The Beacon Fell Country Park, which is simply known as Beacon Fell, is a breathtaking natural space in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting the stunning country park. This will include information about several fantastic walks you can do in Beacon Fell Country Park.
Anyway, before reading this guide, feel free to watch our Forest of Bowland hiking video (coming soon). The video features footage of the Beacon Fell Walk that Beck and I did.
Table of Contents
Beacon Fell Country Park
The gorgeous Beacon Fell Country Park has existed since 1970 and is currently managed by the Lancashire City Council. The country park is around 100 hectares (271 acres) and features a mix of woodland, moorland and farmland.
Ultimately, the natural spaces found in the country park have made excellent habitats for a number of wildlife. During a visit, you may be lucky enough to see hares, rabbits, roe deer, stout and weasels. There is also a high number of dragonflies and damselflies found near the ponds and the Tarn in the country park. Up to 11 species of dragonflies and damselflies have been spotted.
The country park reaches a height of around 266 metres above sea level. So, from the summit of Beacon Fell, you’ll enjoy superb views of the surrounding Forest of Bowland as well as coastal views of Morecambe Bay.
History of Beacon Fell
Beacon Fell has an interesting history. Before becoming a country park, the fell was an excellent location for a beacon, that was installed in the 16th century, to warn of the incoming Spanish Armada. The height of the fell provided a strategic vantage point to overlook the Irish Sea. This all explains the name – Beacon Fell.
So, exactly where is Beacon Fell located?
Map and Address For Beacon Fell Country Park
Beacon Fell Country Park is located in the Forest of Bowland AONB, in Lancashire, in the northwest of England.
Address: Carwags Lane, Preston, PR3 2ES
How to Get to Beacon Fell (Directions) and Parking
The easiest and quickest way to get to the country park is to drive there yourself. In terms of directions, you can simply head to the country park’s main car park at the Bowland Visitor Centre. Parking is only £1 per day. Charges apply every day between 9am and 5pm. Overnight parking isn’t allowed.
There are also many car parks dotted along the southern parameters of the country park. As far as we’re aware, these alternate parking areas are free of charge. For instance, the Sheepfold Picnic Area isn’t located too far from the Bowland Visitor Centre and has a free parking area for around half a dozen cars or so.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
It’s possible to get to the country park using public transport. You could get a train to either Blackburn or Preston from Manchester. You’d then need to get a series of buses, which will eventually get you to the bus stop at St James Church. From there, you’re looking at an approx. 2km to get to the visitor centre. We recommend using Trainline and Google Maps to help plan your journey.
Despite public transport being an option, we recommend driving (if that’s possible) as it’s much less time-consuming.
Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.
Beacon Fell Walks
At Beacon Fell, you’ll find plenty of great walks. There are numerous trails throughout the park, all offering something a little different in terms of natural beauty. Below, you’ll find information about all of the trails in the country park. We’ll then talk about the Beacon Fell Walk that Beck and I did, which combined a number of trails.
In reality, many of the trails are interconnected and share the same path at some point. So, it’s unlikely that you’ll strictly do one walk, and then the other. You’ll likely do a combination of trails, at the one time, and simply cover most of the trails, by walking around the country park. For your convenience, you’ll find the Beacon Fell map below, which shows the various walks and trails on offer.
Out of all of the walks at Beacon Fell, the most popular walk is the Summit Trail. So, let’s start there.
Summit Trail: Beacon Fell Trig Point
Starting from the visitor centre, the Summit Trail (Yellow) leads you straight to the highest point in the country park. At the summit, you’ll find the Beacon Fell trig point. You’ll also enjoy splendid views of the country park and the surrounding landscape.
The Woodland Trail takes you through several different woods. From the visitor centre, you’ll pass Middle Wood, before continuing to the summit of the country park. The Woodland Trail then heads further north and circles the western side of the park, passing Tarn Wood, Black Tiger Wood and Shield Wood as it loops back to the visitor centre.
From the visitor centre, the Fellside Trail follows the northernmost trail, which circles around the park, eventually passing the serene Tarn. From The Tarn, the trail cuts through the middle of the park, passing Tarn Wood and Summit Wood, heading as far west as Dewpond Wood and Starling Wood, which are both located near the visitor centre.
You’ll also find a Sculpture Trail that was designed by local artist Thompson Dagnall. The Sculpture Trail follows along sections of the Summit Trail, Fellside Trail and Woodland Trail. Along this route, you’ll find sculptures made from local materials. Keep an eye out for the Heron, Walking Snake, Owl, Living Willow Deer, Black Tiger and Lizard Love Seat.
Beacon Fell Walk: Route Information (Combining Trails)
As mentioned, most visitors will walk along multiple trails as they explore the country park. Roughly speaking, Beck and I followed along the Summit Trail and then Woodland Trail in a clockwise direction.
