Humphrey Head Nature Reserve

Joy Ketchen Memorial Reserve

Humphrey Head beach from southern headland by Ann Bowker Mad About MountainsThe 23 acres of Humphrey Head consist of a dramatic limestone promontory overlooking Morecambe Bay, limestone grassland, some heath, improved grassland, and maritime and lichen areas.

The limestone is about 325 million years old and originates from under a warm shallow sea. The fossil remains of marine animals have been found in the limestone.

Humphrey Head Limestone Pavement by Tony Richards Lakeland CamThe cliff tops and ledges provide an ideal habitat for blue moor-grass, red fescue and flowering plants. Plant species include salad burnet, dropwort, wild thyme, common rock rose and rarer species such as bloody cranesbill, spring cinquefoil, green winged orchid, hoary rock rose, and spiked speedwell. Yew, hazel, and whitebeam hang on to the cliffs. Other plant life includes ivy, thrift, and rock samphire.

Bloody Cranesbill flowers by Charles Winpenny Cornwall CamThe improved grassland-changed by farming-is home to rue-leaved saxifrage, herb Robert, and hart's-tongue fern. Hawthorn trees reflect the configuration of their windblown environment.

Birds congregate on Morecambe Bay, an important estuary for waders and other wildfowl. In the winter curlew, shelduck, and oystercatcher feed. Spring and autumn are the times for migrants. Peregrine falcon and ravens are prominent year round.Humphrey Head windswept trees by Ann Bowker Mad About Mountains

Beside the Nature Reserve is a woodland that, although not part of it, is open to visitors. Here there are ash, sych elm, oak, yew, and small-leaved lime trees. Blue bells and wood anemones cover the ground.

Curlew by David Packman Hampshire  CamHumphrey Head Nature Reserve is open to the public. It is located near Grange over Sands; from Grange take the B5277 heading to Flookburgh; turn left past Allithwaite and over the railroad, left again, and follow the road. You will come to a footpath with a sign.

When visiting stay away from the cliff tops and remember the sands of Morecambe Bay can be dangerous.

Photo courtesy Tony Richards, Charles Winpenny, David Packman and Ann Bowker

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