook, a specially commissioned anniversary publication showing rural life in Bowland over the last 50 years.

Visitors can enjoy activities including a family-friendly wildlife spotter game and the chance to have a go at building an imitation dry stone wall.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "The Forest of Bowland AONB is an area that we are very proud of in Lancashire.
"I'm delighted that this exhibition will celebrate its natural beauty and also encourage people who have already visited to explore the area again, or anyone who hasn't so far to visit it for the first time.
"I'm sure that families will enjoy taking part in the superb activities."

The Bowland Scrapbook will be available to purchase with money raised from this being donated to Champion Bowland, a social enterprise charity that supports environmental and tourism projects within the AONB.

The exhibition has been produced by The Forest of Bowland and museum's Team.

The exhibition is free to visit but admission to the Castle Museum is £4.20 for adults and £3.10 for concessions. Young people aged 13 to 18 and accompanied children up to the age of 12 go free.

More information about the Forest of Bowland AONB and the exhibition is available from Sandra Silk on 01200 448000 or email

For more information about Clitheroe Castle phone 01200 424568 or email

Alternatively, visit

Clitheroe Castle Museum is managed by Lancashire County Council's museum service, on behalf of Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Bowland Gets the Buzz!

12th April 2016

We had a great time making bee headbands and butterfly collages at our Heard the Buzz event recently!  Bees and other insects are vital for pollinating our beautiful plants and flowers so it's really important that their habitats flourish.

Our Hay Time and Networks for Nectar projects, in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, have been working to do exactly that by improving the diversity of Bowland's meadows and encouraging local groups to plant pollinator patches.

The families who came along to our craft workshop made some fantastic stripy bee headbands and beautiful butterfly pictures – a brilliant way to anticipate warmer days ahead when the air is full of fluttering wings and the sound of humming.

'Heard the Buzz?' event was part of the Festival Bowland programme - for other events coming up be sure to have a look at

Festival Bowland Easter Highlights

17th March 2016

Festival Bowland Easter events get a great start thanks to the Beacon Fell Easter Trail on Saturday 26th March with the fun kicking off at 11.00am.

Join the rangers for an early morning Brown Hare Walk around Bleasdale on Sunday 3rd April or perhaps one of Wyre's regular Garstang Monday Walks the following day.  And if you're over in Wyre, why not make the most of Cobble Hey Farm and Gardens café after the Cobble Hey Legstretcher on Friday 8th?

There are two events to choose from on Saturday 9th April, with RSPB's Moorland Safari Walk from Slaidburn looking for some of the area's special bird life, and the family friendly Heard the Buzz? at Downham Village Hall which has crafty activities on a bee and butterfly theme!

The Abbeystead landscape will provide inspiration on Thursday 14th April when an experienced tutor will take us From Fleece to Felt and help you produce a beautiful piece to take home. (Limited places for this event so early booking recommended.)

And finally, for a good leg stretch, why not join us on Saturday 23rd April when we'll be Climbing Pendle Hill.  The first of three opportunities this year to find out more about the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership project which is currently at the development stage.  Fingers crossed for good weather when we'll get some great views!

For more details of all these events, including booking information where needed, take a look at the Festival Bowland 2016 programme at

2016 Set to be a Year of Discovery in Bowland

19th January 2016

Dark Sky Discovery Sites; family-friendly activities; local producers and over 80 Festival Bowland events are just a few of the things featured in 2016's Discover Bowland brochure.

Local businesses, tourism staff, event organisers and councillors were all invited to celebrate the release of the brand new guide, which was launched today at the Shireburn Arms, Hurst Green – one of several venues owned by Bowland Experience member, James' Places.

The publication aims to showcase the landscape, wildlife, people and places of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

The AONB is a fantastic spot for walking and offers many opportunities for wildlife-spotting.  It's also home to an enviable range of cafes, pubs and restaurants, many of which champion local food and drink.

The guide has been written with both residents and visitors in mind, providing "cut out and keep" walk pages, ideas for family activities, Festival Bowland events, spots for star gazing and seasonal wildlife highlights.

A special "Produce with Personality" feature delves behind the scenes of four Bowland businesses. From ice-cream made in what was an eighteenth century toll house, to a successful business which started out making sausages at the kitchen table, there are some fascinating stories behind this local produce.

Keen photographers have the chance to get one of their pictures chosen for the 2017 Bowland calendar, whilst youngsters can have fun coming up with ideas for a new ice-cream flavour, or working out the subjects in the Bowland Picture Puzzle Competition.

Hetty Byrne, Sustainable Tourism Officer with the AONB said, "The Forest of Bowland is such a beautiful place and relatively undiscovered.   So many people work hard to look after the area and, through sustainable tourism, we want to support local communities whilst safeguarding Bowland's landscape, wildlife and tranquillity."

