About the forest of Bowland AONB

The Forest of Bowland is one of 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across Britain and covers 803 square kilometres (312 square miles) of overwhelmingly rural landscapes in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1964, it’s important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds like the iconic Hen Harrier – symbol of the Forest of Bowland AONB.

While farming is the principal economic activity in much of the Forest of Bowland, the vital importance of the woodlands, pastureland and peat uplands is increasingly acknowledged.

The hill farms of Bowland tend to use lower intensity farm methods with fewer inputs which helps protect biodiversity that has been lost in many of the lowlands.

Increasing awareness of the global climate emergency has focused attention on the need to better manage our natural resources and place a higher value on the natural ecosystem services delivered by rural landscapes.

Sustainable tourism principles have been central to the development of tourism in the Forest of Bowland. Sustainable tourism takes account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing, and seeking to balance the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.

In 2005 the AONB became the first protected area in England to be awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas and this honour was repeated when the Charter was re-awarded in September 2010.

In November 2011 the AONB were recipients of the prestigious ‘Best Destination’ runner-up award from The International Responsible Tourism Awards.

The businesses featured on this website are all part of the Forest of Bowland’s Sustainable Tourism business network – working collaboratively as businesses to deliver social, economic and environmental benefit, while at the same time enhancing visitor experiences.

Start planning your big Bowland adventure by browsing our itineraries, finding out what’s on throughout the year or searching for accommodation.

Food & drink

Discover why the Forest of Bowland is a truly delicious destination

a dragonfly

Reconnect with nature

Bowland is home to some of the rarest wildlife in the United Kingdom

Choose your adventure

Explore a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts on foot or by bike