Forest of Bowland National Landscape

Expanses of sky above the wild dramatic sweep of open moorland, gentle and tidy lowlands, crisscrossed with dry stone walls and dotted with picturesque farms and villages. This is a place like no other, a place with a strong sense of stepping back in time, a place known as Bowland.

(c) Steven Kidd Forest of Bowland NL - Bowland Fells (c) Steven Kidd

Bowland Fells

Covering 803 square kilometres (300 sq miles) of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire, the Forest of Bowland AONB is an area of national and international importance because of its unspoiled and richly diverse landscapes, wildlife and heritage, Bowland has outstanding heather moorland, blanket bog, and rare birds. The AONB also has semi-natural woodlands and wildflower meadows. The extensive heather moorlands of the fells are exceptionally important as a habitat for upland birds, such as the hen harrier.

The landscape we see today contains many clues to past history – the villages of Grindleton, Waddington and Caton date back to the Saxon period, ‘ton’ meaning fenced area or enclosure. Norse names are also common, these include ‘beck’ meaning stream and ‘laithe’ meaning barn. Even Bowland was formally called ‘Bolland’ meaning cowland. The wonderful rural character of Bowland means its villages have evolved into close-knit communities where a well-defined sense of identity is interwoven with a strong feeling of civic pride. Take the time to explore these villages at leisure. Visit the welcoming pubs and friendly cafés to taste outstanding local produce.

The Forest of Bowland offers some of the most beautiful and remote walking and cycling in the country, from the grandeur and isolation of the moorland hills to the undulating lowlands with their distinctive pattern of settlements, woodland cloughs and river valleys. We have created a collection of bespoke Eco Escapes itineraries to help visitors make the most of their time in Bowland's outstanding natural landscape. Eco Escapes are about slowing down, taking time, and tuning into the slower rhythms of nature. They are about relaxing, resetting and reconnecting with the natural world. Visit: Or why not join a Festival Bowland event? A year-round events programme celebrating the nature, landscape, culture and heritage of the AONB.

(c) Graham Cooper Forest of Bowland NL - Bell Sykes Coronation Meadow (c) Graham Cooper

Bell Sykes Coronation Meadow

(c) Mark Tattersall Forest of Bowland NL - Pendle Hill Summit (c) Mark Tattersall

Pendle Hill Summit

(c) Salar Media Forest of Bowland NL - Family ride at Gisburn Forest (c) Salar Media

Family ride at Gisburn Forest

(c) Graham Cooper Forest of Bowland NL - Bowland Fells (c) Graham Cooper

Bowland Fells