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Forest of Bowland AONB

Welcome to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and to a unique and captivating part of the countryside. Expanses of sky above dramatic sweeps of open moorland, gentle and tidy lowlands, criss-crossed with dry stone walls and dotted with picturesque farms and villages, all waiting to be explored!

There is no better way of escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and partaking in some of the most peaceful and remote walking, riding and cycling in the country. Explore some of the many unique villages steeped in history. While away your time observing some of the rare and enigmatic birds and wildlife, or simply indulge in sampling some of the very best local produce the area has to offer.

The Forest of Bowland AONB covers 312 square miles of rural Lancashire and adjacent Yorkshire. From Hurst Green in the south to Wennington in the North, the Forest of Bowland is dotted with charming stone villages, some of which date as far back as pre-historic times. People have been living in the parish of Barley for around 3,000 years. Now this pretty, stone village is the perfect place from which to climb imposing Pendle Hill. When you reach the 577-metre summit you’re rewarded with spectacular views of the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland. Other notable villages, include Downham, which has barely been touched since the 16th century. You might recognise it from the blockbuster Whistle Down the Wind, or more recently from the BBC drama Born and Bred. Another village that has remained delightfully traditional is Slaidburn on the banks of the River Hodder. Pop into its Heritage Centre to see the ornate 10th century Angel Stone carving and then visit the 15th century Church of St Andrew.

If you like the idea of exploring the Forest of Bowland in the company of knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides, then our Festival Bowland programme offers the perfect opportunity to find out more about the birds, wildlife, landscape and culture of the area. From strenuous hikes over the fells to gentle valley rambles and from fun children's activities to practical skills workshops.

To make the most of your visit, why not stay a while? Bowland has a range of quality accommodation to suit all tastes. Make Bowland your discovery! 

For further information visit

Explore Forest of Bowland

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