Bowland Explorer will connect rural communities

Left to right: David Alder, LMCRP Treasurer, Catherine Huddleston, Partnership Officer, Colin Speakman, DBCIC, Gerald Townson, LMCRP Chairman, and Paul Chattwood, DBCIC, before recent discussions at Bentham station.
Left to right: David Alder, LMCRP Treasurer, Catherine Huddleston, Partnership Officer, Colin Speakman, DBCIC, Gerald Townson, LMCRP Chairman, and Paul Chattwood, DBCIC, before recent discussions at Bentham station.

A new bus service running through the heart of the Forest of Bowland is to be launched at the beginning of May.

The Bowland Explorer will connect with Bentham Line rail services from Leeds and Morecambe at Bentham station, on Sundays from May 7th until September 24th.

At the other end of its route, the Bowland Explorer will connect with the Clitheroe rail line services to and from Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn and connections for Preston. The service will also operate on Bank Holiday Mondays in late May and August.

A service between Lancaster and Bentham via Caton, Hornby, Wray and Wennington station will be provided on Sunday mornings, when there is no scheduled train, before commencing Bowland duties.

In addition, the Explorer service will operate return services through the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with two of them going through to Clitheroe and the third to Gisburn Forest Hub. It will also provide a link to the Yorkshire Dales at Ingleton and Clapham.

The new venture between the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership, the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company and the Forest of Bowland AONB has brought about this further innovation.

The Explorer will enable both local residents and visitors to enjoy the beautiful landscape, whilst also linking villages and hamlets with the public transport network, in some cases for the first time in decades.

Sandra Silk for The Forest of Bowland AONB said: “We are planning a series of walks and activities to complement the Bowland Explorer service at various points along the route during the summer. Numerous self-guided walks are available throughout the AONB, whether it be a fell or forest walk, a gentle stroll, a mountain bike ride, Sunday lunch in a country pub or afternoon tea by the river, here is a new range of leisure opportunities.”

Full details about the service, timetable, fares and activities is available at stations and tourist information centres, and on the partners’ websites.