Back to reserve map

Hutton Roof Crags

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.

Plant specialists

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.

Getting here

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

Chasing Pavements from Rachel Wegh on Vimeo.


Speed walling!

Nearby nature reserves

Hale Moss
2 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Warton Crag
5 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
Over Kellet Pond
5 miles - The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

Nature reserve map

Great places to stay

Hutton House

Tythebarn House B&B


Reserve information

Near Burton in Kendal
Burton in Kendal
Map reference
SD 548 776
Great for...
geological interest
stunning views
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
270.00 hectares
National Nature Reserve (NNR)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Walking information
Download our audio trail and map to Hutton Roof Crags for the best wildlife experience - just click read more above in the main text. With the exception of Park Wood, the whole area is open access land and is served by a number of public rights of way and informal paths. These can be narrow and uneven and may cross limestone pavement. Navigation can be difficult and a detailed OS map is recommended. There are two waymarked circular routes on Burton Fell and Lancelot Clark Storth (white route- 1.5km/0.9 miles, red route 2.6km/1.6 miles) accessible from the Clawthorpe Road.
Park at SD 543 783, where bridleway is signposted for Burton
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Andrew Walter
Tel: 01539 816300