The A590 Corridor Duddon Mosses Hodbarrow Askham Lots Duddon Estuary Sandscale  Haws North Walney South Walney Foulney Island Morecambe Bay Subberthwaite Sea Wood Dodgson Wood North Fen Barkbooth Lot Grizedale Forest Rusland Moss Yewbarrow Woods Roudsea Wood Bigland Mosses Humphrey Head Cunswick Scar Helsington Barrows Howe Ridding Whitbarrow Latterbarrow Witherslack Meathop Quarry Arnside Knott Gait Barrows Eaves Wood Leighton Moss Cavendish Dock Urswick Tarn Coniston Water River Crake Lake Windermere River Leven

HABITATS IN
SOUTH CUMBRIA

Click on the site numbers on the map for further information

The A590 trunk road from the M6 to Barrow-in-Furness is sometimes described as a long cul-de-sac. There is an enormous variety of natural habitats lying within 10 miles of this road on either side. There is probably as great a density and variety of Nature Resrves and SSSI's in this 30 mile stretch as anywhere in Britain.

1. DUDDON MOSSES NNR   PEAT MOSS
This extensive collection of mosses was formerly the estuary of the River Torver coming down from the Coniston Fells. There is a typical moss flora and a good selection of insects. Winter brings grazing geese, notably a large flock of Pink-footed, while wader roosts may attract Merlin, Peregrine and even Hen Harrier. Kingfishers may be spotted in autumn and the spring hedgerows can be alive with passerines arriving after migration.
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1A DUDDON VALLEY DECIDUOUS WOODLAND
A short detour upstream alongside the Duddon River brings you to Ulpha at the heart of a typical Lake District Valley. There is a splendid short walk from the Bridge via the Post Office through a woodland track to the old Bobbin Mill and back along the road to the bridge. This must be one of the finest bird-watching walks in the county in Spring - dozens of species to be heard and seen, including Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, most of the warblers and wagtails, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Dipper (if you're lucky at the bridge).

Ulpha Bobbin Mill


2. HODBARROW RSPB   OLD IRON WORKINGS
This former industrial site has lime waste tips, lagoons and scrub, which have become a rich habitat for plants (notably a large colony of Bee Orchids) and insects, an important passage site for birds, and breeding areas for Sandwich, Little and Common Terns. Also noted for Lesser Whitethroat in the shrubs near the entrance. Nearby, the former Ironworks site is now an LNR (easily accessed from Devonshire Road) and provides access to Borwick Rails for watching the estuary. This site also has Natterjack toads, Grayling butterflies, Bee orchid and the unusual Yellow-wort, a member of the gentian family found only here and at Askam in Cumbria. In early June the displays of Northern Marsh Orchid are quite incredible.

Hodbarrow and lagoon

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3. ASKAM LOTS SSSI   WASTE TIPS AND SHORE
This botanical hotspot claims the highest number of plant species (583) in any 2km x 2km square of Cumbria. Along the beach, old mine and brick slag heaps sprawl down to the shore and fresh water trickles out of springs - a minature summer paradise.
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4. DUDDON ESTUARY SSSI   SAND AND MUD FLATS
An important feeding area offering a good variety of widfowl and waders in winter, including Knot, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Sanderling. In Spring Golden Plover numbers increase on the Millom side, Whimbrel and Greenshank pass through, and several species of tern arrive to feed in the estuary prior to nesting, which can attract Skuas as predators.

Duddon Estuary from  Burney


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5. SANDSCALE HAWS NT   SAND DUNE AND DUNE SLACK
Guarding the mouth of the Duddon Estuary this splendid reserve is home to a wide range of unusual species. Noted for its orchids (Marsh orchids, Coralroot, Dune and Marsh Helleborine), it is also a good bird site, especially for waders. All six species of British amphibian have been recorded here, the Natterjact Toad being a speciality of the reserve. Butterflies include large colonies of Dingy Skipper and Common Blue, with some Grayling and Dark-green Fritillary. The views north are incredible on a good day.

