CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

The Bowland Explorer

The second year of a venture between the Leeds, Lancaster & Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (LLMCRP) the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company (DBCIC) and the Forest of Bowland AONB has brought about a further innovation for the Bentham Line.

The Bowland Explorer – an integrated minibus service – will connect with Bentham Line rail services from Leeds and Morecambe and at Bentham station, on Sundays from 27th May to 30th September 2018. At the other end of its route the Bowland Explorer will connect with Clitheroe Line rail services to and from Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn (connections for Preston). The service will also operate on Bank Holiday Mondays in late May and August.

With the Explorer service starting early on Sunday mornings from Lancaster station, it can also act as a ‘rail-bus’ 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. The Bowland Explorer minibus service will also provide a link to the Yorkshire Dales at Ingleton and Clapham.

In addition to the journeys to and from Lancaster station and Bentham the Explorer service will operate three return services through the AONB with two of them going through to Clitheroe and the third to Gisburn Forest Hub.

The Forest of Bowland AONB is planning a series of walks and country activities to complement the Bowland Explorer service at various points along the route during the summer. Numerous self-guided walks are available throughout the AONB along with the CRP’s award-winning Rail to Trail programme between and from the Bowland Gateway stations at Wennington, Bentham, Clapham and Giggleswick. Whether it be a fell or forest walk, a gentle stroll, a mountain bike ride, Sunday lunch in a country pub or afternoon tea by the river, here is a new range of leisure opportunities.

Bowland Explorer Leaflet – click the link to download the full leaflet

Bowland Explorer Timetable – click the link to download the timetable

Bowland Explorer Country – a gallery of photographs along the route

Read a feature article by outdoor adventure blogger Mark Sutcliffe as he discovers the benefits of the Bowland Explorer experience – click the link here:


Pictured above at a launch event for the Bowland Explorer at Bentham Station, from left to right: David Alder, LLMCRP Treasurer, Catherine Huddleston, Community Rail Partnership Officer, Colin Speakman, Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company, Gerald Townson, Chair LLMCRP and Paul Chattwood, DBCIC