Forest of Bowland

Fit for a Queen… Beautiful Bowland

by Northern Life

A writer and a photographer have joined forces to highlight the beauty and character of the Forest of Bowland, one of North’s scenic gems and a firm favourite with none other than Her Majesty the Queen.

Partly in Lancashire and partly in Yorkshire, the area is the north-western remnant of an ancient wilderness which once stretched over a huge part of England and was the woodland hunting grounds of the Kings of England. It covers an area of more than 300 square miles from Lancaster to Settle to Clitheroe, and was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) more than 50 years ago to help protect its unique character.

It contains some of Britain’s most spectacular views, wildest crags and moorlands, sharply contrasted with its idyllic small villages, rural farmlands and hamlets, all of which have been captured in pictures by Helen Shaw and in words by Professor Andrew Stachulski in a new book The Forest of Bowland. The authors hope it will inspire many to visit this relatively unfrequented area: walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers, historians and naturelovers.

Professional photographer Helen, a member of the Professional Garden Photographers Association, has lived as a self-confessed ‘offcome’d un’ in a remote valley spot near Slaidburn for ten years. A semi-finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, she was honoured when the Queen chose one of her local landscapes for her 80th birthday present. Helen’s work reveals many of the secret places as well as the more familiar ones in the Forest of Bowland.

“Spectacular views, wildest crags and moorlands, sharply contrasted with idyllic small villages, rural farmlands and hamlets”

Dr Stachulski, a senior research fellow at Liverpool University, was brought up in Great Harwood and used to take the bus to the Ribble and Hodder valleys to go walking in the areas where limited public access was allowed. He has since climbed all the major Lake District fells, all the Munros, walked the Pennine Way, Coast to Coast Walk and Offa’s Dyke path, and his earlier book, Home Ground, highlights 20 walks in the North-West. He lives near Blackburn and declares: “I am proud to serve as a champion of Bowland in this book.”

The Forest of Bowland, by Helen Shaw and Andrew Stachulski, £14.99 hardback, Merlin Unwin Books, tel 01584 877456, BUY NOW