The remote Forest of Bowland, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a picturesque drive east from Lancaster. The name forest is used here in its traditional sense of “a royal hunting ground” – it’s a captivating landscape of remote fells and farmland with plenty of walks and populated by rare birds like the golden plover, short-eared owl, snipe and merlin. Head east on the A683, turning off towards High Bentham; once at the village turn right at the sign for the station and you begin the fifteen-mile slog down an old drovers’ track (now a very minor road) known as the Trough of Bowland. This winds through heather- and bracken-clad hills before ending up at the compact village of Slaidburn. If you’ve got time, it’s worth pushing ahead to Clitheroe, a tidy little market town overlooked by a Norman keep.
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