Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve



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Our View

The Whitbarrow NNR has stunning views of the Cumbrian fells and across the sands of Morecambe Bay, and is rich in wildflowers and butterflies. The thin limestone soils provide ideal growing conditions for a variety of plants. In spring hoary rock-rose, primrose, cowslip and early purple orchid are in flower, while later in summer dropwort, bird’s-foot trefoil, lesser meadow rue, limestone bedstraw and thyme burst into bloom. Look out especially for the striking crimson spikes of dark red helleborine. The limestone pavements provide shelter for a range of unusual plants. These include hart’s-tongue fern, rigid buckler-fern, hard shield-fern and limestone polypody. The reserve also has a rich invertebrate and insect fauna. In summer you may see four species of fritillary butterfly: high brown, dark green, pearl-bordered and small pearl-bordered, which all breed here. Look out also for northern brown argus, grayling, common blue and small heath butterflies. Breeding birds include meadow pipit, both green and great spotted woodpecker and redstart. Roe, and occasionally red deer, are seen on the reserve.

Whitbarrow 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.

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