Get closer to nature

The Forest of Bowland AONB is of national and international importance because of its unspoiled and richly diverse landscapes, wildlife and heritage, with outstanding heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds.

Bowland is home to many birds that have become increasingly rare in the rest of the country. Expect to see upland waders like the curlew and lapwing, rare migrants like the ring ouzel and pied flycatcher and it’s one of the last few places where you can confidently expect to hear the first cuckoo of spring.

Perhaps the most iconic of Bowland’s resident bird species is the hen harrier – an elegant raptor which was adopted as the official symbol of the AONB. This is one of the last strongholds of the hen harrier in England and its population is vitally important to its survival as a breeding species in England.

These large raptors wheel and soar above the moorland and in late spring, perform a spectacular ‘sky dance’ – in which they exchange tokens of their affection in mid-air to cement the pair bond.

Thirteen percent of the AONB is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its habitats and geological features, while the extensive heather moorlands have been designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the European Birds Directive. 

But there’s more to Bowland than rare birds. Low intensity farming means that three species of deer, brown hares, foxes, badgers, bats and all manner of insects prosper in this haven for wildlife.

In spring and summer, the lowland pastures burst into a riot of colour as wildflowers bloom in their thousands, while in the autumn, the mature native woodlands ignite in a blaze of gold, amber and auburn in a final flourish before the onset of winter.

under cover paved eating area

Be A Garden Maker

A beautiful small garden centre located in a rural location. Lovely tearoom serving homemade traditional food, dogs welcome. Easy access for limited mobility. Gift shop and reclamation shop in our onsite barns also gives interesting things for our home and ...
a girl and a goat

Bowland Wild Boar Park

Nestling beside the River Hodder in a remote valley beneath the rugged ridgeline of the Bleasdale Fells, Bowland Wild Boar Park maintains a tradition dating back to the middle ages – along with a host of fun activities for the ...

NaturesGems Tours

Experienced naturalist and active conservationist Gemma Wren leads small groups on bespoke nature tours of Morecambe Bay and its diverse range of habitats. Owned and operated by practising environment consultant Gemma Wren, NaturesGems Tours offers immersive wildlife experiences in some ...
exterior farm building with red sky and sheep

Patty’s Barn

Patty's Barn is a collection of 10 self-catering cottages all full of character and original features. Situated on the edge of Morecambe Bay and just south of the bustling, historic city of Lancaster. With the great outdoors directly on the ...

RSPB Leighton Moss

Conveniently located just a 200m walk from Silverdale station, Leighton Moss is one of the RSPB’s most accessible reserves and home to a host of spectacular wildlife, from marsh harriers and ospreys to red deer and otters. Conveniently located just ...

The Gathering Fields

After returning to her childhood home, natural therapist Helen Leece established a centre for wellbeing and renewal high among the hills on the western fringe of the Forest of Bowland. The Gathering Fields is a rural Retreat centre teaching Yoga, ...

The Rewilding

For big skies, wide open spaces and the perfect environment for rewilding yourself, head over to the windswept salt marshes of the Lancashire coast, where the Forest of Bowland meets the sea! After travelling the world with a high-powered job ...

Wood End Farm and Alpaca Experience

Our family have farmed here for over 100 years. It is a traditional hill farm, with beef and sheep, set in the beauty and tranquility of this unspoilt area in rural Lancashire. We believe in preserving the best of traditional ...