A COVETED European Charter for sustainable tourism in protected areas has been awarded for the second time to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It remains the only protected area in England to achieve this honour.
It was presented by Carol Ritchie, director of the EUROPARC Federation, and received on behalf of the Forest of Bowland AONB by County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of the county council, who is chairman of the AONB’s joint advisory committee.
The charter is awarded to protected areas which improve the sustainable development and management of tourism, and which ensure that this takes account of the needs of the environment, local residents, businesses and visitors.
The Forest of Bowland AONB Unit has been working closely with tourism businesses in the area for more than five years.
The area is becoming well known as a sustainable destination for high-quality but low-impact holidays, and offering excellent opportunities for walking, cycling and bird watching.
Carol Ritchie said: “The Forest of Bowland AONB is leading the way in working with tourism businesses.
“We are impressed with their partnership approach and the good practice they promote. We hope the AONB will continue to go from strength to strength, and be a shining beacon to other Charter areas in the UK.”
County Coun. Atkinson, who represents Ribble Valley North East, said: “This award demonstrates that the Forest of Bowland AONB is implementing a strategic approach to working with local communities and tourism businesses to deliver tourism that complements and helps to promote our beautiful landscape, its wildlife and heritage, as well as supporting local employment and produce.”
The charter was awarded at the Tithe Barn, at Browsholme Hall, and as part of the day’s proceedings local tourism entrepreneurs were also recognised for their contribution to making businesses more sustainable.
All of these operations are European Charter partner businesses, and the Ribble Valley owners who were presented with their Green Tourism awards included: Bowland Wild Boar Park, Chipping (Silver award); Clough Bottom Farm Cottages, Bashall (Gold award); Higher Gills Farm, Rimington (Gold award);Spring Head Farm cottages, Bolton by Bowland (Bronze award); Waddow Hall, Waddington (Silver award); Wolfen Mill county retreats (Silver award).