Limestone woodland provides shade for many species of ferns. Large mounds on the woodland floor are home to southern wood ants.
- Blue bell and wild garlic carpet the woodland floor in spring and greater butterfly and spotted orchids are in flower.
- Don't miss the southern wood ants busy carrying food to their large nest mounds in the summer.
- In autumn you can see bright red berries on the lancastrian whitebeam.
- Winter is the time to spot waders and wildfowl down on the foreshore.
Look out for the stands of yew trees which grow on the extremely thin soils casting a deep shade year round so that little can grow beneath. In other places you will see oak, birch and ash. You can also find the less common small leaved lime and wild service trees too. In spring bluebell, dog's mercury and wild garlic carpet the floor. The low cliffs above the shore is the place to find the Lancastrian whitebeam, known only from the Morecambe Bay limestones. Ferns, such as hart's tongue fern, love the dark, damp microclimate of the wood and 24 species have been recorded here.
Woodland has probably been present at Grubbins Wood since medieval times although historically it would have been regularly coppiced to produce timber.
Southern wood ants
Look out for the large mounds on the woodland floor which are the nests of southern wood ants. The ants build nests from leaves and other material in sheltered, sunny spots. They are most active in the spring and summer but they retreat underground for the winter.
The reserve has two areas of grassland, Pickles Meadow and Sands Field. Pickles Meadow is the most diverse with dropwort, betony, salad burnet, bird's foot trefoil, lady's bedstraw and knapweed.
Keeping it special
Grubbins Wood has been managed by the Trust since 1974 and leased from the Matson Grand Estate since 1978. The fields are grazed annually to encourage the flowering plant species. We carry out limited management in the wood itself.
On foot from the centre of Arnside via the public footpath at the end of the promenade. Follow the footpath along the shore for 0.7km/0.5 miles. The reserve is accessed via a stile just beyond the Sailing Club's slipway. Alternative access is via Red Hills Road and New Barns Road.
By bicycle: The reserve is 5km/3 miles from National Route 6 (Greenwich to Keswick).
By public transport: Trains run from Lancaster, Barrow in Furness, Ulverston and Grange over Sands to Arnside. Buses run from Kendal to Arnside.