Farming & Food

The landscape of the Forest of Bowland is the result of hundreds of years of human influence and farming has always been at the heart of the local economy.

Farming is going through a period of change in the Forest of Bowland, but the link between food producers and consumers remains intact, with a direct connection from field to fork.

The area’s resourceful hill farmers are responsible for building and maintaining the dry stone walls, wildflower meadows, country lanes and outlying barns that are so characteristic of Bowland.

The land has traditionally been managed for game hunting and farming since the middle ages and the large country estates have had a huge influence over the development of the area.

Farming remains an important aspect of the local economy. Sheep and beef farming dominate the upland areas; while dairy farming remains the major land use in the valleys.

Bowland is home to many of the county’s Lancashire cheese producers and the many variations on this young, tangy, dairy fresh cheese can be sampled at outlets across the area.

Local produce can be found in local specialist retailers and at the area’s regular markets in towns like Clitheroe and Bentham and many producers are increasingly opting to sell farm products direct to the customer from the farm gate.

Many Bowland farmers are very environmentally aware and are now using Environmental Stewardship to improve habitats for wildlife on their farms.

Some farmers are diversifying to find new ways of using the land – developing tourism facilities and other enterprises, such as business workspaces. Others are concentrating on their farming and finding ways to improve their income, for example by farming rare breeds, or producing their own boxed meat. 

To ensure the Forest of Bowland continues to thrive as a living landscape, farmers, landowners and visitors need to work closely with the National Landscape to conserve nature in Bowland.

Find a directory of artisan food producers in the Forest of Bowland here

luxury Mercedes-Benz Tourer.

Bowland and Bay

As the Forest of Bowland’s reputation for artisan food spreads across the country, Katie Wilson at Bowland and Bay is showcasing some of Lancashire’s best artisan food and drink After 30 years in various tourism and buying roles, the pandemic ...
Holmes Mill exterior with red london bus

Bowland Food Hall

Bowland Food Hall is the most wonderful showcase for the very best of Lancashire’s food and drink producers. We work with passionate food and drink producers across the northwest, to bring the finest fare to your plate. Most of them ...
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 ...
Gelato at Farm on the Fell

Farm on the Fell

Located in the Bowland Fells in Bleasdale, Farm on the Fell is a dairy farm that does dairy differently. They farm as naturally as possible, as they believe farming should work with nature and not against it. The farm is ...

Goosnargh Gin

Richard and Rachel Trenchard were quietly building a widely admired brand of artisan gin, distilled and rooted in the landscapes of Bowland – and then the Hairy Bikers dropped in for a quick G&T… After developing an interest in handcrafted ...
happy man with lots of cheese

The Courtyard Dairy

The finest cheese - delivered to your door. It's no wonder The Daily Telegraph lists The Courtyard Dairy as one of the Top 10 Cheese Shops in the World. The Courtyard Dairy is a truly special cheese maturer and shop. ...

Wild Fox Distillery

Deep in the heart of the Forest Bowland’s famed ‘Lancashire cheese triangle’, a traditional dairy farming family are ploughing their own furrow by producing a distinctive artisan gin with deep roots in the local landscape Founded in 2019 as part ...