National Character Area 33

Bowland Fringe and Pendle Hill - Detailed Statements of Environmental Opportunity

This section expands on the Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity and provides further detail on each of the Statements of Environmental Opportunity.


SEO 1: Protect and enhance the distinctive landscape character of the Bowland Fringe and Pendle Hill NCA for its sense of place, historical and cultural heritage, tranquillity, accessibility and recreational opportunities.

For example by:

  • Encouraging the conservation and restoration of the managed landscapes of isolated country houses – in particular the woodland belts and estate fencing.
  • Conserving and managing traditional stone farm buildings and artefacts, ensuring the use of local styles and materials in order to maintain the historic and rural character of the countryside and built environment of rural settlements.
  • Conserving significant archaeological sites as part of the evidence for the area’s development from the medieval period and earlier.
  • Managing development (especially around the fringes of the NCA), in order to maintain the rural character of the landscape, tranquillity and sense of remoteness. Protecting the area from development on ridgelines and hilltops, to maintain the predominantly open character of the landscape.
  • Promoting enjoyment, awareness and understanding of the NCA, particularly around less well-known sites and features, to relieve pressure on busier destinations (especially Beacon Fell, Brockbottom, Jeffrey Hill and Kemple End), in order to maintain existing levels of tranquillity, remoteness and landscape character.
  • Sympathetically managing recreational sites to enhance visitors’ experience and their enjoyment of contact with the natural environment, while managing erosion and traffic, to benefit landscape and wildlife.
  • Using the Pennine Bridleway and the network of paths to gain access to, reveal and interpret the area’s rich history.


SEO 2: Safeguard, manage and enhance the area’s important habitats, including blanket bog, wet heath, waterbodies and woodland, to provide benefits for climate change, flood regulation, soil quality and erosion, and water quality.

For example by:

  • Ensuring that all areas of blanket bog are under good environmental management. Ensuring good vegetative cover and reducing high rates of run-off by restoring the hydrology and ecology of peat habitats. Re-vegetate bare peat.
  • Managing the moorland fringe in order to maintain the mosaic of landscape features of the rolling upland farmland, including hay meadows and grasslands used by breeding waders.
  • Encouraging sustainable grazing regimes to avoid poaching of soils and to aid water infiltration.
  • Protecting, restoring and managing the semi-natural woodland. Much of this is ancient, occuring in the main valley bottoms, side valleys and ridges, and is dominated by oak, ash and alder.
  • Restructuring conifer plantations to increase broadleaved component and to soften edges.
  • Exploring opportunities to plant new native woodlands appropriate to the area’s character. Ensuring that woodland expansion avoids peat, and avoids impacting on other sites of biodiversity or historic value.
  • Exploring opportunities to get existing woodland into management for local woodland products and wood fuel supply.


SEO 3: Manage and enhance the landscape character and biodiversity of the farmed environment with its mosaic of pastures and meadows, and strong field patterns defined by drystone walls and hedgerows, to improve ecological networks and strengthen landscape character.

For example by:

  • Conserving and restoring semi-natural and species-rich hay meadows, particularly in the flood plain and farmed landscapes, to counter the effects of intensification.
  • Managing pastures in ways that build up organic matter and avoid compaction.
  • Avoiding carrying out mechanised activities (such as trafficking) that will cause compaction of soils, especially in wet conditions.
  • Managing nutrients on farmsteads and improved pastures, targeting applications to maximise uptake and minimise run-off.
  • Conserving and restoring the field boundaries defined by hedgerows, drystone walls, boundary trees and metal estate railings, in order to reduce the enlargement of fields, replacement with stock fencing and lack of management.
  • Addressing the restoration and management of the characteristic field ponds north of Preston.


SEO 4: Retain riparian and wetland habitats, and ensure that they are well managed and well connected to the high density of waterbodies. Enhance the network to further increase biodiversity, improve its ability to buffer pollution, increase flood mitigation and improve water quality.

For example by:

  • Conserving and managing the numerous watercourses and bodies, including the rivers Ribble, Hodder, Calder, Wyre and Lune, as well as a number of reservoirs and field ponds north of Preston.
  • Restoring and managing field ponds and wetlands throughout the valley flood plain and undulating lowland farmland. Using quarry restoration as an opportunity for wetland and other habitat creation.
  • Managing blanket bog and rushy upland pasture, and conserving it from degradation, which results in increased run-off to streams and rivers, river bank erosion and deterioration in downstream water quality.
  • Seeking opportunities that will allow rivers to follow their natural course and re-engage with their flood plain.
  • Encouraging the management and restoration of riparian woodland for protection against river bank erosion and for their value as habitat corridors.
  • Protecting water quality through the use of extensive grazing and permanent grassland creation adjacent to watercourses to reduce run-off.
  • Managing nutrients on farmsteads and improved pastures, targeting applications to maximise uptake and minimise run-off.

Additional opportunity 1

Additional opportunity 1: Protect the strong relationship between landscape and the underlying geology, the land use it supports and its significance to the cultural identity of the area.

For example by:

  • Maintaining key views of landform and geological features, and using semi-natural land cover to enhance and support biodiversity (but not obscuring landform features).
  • Keeping important geological exposures – such as quarry faces, cuttings, outcrops and stream sections – visible and, where appropriate, accessible.