The free guide is available from Visitor Information Centres in and around the AONB and also from a range of local venues, businesses and accommodation providers.  An on-line version is available on the Forest of Bowland AONB website at along with a full calendar of Festival Bowland events.

Lancashire Countryside Service Changes

18th January 2016

On 26 November 2015 Lancashire County Council approved a series of budget proposals to help deliver savings of £262m over the next five years.

The County Council is now consulting with the public on some of the budget proposals and any actions that may be taken to mitigate the impact of these.

In the case of the Countryside Service, where the decision has already been taken to stop services in March 2018, the consultation will run until 27th March 2016. This consultation will gather views about the impact of the service stopping, and where appropriate, the best approach to implementing the transition.

Have your say on the proposals via the consultation below:

You can also sign an e-petition on the County Council's website – available until the 29th January:

There is a separate petition for Wycoller Country Park on the Pendle Heritage website at this link:

Historic Hodder Valley On-Line!

9th December 2015

From maps and memorabilia to photographs (thousands of them!) and family collections, Slaidburn Archive has been busily safeguarding the history of the Hodder valley for over 10 years.

During that time, it has become a valuable, and valued, resource both for local residents and for visitors from further afield - and the newly launched website will help to spread the word even wider!

The project was set up by Jenny Bradley (now retired), initially as the archive for the annual Hodder Valley Agricultural Show.  Over the years the information and collections have expanded to include census returns, translations of Manor Court Rolls, architectural histories, information on World War I and II service men, newsprint, church and chapel registers and much more.

The Archive benefits from the knowledge and commitment of Helen Wallbank - part-time Administrator - and two regular volunteers.  Alongside this core team, the project relies much on the support of generous individuals who donate their time and expertise free of charge.

Publications on subjects as diverse as sheep washes and lime kilns, the Hawswater aqueduct camp and Stocks in Bowland delve deeper into aspects of the area's history and are available by post.

Visitors are welcome to call into the Archive to carry out their own research and to ask advice from staff and volunteers on where best to find the information they need. Donations for using the service are invited and appreciated.

For anyone who has documents, manuscripts or similar, relating to the upper Hodder valley, the Archive would be pleased to consider donations, either for safe keeping or copying.

Located on Church Street in Slaidburn, doors are generally open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 11am and 3pm – although it's always best to phone beforehand to double-check.  The Archive can be reached on 01200 446161 or by emailing and the new website can be found at

Slaidburn Archive was a deserving winner of our 50th Anniversary Vibrant Community Award in 2014 and this latest digital development shows that those involved in looking after the Hodder valley's past, have their eyes set firmly on the future.

Bowland's Dark Skies Recognised Nationally

11th November 2015

Imagine yourself on a frosty, winter evening wrapped in an inky darkness and sprinkled in starlight, in awe of the view as the cosmos magically reveals itself in the wondrous dark skies of Bowland….

There's no better time to explore Bowland's dark skies thanks to a national initiative that has recently given Dark Sky Discovery Site status for four sites in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Dark Sky Discovery Sites are recognised by the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership, managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, as places within the UK that are both dark and easily accessible, but where it is possible to observe the spectacle of the Milky Way or the constellations, such as Orion, with the naked eye.

Hetty Byrne, Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Officer said: 'We're delighted to join the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership's growing network of sites which highlight the best spots to see the night skies in the UK.  The AONB, as part of its sustainable tourism developments, put forward four sites for approval by the Dark Sky Discovery programme - Beacon Fell Country Park, Crook O'Lune Picnic Site, Gisburn Forest Hub and Slaidburn Village Car Park.  They are accessible sites, with good sightlines and relatively low light pollution, giving people the best possible conditions to just turn up and see the stars on a clear night.'

The AONB has been working with local physicist and amateur astronomer Robert Ince, who has assessed the night skies, how they are affected by light pollution and identified the best and darkest places to star gaze.  The process also involved consultation with land owners and local authorities to gain their support for the project.

During 2016 Robert is working with the AONB and will be offering a series of star gazing events and workshops through the Festival Bowland programme.  Robert explains: 'I love showing people the night skies, in the Forest of Bowland you can literally see thousands of stars; It has a real wow factor!  Everyone can enjoy stargazing with a pair of binoculars and some basic information on how to get started, including star maps. During 2016 we'll be running a series of events at Discovery site locations – during the spring when glittering star clusters and magnificent constellations like Orion grace the sky, and in the autumn when the Milky Way is overhead and meteor showers like the Perseids can put on an amazing show'. 

Get in touch if you would like to be added to our mailing list for star gazing events or keep an eye on updates on our website at: