Lapwing © David Patrick


8th January 2024

Image by Stephen AdairThe Forest of Bowland National Landscape (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with a brand-new photography exhibition alongside its annual Dark Skies Festival.

Covering 800 square kilometres (300 sq miles) of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire, Bowland's distinctive landscape of high open fells, rich green lowlands and steep, wooded cloughs was recognised as being amongst the finest in the country and given its official status on 10th February 1964.

These qualities are encapsulated in Diamonds in the Landscape; a special exhibition of 30 images, all of which were chosen from entries submitted to the Forest of Bowland photography competition during autumn 2023.

From far-reaching moorland vistas and stunning wildlife shots to majestic woodlands and atmospheric pastoral scenes, the talented photographers have perfectly captured the variety and beauty of the Bowland landscape.

The exhibition will open at Clitheroe Castle Museum on the 10th of February and run until the 28th of April before moving to The Folly in Settle.

Clitheroe Castle Museum Manager, Claire Sutton, said:

Gisburn Forest by Robert Ince

From our vantage point above the town, we have fantastic views into the Forest of Bowland, both north and south. This is a place where you can feel connected to the countryside right on the doorstep, so we're very pleased to host the National Landscape's 60th anniversary exhibition in our Steward's Gallery this spring.

Hetty Byrne, Sustainable Tourism Officer with the Forest of Bowland National Landscape said:

This is a milestone year for us, and Clitheroe is a key gateway into the Forest of Bowland, so we're very excited to begin our new exhibition tour at the castle museum.  We hope the wonderful photos shared by competition entrants will inspire both residents and visitors to create some of their very own "diamond" Bowland moments over the coming year.

Saturday 10th February also sees the start of the annual Bowland Dark Skies Festival. With stargazing, photography tips, family crafts and a dark-skies inspired food tour on the menu this year, this week-long programme offers a touch of late winter sparkle and half-term fun. Events will be taking place both online and at venues across the National Landscape.

Opening times for Clitheroe Castle Museum are available at:, by calling 01200 424568 or by emailing

Booking information and full details of Bowland Dark Skies Festival are available on the Forest of Bowland National Landscape website at:

Bowland Dark Skies Festival 2024

21st December 2023

Join us from 10th to 17th February for our annual Bowland Dark Skies Festival.

Barley Picnic Site by Robert InceStargazing, photography tips, family crafts – even a dark-skies inspired food tour – are all on the menu this year.

You can find a round-up of the fun below, with full details - including booking information - on the Festival Bowland calendar at:

Saturday 10th February

  • Superfoods Under Dark Skies; 11am – 6pm; Dolphinholme (Final few places remaining.)

Sunday 11th February

  • How Big is Space?; 7pm – 8pm; Online

Monday 12th FebruaryStocks Reservoir by Matthew Savage

  • Observatory Open Evening; 7.30pm – 9.30pm; Preston (Please note: date may change. Fully booked but reserve list now available.)

Tuesday 13th February

  • Children's Watercolour Workshops; 11am – 12noon or 1pm – 2pm; Scorton
  • Stargazing Evening; 7.30pm – 9pm; Bentham (Fully booked.)

Wednesday 14th February

  • Smarthphone Night Sky Photography; 7pm – 8pm; Online

Thursday 15th February

  • The Moon and Your Shadow; 7pm – 8pm; Newton-in-Bowland

Friday 16th February

  • Stargazing Evening; 7.30 – 9.30pm; Downham (Fully booked.)

Saturday 17th February

  • Campfire and Lanterns; 3.30pm – 6pm; Dunsop Bridge (Fully booked.)
  • Dark Skies Family Drop-in; 2pm – 4pm; Bentham

Outstanding Entries for Bowland's Annual Photo Competition

8th December 2023

Originally designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1964, the Forest of Bowland National Landscape celebrates 60 years next year, and as part of this celebration, the team encouraged residents and visitors during October and November to share their very own "diamond" memories in photo form.

