The Trough of Bowland

The Trough of Bowland connects the River Wyre at Marshaw and Langden Brook and divides the upland core of Bowland into two main blocks.The sedimentary rocks in the Forest of Bowland were deposited in the Carboniferous period 340 mya. The actual Trough of Bowland was formed at the end of the last ice age by glacial meltwaters. The Forest of Bowland and the area around the Trough of Bowland were first mentioned in ADA 934 when King Athelstan granted the lands to Wulfstan, Archbishop of York. However locals know the area around Dunsop Bridge and the Trough of Bowland more for its associations with the Townley family and their racehorses. In fact the local church of St Hubert's was built by the Townley family with the winnings from their famous racehorse "Kettledrum" which won the Derby in 1861. There is a memorial to Kettledrum in the church along with those of the family. The new offices for the Forest of bowland AONB team are situated in the old stables.

Dunsop Bridge - The gateway to the Trough of Bowland

Dunsop Bridge is a pretty village situated at one end of the Trough of Bowland and the area around has been called "Little Switzerland". From the village the road winds to the west towards the Trough of Bowland, which feels more like a piece of the scottish highlands especially when all the heather is in flower and the bracken is turning golden brown in the late summer sun.

Birds in the Trough of Bowland.

In spring the Trough of Bowland echoes with the cries of moorland birds that breed here in the relatively undisturbed landscape. Peregrine Falcons are often easier to hear than spot and nest on the higher rocky sections of the Trough of Bowland. Redshanks, Lapwings, Curlews and Oystercatchers all come inland to breed here. Once when driving through the Trough of Bowland an adult Curlew flew straight at my windscreen and forced me to stop, it kept calling and flying at the car. I then noticed some fluffy little dark chicks in the reeds by the side of the road and one chick on the other side alone. Once the remaining chick had crossed the road I was allowed to drive on.

Short eared owls can sometimes be seen hunting for voles and small rabbits during the day in the Trough of Bowland. Hen Harriers too frequent the area and you may be lucky enough to see the spectacular food pass between a hunting male and a female.

Insects in the Trough of Bowland

The Trough of Bowland is also a popular area for Grouse shooting and the manangement of the moorland and reduced grazing pressures have led to the predominance of Heather,Bilberry and Bracken which provide cover and food for birds, mammals and insects. Look out for Emperor Moth and Common Heath caterpillars feeding on the new heather shoots and Green Hairstreak butterly and Northern Spinach moth caterpillars feeding on the shoots of young Bilberry. Other striking insects to look out for are the Green Tiger Beetle and Oil Beetles.

Green Hairstreak Butterfly in the Trough of Bowland
Green Hairstreak Butterfly
Brown Silver Line Moth in the Trough of Bowland
Brown Silver Line Moth
Tiger Beetle in the Trough og Bowland
Green Tiger Beetle