The Forest of Bowland is an area of Outstanding National Beauty (ANOB) in Lancashire. I was there last week with my son. The reason for our visit was to test out his car. a VW Golf GTi that he had recently restored. But, I might also get in a short walk.
Our first stop was in the village of Slaidburn where we went for a short walk along the bank of the River Hodder and then through Bell Sykes meadows. These six unimproved fields form a habitat that is becoming increasingly scarce due to agriculture. The three lower field are regularly flooded by the River Hodder and contain grasses and moisture loving flowers. The upper fields are home to typical flowers of the hay meadows such as Meadow Cranes-bill.
At the entrance to the meadows there was a good information board but from then on there was a lack of direction. A couple more yellow arrows would have kept us on track.At one point we thought we were going to have to paddle.
Back in the village we paused to look at the war memorial dedicated to local men who served in the First World War.
It was then on to the Hark to Bounty for lunch.
There has been an inn on this site since the 1300’s although most of the existing building dates from the 16th century. Until 1875 the inn was known as The Dog. Then after a days hunting the local squire called at the inn with his mates for a quick pint of ale. Their drinking was disturbed by loud barking from the hounds that had been left outside. Noisiest of all was the squire’s favourite dog , Bounty. The squire called out “Hark to Bounty” and later the inns name was changed.
The interior of the inn is very interesting. The walls are covered with hunting trophies, old fishing nets, guns etc..
We had a very good meal and an excellent pint of Wainwright’s Bitter.
Upstairs at “The Bounty” is the old courtroom. From the early 19th century up until the mid 1930’s it was used as the local court. It was originally the Manorial or “Moot Court” which dealt with local matters.
We then had a super drive over the moors towards High Bentham. Steep, narrow and twisting, but with hardly any other traffic it was a beautiful drive. The heather clad moors looked lovely. If only it wasn’t raining.
Our final stop was in the village of Wray where we managed to fit in a short walk alongside the River Hindburn. The water running off the moors was full of peat which made it look like cold tea.
It was then back to reality with our return journey down the M6. Friday night and lots of traffic. Oh to be on the open moors!