High Bowland Forest is a civil parish in the Ribble Valley District of Lancashire, England, covering some 20,000 acres of the Forest of Bowland. Before 1974, it formed part of Bowland Rural District in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Historically, High Bowland Forest was in the ecclesiastical parish of Slaidburn in Staincliffe Wapentake.
The parish includes the settlements of Hareden, Sykes, and Dunsop Bridge. It covers Sykes Fell, Whins Brow, Croasdale Fell and Wolfhole Crag. According to the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 163.
Historic Bowland comprised a Royal Forest and a Liberty of ten manors spanning eight townships and four parishes and covered an area of almost on the historic borders of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The manors within the Liberty were Slaidburn (Newton-in-Bowland, West Bradford, Grindleton), Knowlmere, Waddington, Easington, Bashall, Mitton, Withgill (Crook), Leagram (Bowland-with-Leagram), Hammerton and Dunnow (Battersby). Modern-day Bowland Forest is divided into two large administrative townships - Great Bowland (Bowland Forest High and Bowland Forest Low) and Little Bowland (Bowland-with-Leagram) - but the Forest was much more extensive in previous times.
St Hubert, the patron saint of hunting, is also patron saint of the Forest of Bowland and has a chapel dedicated to him in Dunsop Bridge. This chapel was founded by Richard Eastwood of Thorneyholme, land agent to the Towneley family. Eastwood was the last Bowbearer of the Forest of Bowland during the nineteenth century. An acclaimed breeder of racehorses and shorthorn cattle, he died in 1871 and is buried at St Hubert's.
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of High Bowland Forest from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72: