Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve: Howe Ridding Wood

Whitbarrow Nature Reserve by Martin Black FlickrThis reserve consists of broadleaved ancient woodland overlying limestone. It is on the west side of Whitbarrow Scar. The limestone creates small crags, scree slopes, and terraces. On them grow yew and Lancastrian whitebeam in the low crags. Ash and hazel grow in areas of better soil. Oak, birch, holly, and small-leaved lime are also seen in the reserve.

Some scarce and uncommon species grow beneath the trees and include dark red helleborine, rigid buckler fern, mezereon, green hellebore, wild daffodil and herb Paris. Winter sees the arrival of mosses on the tree trunks.

Whitbarrow Nature Reserve by Martin Black FlickrThe remains of an orchard can be seen at the northern end of the reserve where there are a number of springs. Next to the orchard is an area known as Calf Close Wood. Oak, birch and alder thrive in the waterlogged soil.

Red squirrels, red deer, and roe deer live in the reserve. Birds include the buzzard, tawny owl, sparrowhawk, woodcock, great spotted woodpecker, and nuthatch. The reserve is especially favourable for butterflies with 23 species recorded. The rare high brown fritillary and the pearl-bordered fritillary are two of them.

Whitbarrow Nature Reserve by Martin Black FlickrMap Reference:
OS 1:50,000
Sheet No 97
SD 435 882
Open to members and non-members.
From A590 head to Witherslack and past the Witherslack Hall School for one km. Park at site of footpath leaving the road on right hand side and follow path through woods to reach the reserve.

Photos courtesy Martin Black

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