Image by Stephen AdairFrom far-reaching moorland vistas and stunning wildlife shots to majestic woodlands and atmospheric pastoral scenes, the talented photographers have perfectly captured the variety and beauty of the Bowland landscape.

A special thank you to our photo competition judge - Mark Harder from Following the judging, Mark said: 'It was very difficult to choose as they were all so good. I deliberated much, but I had in my head “What’s quintessential Forest of Bowland?” And I was drawn to the quality of the landscapes. As I drive around and explore Bowland often, I’ve recognised some of the locations and can relate to the images, they have truly captured what I consider to be the Forest of Bowland.  The quality of the shortlist was superb!'.

Local businesses have been generous in prize donations for the final six competition winners. These include:

  • 1st Prize was won by Stephen Adair with 'One of the Best Views in the Forest of Bowland' winning a 2-night stay at Laythams Hayloft kindly donated by Laythams Holiday Lets Retreat
  • 2nd Prize was won by Ryan Pentall with 'Rural Resilience' winning a 9 Course tasting menu in a 3 AA rosette restaurant for two people with a house bottle of wine kindly donated by The Traddock, Austwick
  • 3rd Prize was won by Andrew Cowell with 'Pendle Hill from Twiston Moor in the snow' winning a £50 voucher kindly donated by the Parkers Arms, Newton in Bowland
  • Photo by Ryan Pentall4th Prize was won by  Bradley Hamer with 'Golden Light Badger' winning a family day pass kindly donated by Bowland Wild Boar Park
  • 5th Prize was won by Sue Lowe with 'Autumn Magic, Grizedale Valley' winning a Bowland local produce hamper
  • 6th Prize was won by John Eveson with 'Walkers at the River Hodder at Whitewell' winning  A 'Thoughts from a Tree' t-shirt kindly donated by Bowland Fitness

The 25 shortlisted images will feature in print in the new, official Discover Bowland 2024 guide and to mark the anniversary of this very special area, Clitheroe Castle Museum will host the launch of a brand-new photography exhibition, featuring around 30 of the photographs.  The exhibition will launch on 9th February at Clitheroe Castle and will then go on to tour selected venues across Bowland during 2024.
Photo by Andrew CowellPhoto by Bradley HamerPhoto by Sue LowePhoto by John Eveson

National Grid's Landscape Enhancement Initiative

6th December 2023

Thanks to a grant from National Grid's Landscape Enhancement Initiative, the Forest of Bowland National Landscape Partnership is working with landowners and farmers to filter views of the high voltage electricity pylons along the north-western boundary of the AONB in the Quernmore and Ellel areas.

Tree cage imageProjects include small-scale woodland planting,  "tree cages" and the repair of traditional dry stone walls.

Forest of Bowland AONB Project Officer, Sandra Silk, said, "Woodland planting areas don't have to be large. In fact, we're looking for small-scale sites, such as field corners, cloughs and small copses, which will suit the landscape and existing field patterns. "

And if you don't have room to plant a multiple trees, why not consider several tree cages instead? These are small groups of four or five trees protected by timber fencing, which offer an effective way of introducing height into the landscape.

Funding can also contribute to the repair of dry stone walls; a traditional form of field boundary in Bowland, particularly in the more upland areas.

The programme is being supported by UK conservation charity, the Woodland Trust, who, along with the tree cages, are providing fully funded woodland saplings and plant protection. 

Ellel woodland planting

As well as offering tree stock and protection, the funding can also support the cost of planting and stock proof fencing.

All projects need to meet certain criteria and must be completed before the end of March 2025

A farmer in Ellel, who carried out woodland and hedge planting as part of the initiative, said, “The scheme has proved to be a great success for us. This is our second round of work and we are really happy with the entire process."

The area covered by the funding stretches from the Crook o' Lune, via Quernmore, to the area north of Ortner and Ellel Crag quarry.

