Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival is a family friendly festival with a difference.
Cloudspotting doesn’t happen in a field, loaned by the farmer addressing a need for agricultural diversification. It doesn’t take place in a town or city park, creating a temporary world in an urban environment. Cloudspotting takes place in the heart of Gisburn Forest, part of the Forest of Bowland, a landscape recognised as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
There are 33 AONBs in England, designated in recognition of their national importance and to ensure that their flora, fauna, views, historical and cultural associations are protected for all to enjoy. Living and working landscapes, all beautiful, all different, each AONB has been awarded its designation with individually special qualities.
Forest of Bowland AONB designation
The Forest of Bowland received it’s designation in 1964 and has several attributes that contribute to it’s outstanding natural beauty:
- the grandeur and isolation of the upland core
- the steep escarpments of the Moorland Hills
- the undulating lowlands
- the visual contrasts between each element of the overall landscape
- the serenity and tranquillity of the area
- the distinctive pattern of settlements
- the wildlife and the landscape’s historic and cultural associations
Sounds beautiful doesn’t it.
Gisburn Forest is a working and dynamic forest owned by United Utilities, created and managed by the Forestry Commission. At 3000 acres in size, Gisburn Forest is not only home to Cloudspotting Festival but is a magnet to mountain bikers, walkers, birdwatchers, naturalists and horse riders. Gisburn Forest Bike Trails are home to some of the best mountain bike runs in the country. Glide easily along mellow trail by Bottoms Beck, twist and shout through Park Wood, dance with your bike down Hully Gully or grit your teeth and rush down the Bigfoot slab. From blue to black runs, everyone should find something that will make them grin.
Our forest is truly beautiful and if you want to see more for yourself before you come to Cloudspotting, have a look at this video produced by local resident and regular visitor to the forest, Tom Pope who captures the beauty and accessibility of the site. Tom has some stunning aerial shots of the festival site and you can see how our little clearing sits so perfectly into the undulating hills of the surrounding landscape. If you like what you see, have a look at his other films from the forest, including a fantastic 2 hour circular walk which starts on the festival site and takes in Stocks Reservoir and other beautiful forest locations.
But how is the forest friendly?
We always knew that Gisburn Forest was welcoming to our audience at Cloudspotting but we didn’t realise it’s because trees have their own social networks, deep underground, communicating through their roots via fungal networks. Our forest has an abundance of different trees growing in it including spruce, pine, larch, birch, ash, oak, beech, sycamore and many more, all communicating, all developing and adjusting to the environment. Suzanne Simard, a Canadian forest ecologist has produced this Ted Talk explaining the complex system of communication in easy layman’s terms. These talks give you a modern take on the traditional fairytale view of the forest and how it was shelter and protector to those in need.
Love your forest in 4 easy steps
According to Suzanne Simard there are four steps that we should take to support the life and developments of our forest against the effects of deforestation and global warming;
- Love the forest – spend time in it and connect with it
- Learn how they work – understand how important they are and recognise the vital importance they have to our environments
- Protect them. They cannot defend themselves. They are rooted to the spot, they cannot flee from danger and harm.
- Use our own networks, just like the trees do to spread the word.
We like to think that Cloudspotting Festival is unique from all the other festivals out there. Not only is it in the most beautiful location where we openly encourage you to explore the surroundings and not fence you into the festival site. But we also make sure that once you arrive you have the space and peace to enjoy our fantastic programme and activities. But don’t just take our word for it. Come, connect with nature and experience it for yourself.