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Holidays in Forest of Bowland

Dramatic moorlands speckled with charming towns and villages

UK | North of England | Lancashire | Forest of Bowland
Dunsop Bridge

Sweeping fells, deep valleys and peat moorland dominate the Forest of Bowland, a spectacular but seldom-visited area of North England.

The forest is located in Northeast Lancashire, with a small part in North Yorkshire. You can hike, cycle or drive for miles without seeing another soul. It’s a great place to slow down, enjoy a bit of solitude and marvel at some of the UK’s most dramatic landscapes.

The Forest of Bowland lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is home to a number of rare birds, including the hen harrier. The geographical centre of Great Britain can be found in the forest, close to the Whitendale Hanging Stones. This wild and sparsely populated region is dotted with farmhouses and picturesque villages such as Slaidburn and Newton.

Rural Forest of Bowland

Thanks to its wide open spaces and lack of light pollution, the Forest of Bowland is one of the best places in the UK for stargazing. Due to the region’s northerly location, it doesn’t get completely dark during the summer months, so the best times for stargazing are autumn, winter and early spring. On a clear night, you’ll be able to spot Jupiter, Saturn and a dazzling display of constellations.

Wild mushrooms, herbs, elderflowers and sloes can be picked in the Forest of Bowland. Many of the area’s cafes, pubs and restaurants make the most of the fresh produce on their doorstep and create delicious dishes with whatever ingredients are in season. To pick up locally produced bread, cheese or meat, and meet some of the region’s best independent producers, head to one of the many farmers’ markets which are held in village squares and high streets. Gisburn, Caton, Nether Kellet and a number of other villages have weekly or monthly markets.

For a shank of lamb or a fish pie, check out Hark to Bounty. This rustic inn is located in the peaceful village of Slaidburn, deep in the Forest of Bowland. On the banks of the River Hodder, you’ll find the ever-popular Riverbank Tearooms, where you can enjoy a sandwich or a steaming pot of tea with a slice of homemade cake.

“Sweeping fells, deep valleys and peat moorland dominate the Forest of Bowlands, a spectacular but seldom-visited area of North England.”

If you’re after a cosy pub where you can settle down by a roaring fire after a day of exploring, look no further than the Three Fishes, in the tiny hamlet of Mitton. Here you can enjoy a pint of local ale and order in a hearty meal cooked by a chef who makes the most of the seasonal ingredients on his doorstep.

Take a look at our full collection of Forest of Bowland cottages for even more holiday inspiration.

While you’re there

Lancaster Brewery & Visitor Centre

Set in over two acres, the working brewery offers guided tours and the opportunity to try your hand at brewing.

Browsholme Hall

Visitors are invited to enjoy this magnificent home steeped in Tudor history.

Clitheroe Castle Museum

This fascinating castle tells the story of Clitheroe and its surrounding area.

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