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Brown Robin

Typical limestone woodland with magnificent display of spring flowers interspersed with species rich grassland. Wax cap fungi and yellow meadow ants are found.


  • Springtime display of bluebells and other spring flowers in the woodland
  • Don't miss the ant hills on Blawith Hill
  • Look out for wax cap fungi
  • Great views over the Kent estuary


This is a typical limestone woodland of ash and hazel with yew forming dense stands in places.  A visit in spring, before the trees are in full leaf, is especially rewarding as you will see a magnificent display of bluebells, wood anemone, wild garlic and primroses. Look out for spurge laurel, a small shrub which has highly scented flowers in early spring, Spurge laurel is at the northern edge of its range in Britain here. Stinking iris, a plant  that gets its name from the smell of fresh meat given off when its leaves are crushed, is another plant more commonly found further south.  It thrives here  although is probably introduced.


The best areas of grasslands are on Merlewood Bank and the Top Fields. Here, you can find salad burnet, bird's foot trefoil, knapweed, pignut, wild thyme and occasionally common rockrose.  Don't miss the ant hills, created by the yellow meadow ant on Blawith Hill.  Green woodpeckers can sometimes be seen feeding on the ants. In the autumn you can often find waxcap and other fungi.

Keeping it special

Historically the woodland would have been coppiced on a regular basis and recently coppicing we have re-introduced coppicing to a small enclosure within the wood. The fence ensures that the coppice regrows, as there is a large roe deer population in the area. The grasslands have had no fertiliser application for many years and we graze them with both cattle and sheep to maintain the species diversity.

The nature reserve was given to the Trust in 1977 by Miss Mary Widdup.

Getting here

By car:From the layby on the B5271 from Grange over Sands; or access on foot via the driveway to the Netherwood Hotel off the B5277 following the track from the hotel carpark uphill to the left .  Alternatively from the carpark of the Cumbria Grand Hotel off the B5277 where the the reserve can be accessed through the hotel woodland and a gate in the boundary.
By bicycle:The reserve is on National Route 72 (Walney to Wear)/Regional Route 30.
By public transport :Trains run from Barrow in Furness, Ulverston and Lancaster to Grange over Sands. Buses run from Kendal to Grange over Sands.

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.

Species and habitats

Grassland, Woodland
Bluebell, Primrose, Spurge Laurel, Primrose, Green Woodpecker

Nearby nature reserves

Grubbins Wood
2 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Meathop Moss
3 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Nichols Moss
3 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Brown Robin Nature Reserve
Grange over Sands
Map reference
SD 411 791
Great for...
geological interest
historical interest
spring flowers
stunning views
Best time to visit
Apr - Oct
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
26.40 hectares
Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Some steep ground. Path has steps and ladder stiles.
Walking information
There is a circular path around the reserve (2km/1.2 miles) which is waymarked. This involves some steps and ladder stiles.
Parking is in a layby on the B5721 Windermere Road approximately 1km/0.64 miles after the mini-roundabout; alternatively park near Grange Station and approach on foot via driveway of the Netherwood Hotel. The Trust also has an access arrangement with the Cumbria Grand Hotel on the B5277 approach to Grange over Sands. Cars may be parked in the hotel car park and the reserve accessed through the hotel woodland and a gate in the boundary.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Cattle and sheep
Reserve manager
Peter Jones
Tel: 01539 816300