This fine example of Morecambe Bay's wildlife-rich limestone habitats supports many threatened species, even though still undergoing enhancement. It still has excellent limestone pavement, flowery grassland and views over Leighton Moss

The grassland is the characteristic Blue Moor-grass Sesleria albicans community of the Morecambe Bay area, where this alpine grass species is found with a great variety of flowering plants of both calcareous and acidic conditions such as Common Rock-rose and Heather. This wonderful flora looks its best in June and July.

Features

This 7-hectare site in the Morecambe Bay Limestone landscape is our first reserve dedicated to providing habitat for the High Brown Fritillary.

The site is largely covered with scrub and secondary woodland, with areas of exposed limestone pavement. Clearance work is ongoing to increase flowery grassland and violet-rich bracken - the ideal conditions for these threatened butterflies.

It is hoped that scrub clearance and light cattle grazing will create favourable conditions for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy to colonise.

The reserve is leased from the Leighton Hall Estate, who own and manage other important conservation sites nearby.

Conservation work parties

Conservation work parties are normally held twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, from mid/late September through till the end of February each year, the purpose being to maintain and enhance areas of species-rich limestone grassland by means of tree and scrub clearance, in accordance with the terms of our Countryside Stewardship Agreement with Natural England.

Work parties start at 10.00am and finish at approx. 3.30pm (depending on the weather) though you are, of course, free to leave at any time.  It is advisable to arrive by 10.00am, so that you can register and receive details of the work to be carried out, together with a health and safety briefing.  Suitable outdoor clothing and footwear is required and you will need to bring a packed lunch. Hand tools, training and guidance are provided, with all expected to work at their own pace.

Everyone is invited to join our regular team of volunteers and, apart from their conservation value, work parties can be very rewarding as well as highly enjoyable and sociable events.

If you are thinking of coming along, it is always best to phone after 8am on the day, just to make sure that we have not decided to cancel due to the weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Contact Dave Wrigley (Reserves Officer) on 01524 805527, email @email

Notable nearby sites:

Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve (NNR), Arnside Knott, Warton Crag.

Directions

Grid Ref: SD473750 OS Map: 97 Area: 7.2ha

The reserve entrance is off The Row - a lane leading north from Slackwood Lane, which runs east out of Silverdale.

Sustrans Cycle Route 6, regional route 90 (Lancashire cycleway)

By train: Silverdale station is 150 metres east of the reserve. Turn left out of the station entrance, then right after the golf course into The Row.

By bus: For details of local services visit transport for Lancashire. At certain times of year RSPB run sponsored buses from Lancaster, Carnforth, Warton and Arnside to their Leighton Moss reserve - 200m east of Myer’s Allotment.

By road: The reserve is 4 miles north of Carnforth.

  • Take J35 off the M6 (signposted Carnforth)
  • Follow the A6 north (signposted Milnthorpe)
  • Brown Tourist signs direct you off the A6 to RSPB Leighton Moss visitor centre, with its excellent cafe and shop facilities
  • Parking for Butterfly Conservation members is available in RSPB Leighton Moss Car Park by agreement.
  • Walk the 200m to Myer’s Allotment - turn right out of the car park, over the railway bridge, turn left at the junction, pass the Silverdale Golf Club and turn right into The Row

Site access

Much of the reserve is sloping uneven ground and should be negotiated with great care. The limestone pavement can trap feet and be very slippery in the wet. Easier access routes along the lower level ground will be marked. Please follow clear and marked pathways across the site and be aware that there is a hazardous cliff.

There are no public footpaths across this site and all access is on a temporary permissive basis whilst BC leases it as a reserve. This access arrangement will cease when the site is returned to the Leighton Hall Estate.

Cattle graze the site during certain months and may be encountered unexpectedly in scrub or the wood areas. The cattle could be scared by roving dogs and injure themselves on the rocky ground. Please keep dogs on leads when cattle are on site and during the bird nesting season from 1 March to 31 July.

Be tick aware!

Most ticks are little more than an irritation, but a few can transmit Lyme disease, a rare and potentially serious illness which is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. It is therefore important to be informed and take some simple precautions.

Contact

David Wrigley, Lancashire Branch Reserves Officer, tel: 01524 805527 or email: reserves@lancashire-butterflies.org.uk