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Dubbs Moss

Diverse range of habitats supports a good number of species of plants, mosses, ferns as well as butterflies, beetles, spiders and moths. This makes an excellent reserve for birds throughout the year.


  • In spring  cowslips, early purple orchids and cuckoo flower in abundance.  Listen out for warblers.
  • In summer a succession of flowering plants and butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies are on the wing.
  • In autumn devil's-bit scabious is flowering, common darter dragonflies soak up late sun.  Look out for redpoll and redwing arriving
  • In winter flocks of field fare and redwing feed on hawthorn and roe deer and brown hare seek refuge in the vegetation.

Diverse habitats

Dubbs Moss is a naturally damp hollow surrounded by farmland. A peat layer beneath the central area suggests that the basin once had a small tarn, which over the past 10,000 years, has become infilled with plant matter. The western part of the nature reserve is covered by relatively recent birch woodland.  There is an area of damp fen grassland and a higher area of dry herb-rich grassland with hawthorn scrub.  This diversity of habitats gives rise to a rich species mix


Varied habitats on the reserve ensures that there is a succession of plant species throughout the spring and summer.  In spring the herb-rich grassland is covered with cowslip and early purple orchid which give way to commmon twayblade, betony and knapweed later in the year.If you search hard you might find the uncommon adder's tongue fern in the grassland. In the wetter fenland area you can find yellow flag iris, ragged robin, angelica and devil's-bit scabious. The shade cast by the trees, in the woodland area combined with the wet ground, give ideal conditions for mosses and ferns to flourish. Male fern, hard fern and narrow buckler fern and a variety of mosses thrive here.

On the wing

Many common species of tit can be seen in the woods and the rarer willow tit also breeds here. In spring its a great place to hear different warblers including whitethroat, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow, garden, grasshopper and sedge which return each year from Africa to breed. In winter, flocks of fieldfares and redwings feed on the hawthorn berries.

On sunny days in summer ringlet and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies are abundant on the wet grassland and you can find orange tips, peacock and even dark green fritillary butterflies. Various damselflies and dragonflies species are commonly seen including common blue and large red damselfiles and southern and common hawkers.

Keeping it special

In winter we graze the reserve with fell ponies and carry out management to maintain the scattered scrub on the eastern side of the nature reserve.

Dubbs Moss was purchased by Cumbria Wildlife Trust in 1972.

Getting here

By car: From the roundabout at the Sheep and Wool centre (joining A5086 to the A66) take the turning to Mitchell's Auction Mart.  After 50m take a left and follow this road for 700m to Wellington Farm Cafe
By bicycle: The nature reserve is 3km/2 miles from the National Route 71 (Coast to Coast)
By Public transport: Buses run from Cockermouth and Whitehaven to Eaglesfield.


Nearby nature reserves

Ivy Crag Wood
9 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Boathouse Field
10 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Clints Quarry
12 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Near Cockermouth
Map reference
NY 103 290
Great for...
Best time to visit
Apr - Aug
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Opening Times
Open at all times
7.40 hectares
Local Wildlife Site (LWS)
Kissing gates allow easy access but the terrain is undulating and wet in places.
Walking information
Access is from the Wellington Farm Cafe, whose nature trail (0.6km) links into the nature reserve at its northeast corner. The nature trail forms a circuit (0.8km/0.5m long). Alternative access is from Moorland Close Farm to the south. From here walk 200m down the hill to link in with the nature reserve trail.
Park at the Wellington Farm Cafe.
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Fell ponies in winter
Reserve manager
Kevin Scott
Tel: 01228 829570