Once we arrived back at the visitor centre, we then followed the Sculpture Trail and then some of the Fellside Trail. As such, there isn’t a specified Beacon Fell Walk that we recommend. We simply recommend getting lost in the country park and following along as many trails as you like.
For a rough idea of the combined Summit and Woodland Trails Beacon Fell Walk, click here. This circular walk, accessing the summit, is around 3.4km (2 miles) long, taking less than an hour.
Facilities and Amenities
There are excellent facilities and amenities at the country park. You’ll find a toilet block at the country’s park main car park next to the visitor centre and cafe.
Beacon Fell Visitor Centre (Bowland Visitor Centre) and Cafe
The Beacon Fell Visitor Centre (AKA Bowland Visitor Centre) is a fantastic visitor centre with educational exhibitions. Certainly, head to the visitor centre for more information about the country park, including details about its history, flora and fauna.
You’ll also find the Beacon Fell Cafe located next to the visitor centre. After exploring the country park, we highly recommend heading there for a drink or for a bite to eat.
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Beacon Fell Country Park.
DJI Air 2S
Is Beacon Fell Open?
Generally speaking, the country park is open every day, all year round.
What Are the Opening Times For Beacon Fell?
The opening hours aren’t so clear. Roughly speaking, the country park is open from dusk to dawn, every day of the year. Because overnight stays are prohibited, sometimes access to the park is limited from 6am to 10pm or dusk, whichever is earlier. Indeed, sometimes gates are locked to prohibit access. Other times, it seems no gates are in use. So, in theory, sometimes, there aren’t any time access restrictions. Just in case the gates are closed, we recommend arriving after 6am.
Keep in mind, there are opening hours for the visitor centre and cafe. They’re only open from around 10:30am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, and around 10am to 7pm on the weekend. But, these times are subject to change, with a usually earlier closing time during winter.
What Is the Beacon Fell Postcode?
What’s the Price of Entry For Beacon Fell?
It’s free to enter the country park. You’ll just need to pay for parking if you park at the main car park at the visitor centre.
What’s the Dog Policy at Beacon Fell?
The country park doesn’t forbid dogs. Please just ensure doggo is kept under close control and out of the wildlife ponds.
Does Beacon Fell Have Any Awards?
The Bowland Visitor Centre was awarded the prestigious gold standard award by the Green Tourism Business Scheme because of the quality of information on display at the visitor centre. The country park has also been awarded Dark Sky Discovery site status.
What’s Nearby in the Forest of Bowland
The Forest of Bowland has many other gorgeous natural spaces. Below, is a list of other great destinations to visit and walks to do in the Forest of Bowland.
- Pendle Hill: by far, this is the most popular place to explore in the Forest of Bowland. Most people start the walk from Barley.
- Pendle Hill Sculpture Trail: this is a shorter and easier trail you can do from Barley, compared with the Pendle Hill Walk.
- Stocks Reservoir: located next to Gisburn Forest, the reservoir provides a lovely natural setting for a circular walk.
- Tolkien Trail: follow this historical trail in the eyes of J. R. R. Tolkien.
- Trough of Bowland: we recommend experiencing the wonderful Trough of Bowland by doing a circular walk in the area.
- Bowland Knotts: a great place we recommend visiting for sunrise.
- Clougha Pike Walk: one of our favourite walks in the Forest of Bowland which provides great coastal views.
- Parlick Fell Circular Walk: a walk that visits both Parlick Fell and Fair Snape Fell.
- Nicky Nook: visit Wyresdale Park to summit Nicky Nook and then head to the charming Applestore Cafe afterwards.
- Longridge Fell: the southernmost fell in England isn’t located too far away!
- Wolfhole Crag and Wards Stone Walk: summit the third highest fell and the highest point in the Forest of Bowland!
Where to Stay
Beacon Fell camping and accommodation: although not located in the country park itself, Beacon Fell View Holiday Park (AKA Beacon Fell Caravan Park and Beacon Fell View) provides exceptional views of the fell. Positioned next to Dilworth Upper Reservoir in the Ribble Valley, you’ll enjoy a truly picturesque setting. As mentioned, you can’t actually camp or stay overnight in the country park itself as overnight access is prohibited.
These are our gear essentials for doing walks at Beacon Fell.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Further Information and Bonus Tips
- Beacon Fell weather: check Mountain Forecast for the latest weather forecast. Otherwise, check the weather for Longridge on the Met Office or BBC Weather.
- Explore other country parks in the north of England: don’t just stop at this country park. Make sure to also check out Tandle Hill Country Park and Rivington Pike (AKA Rivington Country Park).