Cloudspotting Music & Arts Festival 2017

4th April 2017

BIRDS. Bikes. CCloudspotting logohoirs. Carnivals. Drumming. Dancing workshops.  And that’s just for starters.

The full arts and music programme for the blooming Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival has been confirmed, apart from a few late surprises, and a rich programme of magical activities and adventures lies in wait for North West families.

Taking place between July 28th and 30th, Cloudspotting celebrates its 5th year at the fabulous location of the Gisburn Forest hub, situated deep in the Forest of Bowland AONB, 40 miles north of Manchester.

The festival was conceived in a Ribble Valley pub beer garden in 2011.  Since then, the reputation of the festival has blossomed for its adventurous music programme, family friendliness and magical intimate atmosphere.  Its location in the remote clearing of Lancashire’s largest forest is the most unspoiled natural habitat a festival audience could wish for. 

The live music programme looks strong, eclectic and on point, with a line-up brimming with artists who will be gracing much larger festival stages than Cloudspotting this year.

Cloudspotting FestivalThe Friday night features the spectacularly talented Moulettes and will be headlined by the cosmic grooves of Manchester’s cult outfit Henge, whose performance at last year’s festival so entranced its virgin audience that a repeat booking was demanded by attendees.

DJ Woody, a world DMC turntablist champion, headlines the Lawn Stage with an alternative live set before playing an AV ‘history of hip-hop’ set later in the night at the Cabin in the Woods.

And there lies a beauty of Cloudspotting.  The festival offers first consideration to its growing family audience camping in the main field but for the night owls, alternative late-night haunts can be sought out in the forest.

The midnight curfew on the main stage means that Cloudspotting has that rare quality of being able to hear the headliners while you curl up in your tent (or drink red wine outside it while minding the kids!).

Headlining Saturday night is Congolese poet, composer-lyricist, scriptwriter and performer Baloji for his only northern UK festival performance of the summer.  Baloji is an incredible live performer. His music stands at the crossroads of African music, incorporating traditional with soul, jazz and funk influences, discovered through sampling and electronic music which has its roots in the region of Belgium where he has spent much of his upbringing.   Other Saturday acts include Gulp, the side project of Guto Pryce of the Super Furry Animals, The Wave Pictures, Jeramiah Ferrari and the dub reggae vibes of Operation Sound System.

Cloudspotting Sundays are gloriously chilled days reflected by a more acoustic edge to the music programme. With that in mind, a gaggle of leading female artists on top of their game have been confirmed to star on Sunday – This is The Kit, Jesca Hoop, Holly Macve and Hannah Peel, will all be touring new material this summer. 

Sharing in the sets of some inspirational musicians is certainly par for the course at Cloudspotting.  But the strength of the festival is how the wider programme engages with the family, from early years, to teenagers, to adults.

The natural habitat of the Forest of Bowland is a source of great inspiration for the festival’s artistic themes.  This year, protection of the native birds of the forest will be celebrated, the endangered Hen Harrier has already had a strong presence in the festival’s promotional artwork, and a series of linked interactive activities produced in association with the RSPB will take place over the weekend.

FCloudspotting Festivalor festival goers who like to get stuck in, there is a raft of interactive arts on offer.  Performing arts workshops include the 6-hour ‘Play-in-a-day’ session, where participants will write, act and present a stage play on the Sunday; dance workshops, from clogging to Can Can; song-writing and drumming.  Creative Arts are also in abundance with long-time partners The Bureau, Blackburn leading a programme including forest arts, photography and science-based activities.

More passive attendees – especially those with young families – will be entertained by some award-winning outdoor theatre, courtesy of Fine Chisel, who will be performing ‘Flit, Flap and Fly’, and Madam Bridget’s Caravan of Curiosity  (world famous fortune teller and tea leaf reader!), which will be presented by association with the Northern Festivals Network.  Story-telling sessions, interactive music sessions, art installations, and walking trails (including ‘The Gruffalo’ trail) and circus school are just a portion of the programme that can be researched on the festival’s website (

In addition to all the arts and cultural activity, Gisburn Forest is also a UK hotspot for mountain biking.   Bike hire is available and other organised leisure pursuits include orienteering, a family sports day (Saturday), with the Lancashire Sports Partnership, and yoga.

Teenagers are well catered for too with a secret youth zone in the forest with activities such as DJ workshops, beat-boxing and graffiti arts.

Production Director Helen Ficorilli added: “As ever the Festival will be promoting quality across all artistic platforms with families particularly well catered for.  We are excited about a really wide ranging family arts and activity programmes connecting our audience with our beautiful forest location.” 


Cloudspotting camp opens from 12 noon on Friday, July 28th – 12 noon on Monday, July 31st.

For ticket information visit


The Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership will soon be sending out its first newsletter!

21st March 2017

The new Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership newsletters will be sent out on a quarterly basis and will aim to inform and keep you up to date on all the things that are going on in the programme. The first few newsletters, whilst we are still in the development stage, will provide more background information to the Landscape Partnership and inform of any events/activities in the near future.

If you would like to receive these newsletters please follow the link below and register your email address. The first newsletter will be sent out from 25th March. Please note that unless you confirm your subscription via the email you will receive after signing up you will not be added to the mailing list - so please remember to confirm via this email!

Any problems please let us know!

Festival Bowland 2017 is Just around the Corner

10th January 2017

This year's Festival Bowland programme is packed with everything from star gazing to bird watching and from guided walks to green woodworking.  You'll be able to find details of all the events via our online calendar or by downloading our latest Discover Bowland guide but to give you a head start, here are a few of the events coming soon….

