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Bowland Knotts: The Ultimate Guide To An Epic Sunrise Hike

Bowland Knotts: The Ultimate Guide To An Epic Sunrise Hike

The Bowland Knotts is found in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This underrated and less-explored vantage point is a superb place to enjoy sunrise any time of year. Accessing the Bowland Knotts is super easy, involving only a short walk from the roadside. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Bowland Knotts. In particular, we’ll cover information about the easy sunrise hike, where it’s located and how to get there. We’ll also show you some amazing aerial sunrise photos.

Anyway, before you read this guide, feel free to watch our Forest of Bowland hiking video (coming soon). For your convenience, when you press play below, it’ll start at the section showing the Bowland Knotts.

We hope you find this guide helpful. For other great walks in the Forest of Bowland, read our guides on the Stocks Reservoir, Trough of Bowland and Clougha Pike trails. Otherwise, feel free to read our informative Forest of Bowland Visitor’s Guide or our huge 29 Best Lancashire Walks Guide.

What Is the Bowland Knotts?

The Bowland Knotts is a rocky outcrop in the Forest of Bowland AONB, which makes for a decent vantage point of the area. It’s located just a stone’s throw away from Keasden Road, which means it’s very easy to reach. In particular, the Bowland Knotts is a great place to watch sunrise. From the roadside, the rocky outcrop is only a short 700 metre walk away. So, you won’t have to set off too early to arrive at the Bowland Knotts, in time for sunrise.

Of course, there are longer hikes that you can do, which involve exploring the Bowland Knotts. You could get to the Bowland Knotts, starting from Clapham, Stocks Reservoir or from the Cross of Greet Bridge. One of the most well-known trail options which involves exploring the Bowland Knotts is a loop, which starts at the Cross of Greet Bridge and also takes in Raven’s Castle and Cloven Stones. But, we’ve heard this trail option, and other long hikes in this area, are usually extremely boggy – even during summer.

So, if you’re keen on an epic sunrise and want to avoid a boggy old walk, we recommend doing this short out and back walk to the Bowland Knotts from Keasden Road at the crack of dawn. So, where exactly in the United Kingdom is the Bowland Knotts located?

Is the Bowland Knotts Located in Lancashire or Yorkshire?

Well, both. Since 1974, the Bowland Knotts lies directly on the Lancashire/Yorkshire county border. Before this time, the rocky outcrop was located in the West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1974, the county of Lancashire gained all of the Forest of Bowland AONB area. This meant the Bowland Knotts no longer fell solely in the Yorkshire county.

Anyway, let’s look at some details for the short walk to the rocky outcrop below.

Bowland Knotts Trail Map and Route Details

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 1.6km
  • Time: 1–1.5 hours
  • Total ascent: 35m
  • Difficulty: Very easy
  • Trailhead: Keasden Road
  • Map: Wikiloc

Sunrise at Bowland Knotts: Trail Description

The short walk to the Bowland Knotts from Keasden Road is very straightforward. At the trailhead, you’ll find some roadside parking. There’s enough space for around half a dozen cars or so. From there, you’ll find a well-defined trail, leading into the moorland. You’ll encounter a small amount of elevation gain as you reach the summit and trig point of Bowland Knotts.

Personally, Beck and I experienced a complete white-out as low-lying mist consumed our views. Thankfully, as the sun emerged, the low-lying mist began to clear and we experienced an unforgettable sunrise. Certainly, sunrise at the Bowland Knotts ranks as one of the best sunrises you can enjoy in the Forest of Bowland AONB.

After witnessing the amazing glow of sunrise, you’ll retrace your steps, heading northwards to finish the walk. Beck and I had a few more walks planned that day, so we dabbled in a bit of speed hiking on our return walk to the car.

Dan walking during early light in moorland terrain

What’s speed hiking? It’s great for improving your hiking endurance and capability. It’s also good if you’ve got a busy hiking itinerary! Find out more about it here.

How to Get to the Bowland Knotts

The simplest and quickest way to get to the trailhead for this walk is to drive there yourself. We parked for free here on the side of Keasden Road. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using You’ll find great deals and a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars. The website is user-friendly and booking online is simple and easy.

As far as we’re aware, it isn’t possible to reach Bowland Knotts using public transport. If you don’t have a car or don’t want to hire one, it’s possible to get a train from Lancaster or Preston to Clapham. From there, it’s around a 10km walk, mostly along Keasden Road, to the trailhead. To be honest, this doesn’t sound like a great option. Certainly, if you want to get to Bowland Knotts, particularly for sunrise, driving there yourself is the logical choice.

Other Things to Look Out For Nearby

There are many other great things to do in the Forest of Bowland AONB nearby the Bowland Knotts. Just down the road, you’ll find the lovely Stocks Reservoir and the Gisburn Forest. Not far from there, you’ll find the quaint village of Slaidburn. Why not stop in at the Riverbank Tea Rooms for a cup of tea and a cake? Near Slaidburn, you’ll find the charming Dunsop Bridge, which leads to the scenic Trough of Bowland drive.

Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs

If you’re a keen cyclist, you’ll find a Bowland Knotts cycling route listed in the book, Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. This book is a follow-up of the original 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs book, also known as the Top 100 climbs or 100 greatest climbs. These books detail the best cycling routes in the UK, including all of the nitty-gritty details such as average gradients and route directions.

Sunrise at Bowland Knotts

Hiking Essentials

These are our five hiking gear essentials for this walk.

It’s only a short walk, but make sure to also pack water and some breakfast, if you’re visiting at sunrise! For a longer hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Items You Must Travel With. For a general list of everything you’d need for a great trip around the UK, read our Packing Checklist.

Bonus Tips

  • Visit for sunset: we’ve heard a sunset at the Bowland Knotts is equally as impressive as a sunrise.
  • Explore the less explored: you won’t find many hiking reviews online about this short walk. Sometimes, it’s best to explore the lesser-trodden trails for a real adventure.
  • Make a day of it: there are plenty of nice things to do and see in the Forest of Bowland AONB. After doing this sunrise walk, make sure to check out more of this beautiful area.

Are you keen on exploring the Bowland Knotts? Share this guide with your hiking buddies on Facebook.

Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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