Hutton Roof Crags contains some of the best areas of limestone pavement in Britain, with a wealth of unusual plants and animals. Pavement occurs in a mosaic with woodland, scrub, grassland and heath. Download our Hutton Roof Crags Audio trail by clicking READ MORE below and find out more about this unusual nature reserve.
- Spring is a good time to spot early purple and fly orchids.
- In summer look for angular solomon's seal, lily of the valley and dark red helleborine. Fritillary and other butterflies are about. Good time to look for ferns.
- In autumn the reserve is alive with flocks of long-tailed tits, redwing, fieldfare and mistle thrush.
- At any time of year explore the limestone pavement and take in the views.
Look out for the unusual limestone pavement specialists such as rigid buckler fern, limestone fern and angular Solomon's-seal. In the more open areas you can find dark red helleborine and fly orchids. On the thinnest soil look out blue moor grass - with its silky blue flowers in April. Juniper is abundant both on the pavement and the grassland and there is lots of scrub areas. On thicker soil you will find bracken sometimes with bilberry and heather beneath.
In summer you will hear birds such as willow warbler and skylark, along with the resident birds such as nuthatch, greater spotted woodpecker and woodcock. From April there is a succession of butterflies. First to appear are the small tortoiseshell and brimstone butterflies and the green hairstreak. From May onwards there are fritillaries along with common blue, peacock and grayling. Badgers, foxes and roe deer are frequently seen on the reserve.
Hutton Roof Crags would once have been wooded and the current mosaic is a result of past clearance and grazing. Walls were built to create enclosures in the 19th century. At this time Hutton Roof Crags would probably have been more open than today. Reduced grazing pressure since the early 20th century has allowed trees and scrub to become established once more. Only Park Wood and Pickles Wood have had continuous woodland cover since the medieval period.
Keeping it special
Today, management is aimed at maintaining areas of open grassland and pavement. Cattle have a vital role to play in helping maintain the rich diversity of flowering plants. Coppicing takes place in the wooded area of Lancelot Clark Storth to provide breeding habitat for these species.
Lancelot Clark Storth was purchased in 1978. Burton Fell was given to the Trust in 1992 by the New Zealand descendents of William Atkinson. Park Wood and Hutton Roof Common are leased from Natural England and Hutton Roof Parish Council respectively.
By car: From the A6070 take the turn for Clawthorpe. Follow this for approx 1.5km/0.9 miles and park where bridleway is signed for Burton (SD 543 783). Follow bridleway across the field and into the wood until the reserve is reached(300m/330yds). Access to Hutton Roof Common can be gained by continuing along the road for a further 0.9km/0.5 miles.
By bicycle: The reserve is 6.6km/4 miles from National Route 6 (Greenwich to Keswick).
By public transport: Buses run from Lancaster and Kendal to Burton in Kendal.
Take a look at the Hutton Roof Crags photo gallery and find out what you could see at the nature reserve.
Watch 'Chasing Pavements' by film-maker Rachel Wegh