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Augill Pasture

Around the remains of old lead smelt mills, species rich grasslands contain a huge variety of different meadow flowers such as orchids, melancholy thistle and devil's-bit scabious.


  • Springtime flower display of bluebells, primrose, wild garlic along with herb paris and globe flower
  • In summer the upland hay meadow is at its best and orchids are in flower
  • In autumn the whole pasture is transformed into a blue mist of devil's bit scabious
  • Throughout the year you can explore the evidence of the industrial past and archaeological remains

From industrial heart to wildlife haven

Augill Pasture is now a haven for wildlife but during the 19th century it was at the heart of an industrial area. Within the nature reserve are the remains of a lead smelt mill dating from 1843 (now leased by the North Pennines Heritage Trust) together with associated structures.

Wildflowers abound in the pasture  

The area of open grassland known as the pasture  is a wonderful area of species rich grassland. From May  to September you can find a huge variety of different flowers here including melancholy thistle, lady's mantle, knapweed, wood cranesbill and great burnet.

In summer you will come across orchids such as fly orchid, fragrant orchid,  heath spotted and common spotted orchid.  If you look carefully you might also spot the unassuming frog orchid.  Do come back to visit in September when the meadow area takes on a wonderful purple hue when devil's bit scabious is in flower.

Rare mountain haymeadow  

This type of grassland, known as mountain haymeadow, is extremely rare in Britain with less than 1,000 hectares remaining in just a few upland valleys in the Pennines and the Lake District. The pasture was probably used for grazing pit ponies whilst the mines were in operation.

Woodland areas

Since the smelt mill was abandoned at the end of the 19th century, the woodland you now see has been able to regenerate. The main tree species are birch, ash and willow with a shrub layer of hazel and rowan.  In late summer, look out for the magnificent broad leaved helleborine which grows here at its highest location in Cumbria.

Keeping it special

In 1990 the site was threatened by the widening of the A66 but fortunately the road was re-routed and the nature reserve was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Augill Pasture is owned by Plantlife and has been leased to Cumbria Wildlife Trust since 1998. Management today involves cutting and grazing to maintain the diversity of plant species found here.

Getting here

By car: From Brough take A66 east for approximately 1 mile. Take first left and turn right almost immediately.  Park immediatly beyond the new static caravan park. To access the reserve go through the metal gate on the left.

By bicycle: The reserve is 6.5km/4 miles from the Walney to Wear Cycle Route (W2W).

By public transport: Buses run from Ravenstonedale and Kirkby Stephen to North Stainmore.

Nature Reserves Guide

Cumbria Wildlife Trust's Nature Reserve Guide, which provides information about all the Trust's reserves is available to buy now from our online shop.

Nearby nature reserves

Argill Woods
2 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Waitby Greenriggs
5 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Smardale Gill
6 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Near Brough
Map reference
NY 817 147
Great for...
historical interest
Best time to visit
May - Sep
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
2.70 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Special Site of Scientific Interest
Ground is fairly steep. The path has some steps and two stiles.
Walking information
There is a circular route around the reserve (0.5km/0.3 miles). In the wood the ground is fairly steep and the path has some steps. Visitors make their own way through the meadow.
Park immediately beyond the new static caravan park. Access to the reserve is by a metal gate on the left.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Cattle grazing at times
Reserve manager
Andrew Walter
Tel: 01539 816300