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Family-friendly adventure in the Forest of Bowland

This itinerary starts in the market town of Clitheroe and heads out into the country lanes of the Forest of Bowland to the pretty village of Dunsop Bridge, where you can walk with alpacas and explore the beautiful Dunsop Valley on foot or by e-bike before heading to Bowland Wild Boar farm for a wide range of family-friendly activities.

Family looking at map while exploring the forest of bowland

DAY 1

Arrive by train at Clitheroe Station. Hourly service from Blackburn and Manchester. Timetables at www.northernrailway.co.uk

Morning

Walk 500m to Ribble Valley e-bikes Clitheroe shop to collect hire cycles.

Collect a picnic from Bowland Food Hall, just a short ride from the cycle shop then head out of town and cross the River Ribble onto quiet rural lanes for the 10-mile ride to Dunsop Bridge.

Lunch

Take a picnic Lunch Beside the stream in the Dunsop Valley. If you didn’t have time to organise a picnic, drop into Puddleducks Tea Rooms in Dunsop Bridge for coffee, cake and light snacks.

Afternoon

Pop into Wood End Farm and say hello to the friendly herd of alpacas who live there. Short walks with the alpacas can be booked in advance via the website.

Explore the gorgeous Dunsop Valley on foot or by bike, on a gentle 5-mile hike up the valley. This scenic riverside ramble is surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Bowland Fells, but the route itself is easy going underfoot and gentle enough for all abilities to tackle.

Evening

Cycle 4 miles to Bowland Wild Boar Park where you can stay in one of their camping pods, tents or luxury holiday lodges.

Total distance cycled day 1: 24 miles

DAY 2

Morning

Spend a fun-packed morning at Bowland Wild Boar Park, where you can enjoy tractor rides and farm tours, feeding the animals and exploring the nature walks.

Lunch

Enjoy lunch in the café at the Wild Boar Park before setting off back to Clitheroe. Stop off en route at stately Browsholme Hall (check website for opening times) for afternoon tea in the Cart Shed Tea Room or detour to the picture-postcard village of Waddington for refreshments in one of its three welcoming country inns: The Higher Buck, Lower Buck or Waddington Arms

Return to Clitheroe to drop off your hire bikes and catch your train home from the station.

Total distance cycled Day 2: 24 miles

Limited mobility?

The Dunsop Valley is ideal for exploring by off-road mobility vehicle and the Forest of Bowland AONB has an all-terrain Tramper access vehicle for use by people with restricted mobility. For more details, visit the AONB website.

Linger longer

There’s plenty more to see and do in the area to extend your break a while. The entire Forest of Bowland AONB is criss-crossed with footpaths and cycle trails. Picturesque villages like Slaidburn, Chipping, Waddington and Wray are within just an hour or so in the saddle, while the towns of Clitheroe and Bentham have more shops and entertainment to offer and are linked with good onward public transport connections. Click here for more ideas and itineraries.

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