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Clints Quarry

A fascinating place not only for wildlife but also for geology and industrial archaeology. The damp conditions between spoil heaps are ideal for orchids and the drier slopes are colonised by a host of wild species. Butterflies thrive in the shelter of the quarry and the ponds are home to frogs, newts and sticklebacks. Download our Clints Quarry Audio trail by clicking READ MORE below and find out more about this unusual nature reserve.



  • In spring the ponds are alive with frogs and toads.
  • Summer is the best time to catch the lovely display of orchids and to see butterflies.
  • All year round explore the industrial past and the geology.

From industrial past to a wildlife haven 

Quarrying started on site in the 1600s with the limestone initially being used for building and agriculture. Latterly the quarried rock was used in the local steel making industry, but quarrying ceased in 1930. Clints Quarry has been left to nature for the last 75 years and is now a fascinating place not only for wildlife, but also for geology and industrial archaeology. From the entrance you can see the spoil heaps with trackways in between radiating out to a terrace, above which the quarry face rises up to 20 metres in places. There is a large lime-kiln in the woodland near the southern boundary of the nature reserve.

Now a haven for wildflowers

Damp conditions between the spoil heaps are ideal places to find northern marsh and common spotted orchid.  Explore the drier slopes of the spoil heaps to find wild strawberry, ox-eye daisy, centaury, mouse-eared hawkweed, bird's-foot trefoil and knapweed. You can find bee and pyramidal orchids here too.

Sheltered habitat for butterflies

This sheltered quarry provides with its profusion of flowers and grasses is an ideal habitat for butterflies. Throughout the summer on sunny days you can find common blue butterflies, orange tip, gatekeeper, ringlet, and meadow brown butterflies.

Around the ponds

There are four ponds on the nature reserve and frogs and toads breed here.  You can also find palmate newt, stickleback and pond snails.

Keeping it special

Scrub and trees are becoming established in the quarry and we have ongoing work to maintain the open nature of the site and the species-rich grassland. Rabbits have helped maintain the grassland in the past but their numbers have declined more recently. The eastern part of the nature reserve is already wooded providing habitat for a range of typical woodland birds.

The nature reserve was purchased from British Steel and Lord Egremont in 1984.

Getting here

By car: Clints Quarry lies 1 mile north of Egremont. From the A5086 take the road signed for Woodend.
By bicycle: The reserve is on National Route 72 (Hadrian's Cycleway).
By public transport: Buses run from Whitehaven to Egremont

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

Dubbs Moss
12 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Eskmeals Dunes
12 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Boathouse Field
17 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Near Egremont
Map reference
NY 008 124
Great for...
geological interest
historical interest
Best time to visit
Apr - Aug
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
9.20 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Some steps and some steep, exposed sections.
Walking information
The reserve has direct access from the public road. There is a circular route around the quarry (0.9km/0.6 miles) which has steps and some steep and exposed sections
Parking is in a layby on the right just after the junction. The reserve entrance is 100m further along the road. There is some parking opposite the reserve entrance.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Kevin Scott
Tel: 01228 829570