A new bus service is about to open up access to the heart of the Forest of Bowland.
Funding has been secured for The Bowland Explorer, which will allow local residents and visitors to enjoy the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and will link villages and hamlets with public transport - in some cases for the first time in decades.
The service has been made possible as a result of the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership’s bid for £4,500 to the Seed-Corn Fund of Arriva Rail North Ltd as well as funding and support from the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company (DBCIC) and the Forest of Bowland AONB.
Colin Speakman, of DBCIC, said: “It will give opportunity for so many people living in nearby towns and cities, young and old, who don’t have access to car to also be able to experience this spectacular part of England’s North Country”.
The bus is being launched on Sunday, May 7 and will run until September 24.
At one end it will connect with Bentham Line rail services from Leeds and Morecambe at Bentham station. At the other end, the bus will connect with Clitheroe Line rail services to and from Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn (with connections for Preston).
The buses start from Lancaster Station early on Sunday mornings to provide a service between Lancaster and Bentham via Caton, Hornby, Wray and Wennington station, at a time when there is no scheduled train, before commencing its Bowland duties.
It will also operate three return services through the AONB and provide a link to the Yorkshire Dales at Ingleton and Clapham.
A series of walks and country activities are also being planned to complement the service. Full details about the service, timetable, fares and activities will be available from stations and tourist information centres, and on the partners’ websites. Alternatively call 015242 98940.