North from Sandscale Haws


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6. NORTH WALNEY NNR   SAND DUNE, HEATH & MUDFLAT
At the north end of Walney Island, Barrow-in-Furness, is 150 ha of dune, dune slack, heath, shingle and mud flat. The 'Walney Geranium' (a beautiful form of geranium sanguineum , Bloody Cranesbill) is endemic to the island, together with a good flora. Displays of Northern Marsh, Early marsh and Common Spotted orchids can be spectacular. The old gravel pits hold numerous species of dragonfly. Royal Fern grows well in places on the heath. Butterflies of note include Grayling, Wall Brown and Common Blue, while the ponds attract dragonflies, including Brown Hawker. Natterjack toads breed and large wader roosts can be seen in Walney Channel, with wildfowl numerous in winter. A visit here in late May/early June is magical for breeding birds - in the scrub between Earnse Bay and the Reserve there may be a breeding bird every few metres - Stonechat, Linnet, Whitethroat, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Lapwing etc.!!!

North Walney


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7. SOUTH WALNEY CWT   SAND AND GRAVEL
This sand and shingle bank is essentially a bird observatory and summer nesting site for gulls. In summer it has the largest mixed breeding colony in Europe of lesser black-backed and herring gulls. During migration periods a huge variety of bird species pass through. There is a man-made scrape and hide where waders can be watched close at hand. Butterflies can be numerous in hot weather, especially Grayling, Common Blue and migrants like Painted Lady and Red Admiral. A moth trap is run and the list of species recorded is huge. The site is wardened; there is an entrance fee for non-members of CWT.
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8. FOULNEY ISLAND CWT   SHINGLE SPIT
Foulney, the "Island of Wildfowl", is a 2 kilometre shingle and grass spit, lying a few metres above high tide, which is accessed from the causeway to Roa Island. In summer the island is wardened because of its importance as a tern breeding ground. In winter it is an excellent site for wader and wildfowl counts and for sea-watching.
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9. MORECAMBE BAY SAC   SAND AND MUD FLATS
This huge expanse of sand, mud and saltmarsh is probably Britains most important site for estuary birds; it is now one of the four marine Special Areas of Conservation in England. Bathed by the Gulf stream, the sand hides molluscs and worms in abundance and the rocky skeers hold the mussel beds liked by Eiders.
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10. SUBBERTHWITE COMMON SSSI   LOW-LEVEL UPLAND BOG
This substantial area of peat bog lies in a large hollow in the Lakeland foothills. At 130 metres above sea level, and with a south-westerly aspect, it has all the characteristics of an upland bog, but its milder climate ideally suits amphibians (even Natterjacks) and insects. A site holding ten species of dragonfly is unusual in the north of England. A good place to observe breeding Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat and Yellowhammer.

Subberthwaite Common and Scafells


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11. SEA WOOD SSSI   ANCIENT WOODLAND
This small ancient woodland, now part of the Woodland Trust, is on the edge of the limestone of Birkrigg Common. It has many mature trees, especially some magnificent old oaks. The wood once supplied timber for the ships of Elizabeth I. Spring is the best time to visit, before the canopy becomes too dense.
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12. DODGSON WOOD, HIGH & LOW NEAR PEEL WOODS NT   DECIDUOUS WOODLAND
There are several interesting woods lying along the slopes on the east side of Coniston Water. Wet soils overlying acidic rocks are more suited to many mycorrhizal fungi than the drier woods of limestone found throughout the rest of the area. These characteristic northern oak woods are rich in fungi from August onwards, including many poisonous varieties. Formerly coppiced the woods have many old bloomery sites and charcoal making pits. The fields between the road and the lake and the river Crake are largely owned or rented by Nibthwaite Grange farm, who adopt a sensitive low fertilisation policy. The farmwas first established as a Grange by the monks of Furness Abbey in the 13th century. The farm land has Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Peregrine, Grey Partidge, Red Squirrel and Pine Marten amongst many other species. Small-leaved lime is at its northern most station in the UK here.
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13. NORTH FEN NNR   REEDBED AND FEN
A tiny reserve at the north end of Esthwaite Water showing the succession from open water, through reed bed and fen, to woodland. Extensively studied and researched.
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14. BARKBOOTH LOT CWT   ACID GRASSLAND
This unusual area of grassland, in the Winster Valley one mile north of Bowland Bridge, has much of interest, including fritillaries, glow-worms and medicinal leeches!
14A LUDDERBURN MOSS LDNP WOODED MOSS
This delightful area is within a stone's throw of Lake Windermere yet is quiet and secluded. The moss, although not particularly accessible, is a fascinating place for plants, birds and dragonflies, while the metalled track following the northern boundary leads to a delightful tarn covered in water lilies. The walk there on a clear day takes in one of the finest 180 degree mountain panoramas in the Lake District (see below).


