Derwent Gorge & Muggleswick Woods National Nature Reserve



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The Derwent Gorge and Muggleswick Woods NNR contains some of the finest ancient sessile oak woodlands in the northeast of England, as well as some unique semi-natural grasslands. The woodland types found here range from dry, acid sessile oak woods on the higher ground, to the flushed lime-rich ash woodland and wet alder woodland on the lower slopes. This variety of woodland creates a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The reserve is recognised as regionally important for tree-growing lichens, with over 60 species recorded. Red kites and buzzards are often seen gliding above the canopy, with spotted and pied flycatcher, redpoll, siskins and wood warblers flitting around within the woods. Dippers, kingfishers and goosanders frequent the River Derwent and its tributaries, while historically the site has had populations of red squirrel and the secretive roe deer are still found in the woods.

Derwent Gorge & Muggleswick Woods National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover County Durham

County Durham reaches halfway across England, from the North Pennines in the west, to the sea in the east. Much of it is very sparsely inhabited, and is naturally beautiful; a mix of rolling hills, monumental valleys, lush farmland and unforgiving moors. It’s strong on industrial heritage as well, and remnants of the now all-but-vanished mining industry are everywhere.

The City of Durham has a magnificent Cathedral which can be traced back to the establishment of a church in the 10thcentury as the final resting place of the miraculous remains of Saint Cuthbert. The Cathedral, alongside the city’s Castle (an 11th-century structure that now houses University College), were created a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The area’s mining past is fully documented at the Durham Mining Museum; an amazing resource. Bishop Auckland is the other major settlement, and for centuries was run almost as an independent state by the powerful Bishops of Durham. These days it is still a bustling town with plenty of shops, historical interest and events like the annual food festival. The coastal town of Peterlee is unusual; it was set up as a new town to house Durham miners after WW2. 

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