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Green Travel Guide to the Forest of Bowland
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

A rugged and unspoilt Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Forest of Bowland is home to rich green valleys, dramatic expanses of open moorland, and picturesque stone villages. Considered to be the wild and remote heartland of both Yorkshire and Lancashire, this is the perfect place for peaceful and secluded walking, cycling and horse riding. Many species of rare birds and wildlife have made this area their home – observing them is just one of the many different attractions and activities on offer. The region’s natural beauty is made even more enticing by the range of wonderful accommodation available, from five star hotels to cosy cottages. 

Foreword by Hetty Byrne, Sustainable Tourism Officer, Forest of Bowland AONB

The Forest of Bowland AONB, situated in the North West of England, is a unique and captivating part of the countryside. Expanses of sky above dramatic sweeps of open moorland, undulating lowlands with picturesque farms and villages, river valleys and wooded cloughs – all waiting to be explored!

Here in the Forest of Bowland we work closely with tourism organisations, businesses and communities to help protect our beautiful landscape, while at the same time increasing opportunities for visitors to discover and enjoy its special qualities. In 2005 we became the first protected area in England to be awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas. The Charter is awarded to protected areas that are delivering tourism that is both nature and landscape friendly and which contributes to the economic development of the region. For further information visit

Many of the tourism businesses in the Forest of Bowland share the commitment of the AONB and are passionate about developing their businesses in an environmentally friendly way. Many are Green Tourism Business Scheme award winners – look out for the green logo! Some of their actions take place behind the scenes but there are also many that you will experience firsthand, such as access to wonderful car-free explorations and wildlife watching opportunities: their local knowledge won't fail to inspire you!

This Green Traveller's Guide will help you plan your green getaway to Bowland to experience some of the most peaceful and remote walking, riding and cycling in the country. Explore some of the many unique villages steeped in history; while away your time observing some of the rare and enigmatic birds and wildlife; or simply indulge in sampling some of the very best local produce the area has to offer! Make your Bowland your discovery and help keep it special.

More info:

What Green Traveller's writers discovered in the Forest of Bowland 

Stay, Eat, See & Do

Our pick of places across the Forest of Bowland

Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions; Purple = Activities

Click on the square brackets at the top right of the map to reveal expanded map 

  • The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) covers 312sq miles of rural Lancashire and North

  • Yorkshire and includes the famous landmark Pendle Hill

  • 13% of the AONB has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest

  • The moors are a major breeding ground for upland birds and the major part of the Bowland Fells is designated as a Special Protection Area under the European Birds Directive

  • The AONB is sparsely populated with over three-quarters living in villages, and the remainder in loosely-knit hamlets or isolated dwellings in open countryside

Words by Florence Fortnam.

Photos: unless otherwise indicated photos by Diana Jarvis/Greentraveller, all others provided by Forest of Bowland AONB, including: Cyclist: Mark Tattersall; Barn Owl: Mark Harder; heather moorland: Graham Cooper; bluebells: Steven Kidd; Sykes meadow, Slaidburn: Graham Cooper; Trees: Matthew Savage. Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.

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