Five Great Walks in the Magnificent Forest of Bowland

Monday, February 5, 2018 by admin

Lancaster House is sharing it’s biggest secret – The Forest of Bowland. 

‘Grandeur’, ‘Isolation’, ‘Outstanding Natural  Beauty’ are words and phrases used to describe this spectacular area right on the doorstep of Lancaster House.  It is a place that will tick most people’s holiday wish list. Here are just five of the many wonderful walks available. Packed with intriguing history, rural villages, art, wild life, protected species, wonderful views. Enough to have you looking out those boots at the back of the cupboard.   

Bell Sykes Hay Meadow Walk

Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House Hotel

A walk through flower rich meadows. Starting at the village of Slaidburn, surrounded by the Bowland Fells, the meadows at Bell Sykes are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest because of the wide variety of meadow species they contain. Here it is possible to be entirely surrounded by one of the rarest habitats in England. There is an abundance of flower species as well as the attendant butterflies, insects and swallows. Distance: 2 miles (3.3 km)

Time: 2 Hrs

Grid Ref: SD 7136 5235

Route information

Aitken Wood and Pendle Sculpture Tramper Trail 

Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House Hotel

A short woodland walk loaded with history, art and intrigue in the shadow of Pendle Hill. The history of the Pendle Witches of 1612 was the inspiration of four artists who have created a range of sculptures in wood, steel and stone including Phillippe Handford’s curving tree sculptures. The route through Aitken Wood is at times moderately steep but you will be rewarded with great views of Pendle Hill and you may well spot any number of carefully protected bird species, or hear the Goldcrest, our smallest breeding bird, weighing only 5 or 6 grams. Listen out for its very high-pitched trill which it uses whilst moving through the tops of the trees.

Distance: 2.75miles (4.5 km)

Time: 2 Hrs

Grid Ref: SD 8231 4034

Route Information

Downham, Worsaw Hill, and Chatburn

Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House hotel

We are grateful to Mike Brockhurst, The Walking Englishman, for the next two walks. Known as Lancashire’s prettiest village, Downham is the starting point of this 5 mile circular route. It was the scene of iconic black and white 1960s film Whistle Down the Wind, starring Hayley Mills. A scene from Wuthering Heights was also shot nearby. By design, it remains relatively unchanged over the years – you won’t find any overhead wires, satellite dishes or road signs in this haven from the past.  

The first part of the walk along footpaths and lanes is overlooked by Pendle Hill, home to the ten so-called witches sentenced to death in 1612.

Expansive green and undulating landscapes take you past Chatburn, another pretty Lancashire village. Highlights along the route are Fairy Bridge, a beautiful small stone packhorse bridge, and a pretty limestone knoll near Downham Mill.

Distance: 5.2 miles (8.4 km)

Time: 2 – 3 hours

Grid Ref: SD785441

Route Information

Cross of Greet Bridge, Bowland Knotts, Raven’s Castle and Cloven Stones

Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House hotel

Stunning views in every direction, this circular walk gives particularly good vistas north to the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks. The route starts at Cross of Greet Bridge and to begin with follows the River Hodder. There are warnings of boggy ground at times throughout the course of the route, very much depending on weather conditions in the weeks leading up to your walk.

Highlights include the 160 m climb to Hasgill Fell and the fine views as a result. Bowland Knotts, a series of jagged outcrops, evokes a sense of remoteness and tranquillity, again with views south to Forest of Bowland fells, west to the Lake District fells and north to a particularly good view of the Three Peaks – Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent.   

Distance: 7.7 miles (12.4 km)

Time: 3 – 4 hours

Grid Ref: SD702589

Route Information


Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House hotel

Not for the faint hearted, this walk contains some steep sections and you will need sturdy footwear. An extensive valley of trees and breeding birds. The eastern edge is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest containing a wide range of ancient woodland and a range of  breeding birds including Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Green Woodpecker. The names Roeburn, Harterbeck and Bowskill Wood all give clues to this areas rich history as a vast hunting ground. Even the name Barkin Wood relates to the strange barking calls made by the deer. 

Distance: 8 miles (12.9 km)

Time: 3 – 4  hours

Grid Ref: SD 6060 6747

Route Information

A Warm Lancashire Welcome

Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House hotel

Just four miles to the edge of the Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House is the perfect place to come home to. Fabulous local produce, the most comfortable beds, gym,  swimming pool and outdoor hot tub. We have everything to complete your holiday adventures in The Forest of Bowland. Call 0333 220 3107 to start your forest adventure. 

Forest of Bowland, Lancaster House hotel

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