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Things to do in the Forest of Bowland

The Forest of Bowland is an area of outstanding beauty, which runs mostly across north east Lancashire, with a small part located in North Yorkshire. Once described as the Switzerland of England, it makes a great place to visit for a day trip or a few days when you’re planning on getting away from it all.


We’ve put together some of the key things you can do when visiting this stunning part of the country.


Visiting picturesque villages  

Dotted around the Forest of Bowland are some picturesque and unspoiled villages. Steeped in history, with some dating back to prehistoric times, they’ve got bags of character and charm, from stone-built cottages and quaint churches, to rustic shops and tea rooms.


You could visit Hurst Green in the South and see the magnificent Stonyhurst College, or take a look around the civil parish of Wennington in the North. There’s also Barley, which has had residents living there for around 3,000 years, and Slaidburn, situated on the banks of the River Hodder. Downham was also used in scenes for the film, Whistle down the Wind.


Exploring the countryside

From its gritstone fells to its deep valleys and peat moorland, the Forest of Bowland is made up of some stunning countryside, covering 312 square miles. The landscapes home to exciting species of birds and diverse wildlife.


There are so many ways to explore this beautiful area. You can enjoy a range of stunning walks that will challenge either the novice or experienced walker, from strenuous hikes to gentle valley rambles. Alternatively, you could hire a bike to see the scenery along a cycle route, or go horse riding along a quiet track or country lane.


Watching the stars

Dark skies are becoming a rarity in the UK, with light pollution obscuring the night’s stars in most parts of the country. But granted official status as a Dark Sky Discovery Site,

The forest of Bowland is one of the best places in the UK to go stargazing.


With the help of a local astronomer, on a clear, cloudless night you can see everything from star constellations and planets close to the earth, to the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy. There are five designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the Forest of Bowland. This includes Beacon Fell Country Park, Gisburn Forest Hub, and Slaidburn Village Car Park.


Extending your stay in the Forest of Bowland

During your time in the Forest of Bowland, it’s good to have somewhere to stay to give you more time to explore all it has to offer. Situated at the heart of the picture postcard village of Waddington, and acting as a cosy base for exploring the Forest of Bowland, is the Waddington Arms, a luxury bed and breakfast.


To find out more about staying at the Waddington Arms, please visit our accommodation page.

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