North Fen National Nature Reserve



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The tiny, 5-acre North Fen NNR occupies an area of land under the forested heights of Claife, between the head of Esthwaite Water and Priest Pot. Priest Pot is a small pond which became separated from the lake around 400 years ago. It is thought that it got its ecclesiastical name because it might have been a private fishery for the monks of nearby Hawkshead Hall, an outpost of Furness Abbey. In natural history terms, North Fen is most notable as an example of a natural succession from open water, through reed swamp, sedge fen, bog and carr woodland to drier oak woodland. All the common species and some of the quite rare plants and insects associated with these habitats are found here. Although there are no public rights of way across the reserve, there are no access restrictions. However, the land is difficult to cross even under the best conditions.

North Fen National Nature Reserve
Near Sawrey


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.

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