Forest of Bowland groups are celebrating the 50th anniversary of its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Covering 800 square kilometres (300 sq miles) of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire, Bowland’s distinctive landscape of high open fells, steep-sided cloughs and rich green lowlands was recognised as being among the finest in the country and given its official status on February 10, 1964.

Today, the AONB is managed by a partnership of public, private and voluntary organisations working together to protect and enhance the qualities which make the Forest of Bowland such a special place. The anniversary has been marked by the publication of a special edition of Discover Bowland, packed with information for residents and visitors alike. It is available from visitor information centres and local venues.

This year’s Festival Bowland programme will celebrate the anniversary year by featuring 50 key events. Plans include an awards ceremony to recognise the work of the many groups, businesses and individuals dedicated to the forest.