Walk: Gisburn Forest

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Check out www.forestofbowland.com for more information about this and other trails. The Forest of Bowland tramper can be hired from The Hub at nearby Stephen Park. Telephone 01200 446533. The suggested donation is £15 per day.

In recent years Lancashire County Council working in partnership with the countryside services of its boroughs – the Forest of Bowland, United Utilities, the Forestry Commission and others – has opened up a number of ‘tramper’ trails over the county.

A tramper is a robust motorised buggy especially designed to travel on off road tracks.

Across the county but particularly in the Forest of Bowland there are a number of sites where trampers can be hired (often at a nominal fee) allowing those that use them access to Lancashire’s wonderful (and under-rated) countryside.

This week we feature a tramper trail in the Gisburn Forest. (Details of hire explained left).

The Gisburn Forest is unusual in the wider area of the Forest of Bowland in that it is a forest – that is it has trees! Lots of them.

Those readers familiar with the Forest of Bowland will know that much of it is characterised by a lack of trees – the term ‘forest’ referring to the area’s past as a royal hunting park.

Now this whole area – forest and reservoir – is an outdoor playground.

Apart from the place’s obvious attraction to walkers there is a fishery on the reservoir and the Forest of Gisburn is a magnet to mountain bikers.

As will be seen on the trail this is one of the best places in Lancashire for bird watching with wildfowl and waders out on the water and then an impressive range of species attracted to woodland habitats.

Facing Stocks Reservoir take the footpath in the right corner which is the start of the circular walk.

This passes first the picnic area and then a tramper friendly track to a bird watching hide.

Almost 800yds from the start at a marker post turn right onto a much narrower track entering woods.

In a little over 200yds this arrives at a junction in more open ground. Turn right.

Now on a broader track keep ahead through tall trees.

Keep on the track as it swings right crossing a culvert and descends through broadleaf woodland to bring you back on the footpath close to the car park.

Turn left.