Argill Woods Nature Reserve

Oak tree by Tony RichardsLocated on the banks of Argill Beck, Argill woods is ancient woodland and species-rich grassland. The valley is very steep allowing for much undisturbed natural woodland. In medieval times some of the land was cleared for farming creating grasslands which are still grazed today. The beck eventually ends up at the river Eden. Later some of the hillsides suffered coal mining-the shafts are now home to bats.

Red Squirrel by Graeme DougalIn addition to the bats, the reserve is home to woodpeckers, spotted and pied flycatcher, tree creeper, redstart, and great tit. Growing in the meadows are wood cranesbill, greater burnet, pignut, and knapweed. Spring brings butterfly orchids. The meadows are also home to dippers and grey wagtails.

Bluebells by Tony RichardsThe areas of limestone soil are favourable to birch, hazel, and ash. Wild garlic and dog's mercury also grow here. Bluebells and wood sorrel bloom in neutral soil in the spring. Making a canopy above them are oak and birch. An occasional red squirrel and roe deer can be spotted.

Argill Woods Nature Reserve is managed by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and non-members need a permit before visiting. There are two public footpaths.Cranesbill flower by Tony Richards

Argill Woods is located near Brough. From A66 east of Brough turn right, signposted Hard Hills; continue on this road to Dowgill. Take left hand road, then second farm entrance to Low Dowgill. The footpath is to the left of the farm.

Photos courtesy GraemeDougal and Tony Richards

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