Forest of Bowland Autumn Colours

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.

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.

Bowland is also home to many more birds that have become increasingly rare in the rest of the country. It’s home to 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.

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.

  • Find out more about the wildlife of Bowland:

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