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Forest of Bowland

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The Forest of Bowland is a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty in the north of Lancashire and part of North Yorkshire, north-west of Clitheroe and south-west of Settle. The main villages in Bowland include Chipping, Slaidburn, and Dunsop Bridge.


The Forest of Bowland is a nationally protected landscape and internationally important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds. The 'Forest' refers to its ancient status as a hunting park rather than a wooded terrain.


Bowland today is remarkably unchanged since the late medieval period. Across the areat here are many fine examples of the stone buildings that were built to replace timber houses between the 16th and 18th centuries, with their characteristic stone mullions, lintels and datestones. There are also sites that survive as isolated reminders of the medieval heritage of the Forest of Bowland, for example the Cistercian monastery at Sawley.


Bowland is essentially upland country forming part of the Pennines, sharing many of the characteristics of other upland areas like the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Park but its essential landscape character is one of grandeur and isolation. The area is dominated by a central upland core of deeply incised gritstone fells with summits above 450m and vast tracts of heather-covered peat moorland.

The fells’ fringe of foothills is dissected by steep-sided valleys which open out into the rich green lowlands of the Ribble, Hodder, Wyre and Lune Valleys. Well-wooded and dotted with picturesque stone farms and villages, these lower slopes, criss-crossed by drystone walls, contrast with and complement the dramatic open sweep of the gritstone heights. On its south-eastern edge, famous Pendle Hill forms the outlier of the Forest of Bowland AONB.

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