The Forest of Bowland AONB is nationally and internationally important due to its wild and richly diverse landscapes and the wildlife that live here. The area is famous for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds such as the Hen Harrier, which has its stronghold here.
Thirteen percent of the AONB is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its habitats and geological features.
The extensive heather moorlands of the fells are exceptionally important as a habitat for upland birds, such as Hen Harriers, Ring Ouzels and Whinchats, as well as many other species, all of which can be found in the beautiful hills and valleys of the fells.
These moorlands are designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the European Birds Directive in recognition of this.
In partnership with the RSPB, Natural England and United Utilities, Lancashire County Councils Countryside Service is playing host to the Bowland Hen Harrier Project at the Bowland Visitor Centre, Beacon Fell. During the breeding season there is often continuous footage of a Hen Harrier nest in the Bowland Fells at the Visitor Centre on Beacon Fell Country Park near Preston.
Gisburn Forest is a good place to go and look for woodland species such as Treecreepers, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers and if you are lucky you may hear a Cuckoo in spring. Stocks Reservoir has resident waterfowl and wintering migrants. The whole area is also good for Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Curlews and Redshanks who you will probably hear calling. There is a healthy hare population and you have a good chance of spotting them feeding around dusk especially in early spring. On a damp morning look out for worm hunting Little Owls sat atop drystone walls or fence posts.
Birding in Bowland (5.2 mb PDF file)
A Lancashire Trust for Nature Conservation site, with a Nature trail alongside the river Brock. The woodland floor is carpeted with Bluebells and Wild Garlic in the spring and you have a good chance of seeing dippers, wagtails and dragonflies.
The Country Park consists of 110 hectares (271 acres) of woodland, moorland and farmland. The summit is 266 metres (873 feet) above sea level and offers fantastic views of the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay. On a clear day you can even see the Isle of Man. There is plenty of wildlife for those who are prepared to be observant. Rabbits and Hares are frequent and are easily spotted. Roe deer are a little more elusive, but patience may well be rewarded! Stoats and weasels can be seen running across the road or clambering over the dry stone walls. As many as 11 species of dragonflies and damselflies may be seen around the ponds during the summer months. In early spring the pond outside the visitor centre is heaving with frogs come to spawn and the noise is amazing. More information Beacon Fell Country Park (955kb PDF)
We are also within easy driving distance of the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere, both worth a visit.
Popular for bird watching especially in winter, look out for Pink Footed Geese and the occasional White-fronted, Barnacle, Brent, and Bean Geese .
Cockerham is an excellent place to obseve waders at all times of the year. Winmarleigh Moss is the largest surviving area of uncultivated peat mossland in the county.
Large flocks of wading birds.
Fairhurst Cottage, Fairhurst Lane, Inglewhite, Preston PR3 2LJ Tel: 01995 640007 Email: Click Here