Gowk Bank National Nature Reserve



Visit England Logo
Book Direct

Our View

Gowk Bank NNR lies on the western bank of the upper reaches of the River Irthing, which here forms the boundary between Cumbria and Northumberland. The reserve is best known for containing one of the most diverse upland meadows in Britain, with over 185 different plant species being recorded. Species typical of northern meadow communities found here include globeflower, marsh hawks-beard,devil’s-bit scabious, grass of Parnassus,melancholy thistle and wood crane’s-bill. The population of the eyebright at Gowk Bank is probably one of the largest in the UK, and there is a very small population of the very rare small white orchids alongside the more common early purple orchids. Birds such as dipper, grey wagtail, sand martin and common sandpiper can be seen hunting for insects along the banks of the River Irthing, and crossbills are often seen or heard feeding in the adjacent forestry plantations.

Gowk Bank National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover Cumbria

Cumbria's rugged yet beautiful landscape is best known for the Lake District National Park that sits within its boundaries. It’s famous for Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, and Derwent Water, ‘Queen of the English Lakes'. This beautiful countryside once inspired William Wordsworth and his home, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere is a popular museum. Another place of literary pilgrimage is Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter, located near Windermere. Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here.

Much of Cumbria is often overlooked in favour of the Lake Distirct. In the south, the Lune Valley remains as lovely as it was when Turner painted it. The coast is also a secret gem. With its wide cobbled streets, spacious green and views of the Solway Firth, Silloth is a fine Victorian seaside resort. Other towns along this coastline include Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. Carlisle is well worth a look – once a Roman camp, its red-brick cathedral dates back to the early 12th century and its 11th-century castle was built by William Rufus.

Why choose Rated Trips?

Your trusted guide to rated places across the UK
icon example
The best coverage

Discover more than 15,000 professionally rated places to stay, eat and visit from across the UK and Ireland.

icon example
Quality assured

Choose a place to stay safe in the knowledge that it has been expertly assessed by trained assessors.

icon example
Plan your next trip

Search by location or the type of place you're visiting to find your next ideal holiday experience.

icon example
Travel inspiration

Read our articles, city guides and recommended things to do for inspiration. We're here to help you explore the UK.