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Foulshaw Moss

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is a lowland raised peatbog of international importance, where a pair of ospreys breed during the summer months. Although work to install boardwalk is ongoing, visitors can still see these majestic birds of prey from a viewpoint.

Improving Foulshaw Moss for nature   

This nature reserve is an internationally rare lowland raised peatbog. High and stable water levels are essential to the health and long term future of the bog. Unfortunately this bog has suffered in the past from a steady lowering of water levels and a gradual deterioration of the peatland and its wildlife.


Spring – Green hairstreak butterflies fly in May, tree pipits and stonechats display over the bog, warblers and cuckoos sing in the woodland, ospreys return from Africa.
Summer- Huge numbers of dragonflies including the rare White faced Darter dragonfly, large heath butterflies, lizards, adders & nesting ospreys.
Autumn- Heather flowering purple, migrating birds include ospreys passing through in September, red deer rutting.
Winter – Both marsh harrier and hen harrier visit the site, large numbers of snipe and teal arrive, and red deer can be seen from the raised platform. 


In partnership with Natural England, the Trust has been carrying out significant habitat restoration works which aim to raise water levels and secure the long term future of Foulshaw Moss. Conifer trees have been removed from around the edges as they have served to dry the peat and excavators have blocked drains and created small low bunds that retain water on the bog. 


Following the completion of restoration works, improvements to parking and access will be made, with new walkways and signage planned.  Slowly we are seeing the characteristic bog vegetation of Sphagnum moss, cotton grass, cranberry and bog rosemary reclaiming the site. 


Foulshaw Moss was purchased in 1998 with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Since then, a number of additional areas have been acquired.


Getting here

By car: Travelling west along A590 towards Barrow in Furness, at the end of the dual carriageway at Gilpin Bridge, continue for 1km/0.6 miles. Immediately before a signed parking layby on the west-bound carriageway turn left down a track. Go through the gate and continue until a small car parking area is reached. Travelling east on the A590 towards Kendal, pass the junction for Witherslack and continue for 0.6km/0.4 miles. The track to the reserve is on the right immediately after the parking layby. Please take care when turning into the reserve from this direction, as the road can be extremely busy. Do not take the turning signposted for 'Foulshaw', the turning for Foulshaw Moss is a short way further towards Barrow.
By bicycle:The reserve is on National Route 72 (Walney to Wear).
By public transport:  Buses run from Barrow in Furness, Ulverston, Newby Bridge, Grange over Sands and Kendal to Witherslack

Red deer in snow - copyright Ben Hall    Osprey nesting at Foulshaw Moss nature reserve in 2014

Watch live osprey nest web cam located at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve

Be amongst the first to know when the ospreys return each year by signing up to osprey e-news

Read Foulshaw Moss osprey viewpoint blog for the latest news about our nesting ospreys.

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Nearby nature reserves

1 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Meathop Moss
2 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Nichols Moss
2 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Near Witherslack
Map reference
SD 458 837
Great for...
Best time to visit
Apr - Aug
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350.00 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Level access along board walk. Ground is soft and can be very wet. PLEASE NOTE: Maintenance work is happening week commencing 12 March 2017 to replace the raised viewing platform and may take a couple of weeks.
Walking information
Access at the moment is restricted to 2 boardwalks crossing the better areas of remnant bog vegetation, due to ongoing works (return trip 0.7km). These take you to the osprey viewing platform and to a bench by the dragonfly pool. Take care! From the car park there is a circular walk which crosses one of the better areas of remnant vegetation on boardwalk to a viewing platform and then uses the main track to return (0.8km/0.5 miles). Please keep to waymarked paths and trails. The ground off the path is very soft and there are areas of deep water. Ticks and adders are present on the reserve in large numbers.
Small parking area on site
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Cattle at times
Reserve manager
Paul Waterhouse
Tel: 01539 816300