Bugs and Birds: Foulshaw Moss

Foulshaw Moss 2013. Steve Pipe

For such a big reserve this is going to be a rather short blog, this is mainly because despite its size there is only a relatively small portion accessible to the public, but it’s still well worth popping along for a visit.
Foulshaw Moss 2013

Foulshaw Moss 2013. Steve Pipe

The site lies to the south of A590 opposite Whitbarrow Scar and I’ll be honest, it’s pretty hard to spot the entrance. From the Kendal direction look for the dirt track on the left, it’s about ½ mile into the single carriageway stretch and there’s a wooden farm gate which is a little easier to spot. If you’re coming from Barrow the safest advice is to continue along to the Milnthorpe junction to turn around and approach from the other direction. If you’re staying locally then by far the best approach is by bike; there are some excellent lanes from either Meathop or Grange-over-Sands and you can avoid the A590 completely.

Dragonfly. Foulshaw Moss 2013

Dragonfly. Foulshaw Moss 2013. Steve Pipe

This site isn’t about the big dramatic scenery it’s about the small spectacles; the plants, birds and insects, so keep your eyes peeled at all times. During our visit there were dragonflies zipping about everywhere; we managed to get a picture of what we believe is possibly a Brown Hawker and near to the pond we saw what was most likely an Emperor though it wouldn’t stay still long enough for us to be certain. We also got up close and personal with some Damselflies, one of whom seemed only too keen to have his photo taken.

Whilst we were up on the viewing platform we spotted several red deer away in the distance and a couple of buzzards wheeling around looking for lunch. The views from the platform are unlike any others in Cumbria in that the dominant feature is a broad flat grassy plain; the long grasses doing an excellent job of hiding the deer who become visible only when their heads pop up to take a look around.

There was also an impressive abundance of Cotton-grass on the site, both Common and Hare’s-Tail, bobbing around in the warm breeze and an assortment of butterflies flitting around; we spotted Peacocks and Common Whites but there were plenty more and certainly enough to keep the Lepidopterists amongst us happy for some time.

The large boardwalk around the rest of the site is currently closed and awaiting restoration. There are plenty of warning signs and we took a quick look at it; it really isn’t safe just now so definitely best avoided. My advice is to take your binoculars and sarnies and settle into the benches on the viewing platform; the Willow Warblers will serenade you as you enjoy a leisurely lunch and take in the rest of the wildlife.

About the authors: Beth Pipe is an outdoor writer and blogger and Steve is a photographer. You can read more blogs about Life & Hiking in Cumbria by Steve & Beth on their Cumbrian Rambler webpage