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15. GRIZEDALE FOREST   CONIFEROUS/DECIDUOUS FOREST
This large forest, operated by the Forestry Commission, spans the head of the Rusland Valley with over 3000 hectares of woodland. Most of the higher ground is covered with conifers, but some native woodland is preserved and more is being planted. Breeding Crossbill, Hawfinch and Siskin, together with Deer, are the highlights. Woodcock and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker are possible. The remains of ancient huts mark the site where bracken used to be burnt to make soap for the woolen industry of Kendal. Now very popular with mountian bikers.

Grizedale


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16. RUSLAND MOSS NNR   RAISED BOG AND PINE WOOD
This area of bog formed from a former lake has a typical raised bog flora and is one of the few places in Cumbria with Royal Fern. There is a resident herd of Red and Roe deer are frequently seen, as are Red Squirrels. It is a good place to see and hear roding Woodcock and Honey Buzzard have been regular visitors in recent years; Nightjar used to breed. To the west is HAY BRIDGE Nature Reserve owned by the John Strutt Conservation Foundation. For further details visit this reserve's excellent website at www. haybridge.org.uk
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17. YEWBARROW WOODS SSSI   WOODLAND AND TARN
An area of deciduous wood, overlooking Newby Bridge, on steep-sided slopes leading up to a tarn.
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18. ROUDSEA WOOD AND MOSSES NNR   RAISED BOG AND BROADLEAF WOODLAND
This unusual site borders Morecambe Bay near Haverthwaite and provides four contrasting habitats. The woodland has two spurs of rock with differing soil acidity, one being limestone (with ash and yew) and the other slate (sessile oak). These are separated by valley fen, and there are extensive bogs to the east. The flora includes many scarce and rare plants, fungi are abundant, many unusual moths occur and butterflies include Large Heath, High Brown Fritillary, Dark-green Fritillary and the recently colonised Comma. Access is strictly by permit from English Nature.
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19. BIGLAND AND OUTLEY MOSSES SSSI   UPLAND MOSS AND BOG
This area of private land, above Haverthwaite, can be viewed from the road and the footpath through the wood. In June the orchids and dragonflies (with a large colony of Keeled Skimmer) are spectacular, and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries are everywhere.
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20. HUMPHREY HEAD CWT   LIMESTONE CLIFF AND GRASSLAND
This limestone promontory extends into Morecambe Bay near Grange. The undisturbed cliff ledges support many unusual plants, including Spiked Speedwell, Dropwort, Betony, Small Scabious, Bloody Cranesbill, the rare Lancastrian Whitebeam, ancient specimens of Small-leaved Lime and many species of fern. Although exposed, the site supports a good colony of the Northern Brown Argus butterfly. In spring the woods on the west shore are alive with birds. Access is open, but great care is needed and tides should be watched.

Humphrey Head

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21. CUNSWICK SCAR SSSI   LIMESTONE ESCARPMENT
A limestone escarpment runs north and south to the west of Kendal, popular with walkers and sheep. Out of reach, on many little ledges, are the unusual and interesting plants typical of exposed limestone.
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22. HELSINGTON BARROWS SSSI   LIMESTONE ESCARPMENT AND WOODLAND
The southern end of the limestone escarpment to the west of Kendal holds many interesting botanical finds. This is one of only a few places in Britain where Hoary Rock-rose grows well. Over 80 species of bird are recorded here. Brigsteer Woods, below the western cliffs, has paths and clearings suitable for butterflies.
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23. HOWE RIDDING NNR   LIMESTONE WOODLAND
Extensive clearing has opened up this reserve, on the west side of Whitbarrow, in recent years and butterflies have reappeared in the clearings - it is good fritillary site. Many unusual plants and ferns occur here, including green hellebore in spring. The undisturbed woodland is home to one of Britain's largest and fastest slugs Limax cinereoniger.
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24. WHITBARROW CWT   LIMESTONE CLIFF, PAVEMENT & GRASSLAND
The summit plateau of Whitbarrow is the Hervey Reserve of Cumbria Wildlife Trust with typical plants of exposed limestone, while the steep cliffs and wood to the west form a Local Nature Reserve, with good breeding birds and butterflies. Access is by footpath from Witherslack Hall.

