BOWLAND AND PENDLE have long been jointly designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. An isolated upland area, just west of the Pennines, it is within an hour's drive for more than five million people in East Lancashire and West Yorkshire. In increasing numbers they come to enjoy its unsullied landscape, unpolluted rivers and virtually intact rural heritage. In the deep little dales between its heath-capped hills, the villages and farms, of local stone, look like outcrops .The Forest of Bowland was a royal hunting ground in which no king ever hunted, though the royal connection lingers through the Duchy of Lancaster. The Parker family of Browsholme owe their surname to their ancient association with a deer-park. Pendle Hill, which stands in grand isolation, was described by a 17th-century poet as a 'rownd cop, surveying all ye wilde moore lands'. In the 17th century the famous Pendle Witches flourished. Living on the south side of the hill, they were not true hill folk, but a report of their trial at Lancaster adds to the rich traditions of the area. The author, a celebrated authority on both the history and the natural history of the area, has here produced the definitive account of Bowland and Pendle Hill in a very entertaining text, illuminated by a superb selection of illustrations. Shielded from the outer world by its moorland tracts and still conserving some of the best elements of English rural life, this fascinating 'back-water', said by the Ordnance Survey to be the geographical centre of Britain, is now splendidly explored and explained. There are many in Lancashire and Yorkshire - and much further afield - who will be grateful to Dr Mitchell and will warmly welcome his book.