Historic market town Clitheroe in the beautiful Ribble Valley is the perfect base from which to explore the Forest of Bowland situated just over a mile from the town and offering a wealth of walking and cycling trails. Clitheroe's beautiful town centre is brimming with independent shops, classic emporiums and markets, and the skyline is dominated by magnificent Clitheroe Castle set within pretty grounds and with an on-site museum. Clitheroe's acclaimed local produce markets are held in the town centre several days each week and award-winning local produce centres like Bashall Barn are within easy reach.
Complete with extensive landscaped gardens and Lancashire's only labyrinth, Clitheroe Castle is said to be one of the smallest Norman keeps in England and one of the oldest buildings in the county. The town hosts an annual food festival in early August showcasing the finest Ribble Valley produce.
Perched high on Castle Hill, Clitheroe's 12th Century castle keep is one of Lancashire most famous historic landmarks with on-site award-winning Castle Museum housed in the Georgian Steward's House and featuring a selection of fascinating galleries exploring the history of the castle and surrounding ancient villages. Exhibits focus on history and archaeology, and the castle hosts year round events, workshops and family activities. Artwork by local artists is also on display in the on-site Platform Gallery.
Clitheroe is a popular southern gateway into the beautiful Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding National Beauty, a protected North West rural area covering 300 square miles of Lancashire and North Yorkshire, incorporating landmarks such as Pendle Hill, The area is criss-crossed by pretty dry stone walls and the river valley of the River Ribble.
Bowland's landscape is a mix of open moorland, wooded valleys and cloughs dotted with ancient villages and picture-postcard farms. The AONB is famed for its great fishing, birdwatching locations and its exceptional local produce showcased in the region's many farmer's markets, farm shops, old inns, breweries and local produce shops. Numerous food trails from cheese trails to real ale trails feature in the region and don't miss a tour of Bowland Brewery at Bashall Town just 2 miles north west of Clitheroe with on-site licensed cafe and visitor centre selling the breweries full range of real ales.
An important area for breeding birds, Bowland is home to large bird populations of lapwings, hen harriers, snipe, curlews and redshanks, and is a popular area for birdwatching holidays and short breaks. Top birding locations include Roeburndale Woods, Stocks and Barnacre Reservoirs and Pendle Hill.
A network of public paths, cycle trails and challenging walks feature across the AONB, with highlights including best mountain biking in Gisburn Forest located in the North East corner of Lancashire. Ancient heritage sites not to be missed include old churches and abbeys such as Sawley Abbey, Whalley Abbey and Dalehead Church. Download Forest of Bowland AONB leaflets on the official AONB website.