Whitbarrow

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25. LATTERBARROW CWT   LIMESTONE GRASSLAND
This little sheltered jewel is situated a few yards off the A590 beside the Derby Arms, Witherslack. There are low lying outcrops of limestone facing SW with a delightful flora. Northern Brown Argus occur, but Grayling, High Brown Fritillary and Pearl-bordered Fritillary have declined.
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26. WITHERSLACK MOSSES CWT   RAISED BOG
Meathop Moss and the adjacent Foulney Moss were formerly shingle beaches which turned into raised bog. They are part of an ambitious project to restore these areas to their true status. Removal of conifers and invading scrub, and blocking of drainage ditches, should eventually restore the site to intact domed bog. Flora associated with spagnum bog include cranberry, bog rosemary, sundew and bog asphodel. Lepidoptera include Large Heath, Green Hairstreak, Emperor Moth and Oak Eggar moth.
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27. MEATHOP QUARRY SSSI   LIMESTONE QUARRY AND WOODLAND
This inaccessible quarry runs alongside the railway line.
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28. ARNSIDE KNOTT NT   LIMESTONE SCREE, GRASSLAND AND WOODLAND
Managed by the Natural Trust this hill is well-provided with footpaths and walks. Noted for its large colony of Scotch Argus, it is a superb bird, butterfly and plant site, with many scarce species.
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29. GAIT BARROWS NNR   LIMESTONE PAVEMENT, WOOD & MEADOW
Britain's finest lowland limestone pavement is to be found 5 km E of Silverdale. The reserve also has a rare marl lake, emergent fen and reedbed, wet meadows and woodland. It has a very rich flora and an outstanding variety of insects. Its butterfly colonies are of national importance and include the endangered High Brown and Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Duke of Burgundy and Northern Brown Argus. Access is by public footpaths and nature trail. Permits are required from English Nature for other parts of the reserve.
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30. EAVES WOOD SSSI   DECIDUOUS WOODLAND
A mature and lovely woodland covering a limestone knoll, which is criss-crossed by paths. Like many such woods it is a magical place to visit in spring and autumn.
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31. LEIGHTON MOSS & WARTON GRAG RSPB   REEDBED, SALTMARSH AND WOODLAND
This reserve, just over the border in Lancashire, is well known for its birds, including Bittern, Bearded Tit, Marsh Harrier and passage waders, amongst many others. It is the perfect place for Deer and Otter watching. Less well known is the area on Warton Crag managed for butterflies, including High Brown Fritillary, Northern Brown Argus and Grayling. Access to the marked trails for non-members is by payment at the gate. Warton Crag has become an important breeding site for Peregrine, Little Owl and Raven and is wardened in the early summer. A Chough has roosted here in early summer.
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A. CAVENDISH DOCK SSSI
A redundant dock with a warm water outflow from a power station. An excellent bird watching site, with many rarities reported
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B. URSWICK TARN
Formed during the last ice age, this lime rich tarn (marl lake) is an example of a habitat rare in Cumbria and scarce in Britain. It has a wealth of birds, plants and insects. In recent years Reed warblers have taken to breeding here and Kingfishers are occasional. Zebra and Giant Swan mussels are found, but sadly water voles have disappeared.


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C. CONISTON WATER
Less disturbed than Windermere the main interest is winter birds.
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D. RIVER CRAKE
At nine miles, this is the longest stretch of river in the area! Formerly it was used to power many small industries; now it holds the best sites of the Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly in Cumbria and recent evidence of the return of otters.
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E. LAKE WINDERMERE Englands largest natural lake has its outflow at Newby Bridge. Four races of Arctic Char are found in different parts of the lake and it is one of the most important wintering grounds in England for Goldeneye duck.
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F. RIVER LEVEN
Taking all the outflow from Lake Windermere this short river rushes down to the estuary. Its power was harnessed at many small weirs, now the haunts of Dippers, Kingfishers and Wagtails. Otters have again been reported. In spring Lampreys come upstream to Haverthwaite to spawn.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON HABITATS VISIT: www.wildlifeincumbria.org.uk


 

 

 

LINKS TO PAGES

BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE
BEE ISSUES
CHICK FLICKS
DAFFODILS (wild)
DOWNY EMERALD DRAGONFLY
FUND RAISING
HEDGEHOGS
LADY'S SLIPPER ORCHID
LICHENS
MONTH BY MONTH
NATTERJACK TOAD
PIED FLYCATCHER et al
REED WARBLERS et al
SISKIN et al
SWALLOWS et al
TERNS
TREE PIPITS
TREE SPARROWS
WAXCAP FUNGI