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Ivy Crag Wood

Steeply sloping, this small remnant of oak woodland on the slopes of the Dodd below Skiddaw, provides an excellent habitat for birds such as pied-flycatcher.

Remnant oak woodland

Ivy Crag Wood is a small remnant of oak woodland on the slopes of Dodd below Skiddaw. Although it appears natural, records show that the whole of the Dodd was planted at the end of the 18th century, probably with oak and other native tree species. Since then, the rest of the Dodd has been managed for commercial forestry with exotic conifers and beech being planted. Ivy Crag Wood is one of the only areas which still has the original oak woodland. Traditionally the wood would have been harvested regularly by coppicing and there is evidence of charcoal burning on the site in the form of a level pitstead. However at some point, coppicing ceased and high forest was allowed to develop.

Woodland wildlife

The oaks are now mature and are starting to provide nest holes and dead wood making them extremely valuable for wildlife. The site is regularly used by pied flycatcher, a speciality of upland oak woodlands which utilise holes in trees for nesting. Redstart, great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper and tawny owl also breed on the nature reserve. In addition, the Trust maintains a number of nest boxes on the nature reserve to provide additional nest sites.

As well as oak, ash, sycamore, and sweet chestnut are present. Conifers and beech from the surrounding forestry plantation have also started to colonise the site although management is carried out to reduce the impact of this. Rhododendron, which occurs in the lower part of the nature reserve, is also being removed.

Red squirrels are still common in the area and may be seen on the nature reserve. The site is exceptionally steep and is underlain by Skiddaw slate which outcrops in some areas. The ground flora reflects the acidic nature of the underlying rock and includes wood sage, bluebell and wood anemone.


Main management is the removal of conifers and beech which colonise the site from the surrounding forestry plantation. Rhododendron, which occurs in the lower part of the nature reserve, is also being removed.

The nature reserve was given to the Trust in 1969 by Miss F M Linley.

Getting here

By car:  From A591 take the road signed for Millbeck. Almost immediately after the junction turn left into the entrance of a forest track. Park here and follow the track (which runs parallel to the main road) to its end. Continue ahead on a narrow path until the reserve is reached.
By bicycle: The reserve is on Regional Route 38.
By public transport: Buses run past the reserve from Keswick to Bassenthwaite.

Nearby nature reserves

Boathouse Field
2 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Dubbs Moss
9 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Eycott Hill
9 miles - Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Near Keswick
Map reference
NY 244 266
Great for...
spring flowers
Best time to visit
Apr - Jul
Sep - Nov
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
1.60 hectares
Steep. No paths
Walking information
The reserve is extremely steep and there are no waymarked paths
Park on forest track leading to the reserve
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Kevin Scott
Tel: 01228 829570