A new mobile app, which offers a timely get-out-of-your-armchair challenge with an invitation to discover more about the history of the Forest of Bowland, is now available.
The free digital guide has been produced by the Heritage Lottery-funded ‘A Leap in the Park’ project, run by the Forest of Bowland AONB (Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty) and local history enthusiasts.
Using an audio guide and an interactive map, the phone app (available in both android and Apple versions) leads you around two medieval deer parks and show how the area used to look 600 years ago.
A mixture of illustrations, photographs and historic documents also feature.
There are two six-mile deer park walks, one at Leagram near Chipping and the other at Radholme, near Whitewell.
Users learn how the parks were once part of the Royal Forest of Bowland and were patrolled by the park keepers and staff to keep valuable fallow deer in and poachers out.
Over time the parks fell out of use, but their history can still be read in the local landscape today, where you can see remnants of the park boundary, or pale, and identify place names such as Park Gate and Pale Farm.
The project has also created a new website about the deer parks and information boards are being made.
Meanwhile a 10ft section of pale fencing has been re-created.
Our photo, by Graham Cooper, shows a section of pale which has been reproduced by Richard Atton and volunteers. The pale is in the community wildlife garden behind St Mary’s Church in Chipping.
The app is available from the AONB website www.forestofbowland.com/aleapinthepark.
Routes for short walks in the area, around Leagram Laund and from Whitewell to Browsholme, can also be downloaded from the AONB site.
Materials created for and used in the project, such as reconstruction illustrations, were shown at a project open day at St Mary’s church hall, Chipping before Christmas.Preston’s Harris Art Gallery has watercolour paintings of the Leagram estate painted by John Weld in the 1840s, so the project workers had good local materials to reference.
* Bowland was designated in an AONB in 1964.