Just over an hour from Manchester and Leeds, the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of England’s last undiscovered uplands.
Quieter than the Yorkshire Dales, less commercialised than the Peak District and more compact than the Lake District, the Forest of Bowland is an oasis of tranquility where you’ll find room to breathe and space to think.
Spanned by just two single track roads, mobile phone reception remains patchy and during the week you’ll have 300 square miles of remote uplands and secluded valleys pretty much to yourself. If you really want to get away from it all – this is the perfect destination.
It’s a place to lose yourself up on the expansive moors before descending for a hearty meal at a village inn and then maybe stepping outside to admire the inky blank night skies of a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site.
We run guided walks throughout the year, specialising in small family and friends’ groups who want to enjoy the views and the landscape without worrying about navigation in unfamiliar terrain. We can cater for all abilities, but we specialise in taking visitors into the heart of the Forest of Bowland on paths less travelled – heading off piste into access land to reach the hidden gems.
Along the way, we’ll show you the remarkable wildlife that makes its home in the Forest – including roe deer, brown hares, upland waders, merlin, peregrine and, of course, the iconic hen harrier – symbol of the area.
Whilst Bowland is home to some outstanding pubs, inns and restaurants (where we are happy to arrange accommodation for guests), many of our walks traverse pretty wild terrain, so we also make sure walkers are well-provisioned with our legendary picnics featuring wholesome local produce with food miles in single figures.
We can also recommend walker-friendly accommodation to suit all pockets and arrange e-bike hire and organise guided rides on trails, bridleways and quiet country lanes.
We have more than a decade’s experience in upland walking across the UK and for the last five years we have focused on the Forest of Bowland, where we are based. We have extensive experience of guiding small groups in the Forest of Bowland and across the northwest. We also have extensive experience of working with corporate clients in association with Freshwalks.
Principal guide Mark Sutcliffe is author of the Cicerone Guide to Walking in Lancashire and a former editor of both Country Walking and Lakeland Walker magazines. He is also a regular contributor to Countryfile magazine.
Sample route: Bowland Knotts and Cross of Greet
Length: 12.2km/7.5 miles
Duration: 4 – 5 hours
This rugged walk links the two high level passes across the Forest of Bowland, traversing some wild upland territory where merlin and peregrine scythe across the moorland and lonely gritstone outcrops punctuate the primal landscape.
While it’s a relatively short walk, this is tough terrain and it will present a stern test, but the rewards are a sense of splendid isolation beyond the reach of mobile phone coverage and a chance to reconnect with the wild amid some stunning scenery in one of England’s last wilderness areas.
After a negotiating a sinuous upland stream, we climb steadily for 350 metres, as the views gradually open up on all sides. Reaching the rugged outcrops of Bowland Knotts, we’ll bag a trig point and catch a glimpse of the Howgills and the Lakeland fells as we traverse open, trackless moorland to reach the highpoint of one of only two roads across the Forest.
We’ll then descend into a pretty valley where there’s the chance of spotting rare ring ouzels and hen harriers on a leisurely descent back to our starting point.
Get in touch
Drop us a line or give us a call to find out more and discuss your specific needs. We’ll be running a series of scheduled walks during 2023, so keep an eye on our social media channels for updates and booking details.
T: 01200 407093