Classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it covers 808 square Kilometers of rural Lancashire and North Yorkshire.
The Forest of Bowland is internationally important for its upland bird populations and under the Habitats Directive "Bowland Fells" are designated a Special Protection Area for specific birds of prey.
The Forest of Bowland may be an SPA, but raptors like Hen Harrier and Peregrine Falcon receive no protection.
In 2009 - 25 Peregrine territories in the Forest of Bowland were examined by the NWRG. 17 sites were occupied, 6 nests failed following the loss of eggs, chicks and adult birds. A total of 11 territories produced 24 fledged young.
In 2010 the Government’s Wildlife Adviser, Natural England, withdrew Peregrine licenses for use in the Forest of Bowland from members of the NWRG, following the group’s disclosure on social media of wide scale raptor persecution throughout this moorland region, where Red Grouse are shot. Other licenses issued to group members since 1974, covering additional raptor species including Peregrine for areas outside the Forest of Bowland remained unaffected.
By 2016, 99% of Bowland Peregrine nesting territories were found abandoned.
The loss of an entire regional population of Peregrines (18 pairs) from the Forest of Bowland is unprecedented.
To protect these Peregrines, the NWRG need your help to purchase the following urgently needed kit: Go-Pro camera - 2 mountain bikes - radio transceivers & infra-red night vision goggles.
Throughout the last 43 years members of the North West Raptor Group have self-funded their work.
If the killing of Peregrines continues, they will be lost forever, not only from the Forest of Bowland but also from the rest of England's northern uplands, where Red Grouse are shot for sport.