Student life in Lancaster:

Bowland College

One of the largest Lancaster colleges with great access to the university campus lecture theatres and other amenities.



Bowland college maintains its popularity as one of the largest colleges on campus, whilst also situated in a central location for easy access to lecture theatres and amenities on the university campus. Bowland college is split into several accommodation blocks, with Bowland Main Quad home to the popular student common room along with its very own laundrette. The college has a number of sports clubs and societies as well as regular annual events to get involved in. The college has an elected undergraduate council, which helps to run and manage the college on behalf of the students.


As the first college to be completed on the Bailrigg site, Bowland college remains the oldest college on campus, founded in 1964. Bowland was built alongside Lonsdale college, with these two colleges being the first to take in new students in Autumn 1964, who moved from their old residencies in the Waring and Gillow factory. The original Lonsdale college building was taken over by what is now known as Bowland North in 2004, as Lonsdale moved its position on campus. Whilst Bowland college was one of the smaller colleges for a number of years, it has now expanded to become the third largest college on campus, mainly due to its location and plethora of accommodation facilities for students. In 2011, the college was refurbished, along with the Trough of Bowland bar, which still remains the oldest college bar on campus.


The Bowland Name

The two original colleges, Bowland and Lonsdale were originally named after local places of interest, as agreed at the time by the Senate. Bowland college is aptly named after the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, situated just east of Lancaster. The Trough of Bowland, was a part of the route between Clitheroe and Lancaster Castle, taken on horseback by the assize judges. The Bowland Lady logo for Bowland college, represents the personification of the Forest of Bowland, originally taken from a map by William Hole, for the poem Poly-Olbion in 1622. The map famously sits behind the bar of the Trough of Bowland on campus and a copy of the poem can be found in the main library.

The Forest of Bowland

The Forest of Bowland, to which Bowland college is named after, is an area of valleys, peat moorland and gritstone fells, situated in north-east Lancashire and a small area of North Yorkshire. The Forest of Bowland has been a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) since 1964; the same year the Bowland college was founded. This large area is divided by the Ribble Valley, separating The Forest of Bowland from the Forest of Pendle, famous for Pendle Hill, which attracts thousands of tourists each year. The Trough of Bowland, as it is sometimes mistakenly referred to, is actually a pass which connects Marshaw Wyre and Langden Brook and was used by people to travel on horseback from Clitheroe to Lancaster. The popular Trough of Bowland, otherwise known as the Bowland Bar on campus, takes its name from this ancient pass.



With a total of 650 study rooms across several sites, Bowland college offers standard accommodation in the heart of Alexandra Square on campus, within the buildings of Bowland Main, Bowland South and Bowland East. Ash House, Bowland Halls and Slaidburn House, provide a range of premium and en-suite accommodation on the perimeter of the campus, perfect for small groups and families. Rising above Lancaster university campus, in what is known as Bowland Tower, boasts 5 floors of superior en-suite accommodation.


Bowland college offers a number of social and sporting events to get involved in, which is a great way of trying new things and getting to know other students while at university. The Junior Common Room (JCR) Exec, organise regular social events throughout the calendar year, from quizzes and games nights to creative socials, such as pottery and art. Bowland also runs the annual winter ball and the Extrav festival in the summer.

You can also get involved in a wide range of sports at Bowland college, including football, netball, table tennis and much more! Bowland takes part regularly in inter-college sports leagues with team trials at the start of term, if you’re interested in taking part. Founders is one of the largest annual sporting events, celebrating the traditional friendly rivalry between the two founding colleges of Bowland and Lonsdale. There are also a wealth of other inter-college events and competitions, such as the inter-college quiz, sustainability challenge, annual debating competition and baking competition, to name just a few.


Alumni of Bowland college includes; Matthew Fort, journalist and TV food critic, graduating in 1968 having studied English, Jon Colman, award winning journalist and author, graduating in 2001 having read English. The managing director of Waitrose, Mark Price graduated in Classics and Archaeology in 1982 and the Olympic gold medallist, Jason Queally MBE followed suit in 1992, graduating in Biological Sciences.

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