Anyone interested in finding out more can contact Sandra by emailing or by calling her on 07973 923142.

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Renamed National Landscapes

22nd November 2023

New name and brand underpin ambitious targets for nature

Today, [Wednesday 22 November] all designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales are becoming National Landscapes, including the Forest of Bowland National Landscape.

Meadow Inspiration Walk

The new name reflects their national importance; the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating greater understanding and awareness for the work that they do.

This is a significant milestone for the UK and the next step in fully realising the National Landscapes’ vision to be the leading exemplars of how thriving, diverse communities can work with and for nature in the UK: restoring ecosystems, providing food, storing carbon to mitigate the effects of climate change, safeguarding against drought and flooding, whilst also nurturing people’s health and wellbeing.

National Landscapes teams have been at the forefront of delivering natural solutions to the main challenges facing the nation for many years. The new brand underscores their commitment to redoubling their efforts and engaging with a wider audience. In 2019, teams set themselves the most ambitious targets for nature in the sector and continue to work to meet them.

By 2030, National Landscapes aim that, within their boundaries: at least 200,000 hectares of the most valuable natural areas (Sites of Special Scientific Interest or SSSIs), which equates to 1 ¼  times the size of London, will be in favourable condition; 100,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of SSSIs will be created or restored, which is roughly nine times the size of Manchester; and 36,000 hectares of woodland, which is a little smaller than the Isle of Wight, will have been planted or allowed to regenerate. National Landscapes Partnerships will also focus on habitat restoration to ensure the protection of some of our most endangered species and increase their work to help more people to enjoy time spent in beautiful places.

Access for All Walk, Wood End Farm

Because of their size and scope, National Landscapes are ideally positioned to address the environmental issues the UK is facing. There are 46 National Landscapes in the UK, covering 14% of England, Wales and Northern Ireland including moorland, farmland, coast, forests, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, a Geopark and International Dark Sky Reserves. They are the UK’s nearby countryside - 66% of people in England (44 million) live within 30 minutes of a National Landscape and at least 170 million people visit them every year.

Elliott Lorimer, Partnership Manager for Forest of Bowland National Landscape says:

“Our new 'Forest of Bowland National Landscape' name feels like a real step-change in terms of both the profile and the ambition for the designation and Partnership as a whole.  For too long, the AONB designation and the Partnerships working in these areas have not always received the national recognition that they deserve.  This renaming not only sets this record straight, but also presents an opportunity for National Landscapes to set out how we can go further and faster in addressing the great challenges of our time – climate change, the loss of nature and supporting equity of access for all people to these special places."

Eco Escapes - Waddington Fell by Mark Tattersall

John Watkins, Chief Executive of the National Landscapes Association says:

“For decades, AONB teams have convened powerful partnerships which have placed them at the forefront of the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, but since their initial designation, our country has changed immensely, as have the needs and pressures on the environment and communities. However, we have great ambition as well as the commitment and readiness to care for and protect these important places, whilst also extending a welcome to more people. Our ambitious aims build on AONB teams’ long track record of successful delivery for nature and people and we are confident that we will achieve them. National Landscapes are the landscape designation for the 21 Century and beyond.”


Bowland Fells by Steven Kidd

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England says:

“For decades the AONBs have helped protect the beauty of our finest landscapes. Today though we need so much more from these wonderful places, helping us adapt to climate change, catching carbon, restoring depleted wildlife and encouraging more people outside, at the same time as producing food, sustaining local communities and enhancing historic environments.

“Modern challenges require new approaches and today marks the beginning of a new phase for our National Landscapes, as they strengthen their existing partnerships, and forge new ones that will secure in perpetuity the huge range of benefits that come from these special places. Big change has taken place during the past 75 years and bigger changes still can be expected during the decades ahead. Uniting the National Landscapes in this way is very welcome and spells immense opportunity and great hope for the future.”

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