Willow Bird Feeders

Saturday 18th February, 10.30am - 12noon or 1.00pm – 2.30pm


Bring out your creative side – and keep our feathered friends happy! – by making a decorative willow bird feeder with local craftswoman, SallyAnne Middleton. Instruction and materials provided. Suitable for adults and accompanied children 6 years and over.

£5 per feeder. Booking essential. For more information contact the AONB office on 01200 448000 or email

Fell Walking

Sunday 19th February, 10.00am – 2.30pm

Dunsop Bridge

A pleasant valley walk following the River Dunsop then rising over the fells before returning. Bring a packed lunch.

£4.50/£3.50, 4 ½ hours, terrain guide 5, 8 miles Booking essential. For more information contact the Visit Garstang Centre on 01995 602125 or email

Forest of Bowland Hedge Laying Competition

Saturday 4th March, 9.00am – 3.30pm

Laneside Farm, West Bradford

Chat to the experts taking part in the latest Bowland Hedge Laying Competition – part of the Lancashire and Westmorland Hedge Laying Association Grand Prix – and find out all you need to know about this traditional rural craft. Or why not book onto the free training available on the day and have a go yourself?

For more information contact the AONB office on 01200 448000 or to book a place on the training session email

Free, 6 ½ hours

Winter Hedge Laying Workshops

29th November 2016

Hedges are a key feature in the Forest of Bowland landscape. As well as acting as stock boundaries and providing shelter they also make great habitats – and larders - for wildlife.  Laying hedges to keep them healthy and stock-proof is a real skill so, if you'd like to have a go yourself, don't miss our latest training opportunities:

Thurs 2nd and Fri 3rd March           West Bradford

Saturday 4th March                        West Bradford (Bowland Hedge Laying Competition) with training session running alongside

Wed 8th and Thurs 9th March        Rimington

Each day will run from 9.30am until approximately 4pm and all tools and instruction will be provided.  You will need to wear old, outdoor clothes, strong footwear and tough gloves and bring a hot drink and packed lunch.

Places need to be booked in advance by contacting the AONB office on 01200 448000 or by emailing

Development and Funding Recruitment Opportunity

23rd November 2016

The Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership wishes to contract a consultant to provide temporary support services to backfill a 'Development and Funding' role within the AONB Unit, which is currently vacant due to a temporary secondment to the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership.

The AONB Unit is currently working on a number of key projects and activities requiring developmental support, including funding bids for priority habitat conservation and restoration project work, sustainable tourism projects and assisting Champion Bowland (a charitable company) with its grant-giving activities and to help it develop and grow.

If you have any queries regarding this work, please contact Elliott Lorimer at the AONB office on 01200 448000, mobile 07775 221208 or email

The deadline for the submission of the quote is 5pm on Friday 9th December 2017 to

Peat Restoration Contract Opportunity

23rd November 2016

Peat Restoration Opportunity

The Forest of Bowland AONB on behalf of the Lancashire Peat Partnership wishes to appoint a suitably experienced and qualified contractor to carry out the following peatland restoration works within a 77 ha project site on Brown Syke, Mallowdale: re-profiling peat hags and areas of eroding bare peat; timber dam construction; bare peat revegetation. Further information can be found here.

For further details please email or telephone the office on 01200 448000.

Closing date Thursday 1st December 5pm.

Office volunteer opportunity

20th October 2016

Office Volunteer Opportunity

The Forest of Bowland AONB team is looking for an office volunteer, one full day or two half-days per week, initially for a period of six months. Mainly helping with administrative duties, there may be the chance to get involved with other projects if you have skills or interests in these areas.

Our office is based in Dunsop Bridge and there is currently no public transport to the village so alternative transport would be needed.

For full details see the Office Volunteer role description here.

"Lots" to Bid for in Beautiful Bowland Seven days, seven fantastic prizes! Champion Bowland charity auction starts Monday 26th September

22nd September 2016

Charity Auction Launches On-line!

Tourism businesses in and around the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have donated some fantastic prizes to a charity auction raising money for environmental and tourism charity, Champion Bowland.

The auction with be launched on-line, via the Forest of Bowland AONB Facebook page, on Monday 26th September, with one new "lot" becoming available each week day between then and Tuesday 4th October.

Anyone wanting to bid should enter their price as a comment on the relevant Facebook post and on-line bidding will close at noon on Friday 7th October 2016.  The highest on-line bids will be announced on Monday 10th October.

The auction has gained the support of businesses from across the length and breadth of the AONB with James' Places, The Spread Eagle at Sawley and Mrs Dowson's contributing prizes, along with Dale House Bed and Breakfast near Slaidburn and Cobden View cottage in Sabden.  Artist, Peter Osborne, from Tatham has donated a landscape painting, whilst well-known plantsman, Peter Foley, is offering a tour of his and his wife's garden with afternoon tea included.

Champion Bowland is a small charity which awards funds to local projects benefiting the environment, communities and visitors and the auction is a fantastic way of encouraging people to support it – and come away with a brilliant prize.

The fundraising ceilidh at The Priory is open to all, with music provided by "Apples in Winter".  Tickets cost £10 including a hotpot supper and are available from the Forest of Bowland AONB office on 01200 448000 or by emailing There will also be a raffle with more great prizes donated by local businesses. A copy of the auction terms and conditions can be found here