This traditional small-holding is home to one of the rarest and most threatened wildlife habitats in Cumbria: northern upland hay meadows.

Location

Ravenstonedale near Kirkby Stephen
Ravenstonedale
Cumbria
CA17 4LJ

OS Map Reference

OS Map Reference: 1:50,000
Sheet no: 91
Grid reference: NY 740 031
A static map of Bowberhead Farm

Know before you go

Entry fee

All donations gratefully received

Bicycle parking

No

Grazing animals

Yes

Access

Currently, there is no public access to the farm and meadows other than via the existing public right of way and from surrounding lanes.  

If using the public right of way, please stick to the defined path to avoid trampling the crop. Please also ensure that all dogs are on leads. 

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open all year round

Best time to visit

May to July

About the reserve

 

Wildlife highlights:

  • In summer: swathes of pink, purple, yellow and white flowers bloom in the meadows.
  • In summer: the meadows are alive with the buzz and flutter of pollinating insects.

What makes Bowberhead Farm so special?

This traditional small-holding lies within the picturesque setting of the Westmorland Dales. It has been farmed in its current layout for over 400 years and is home to a series of internationally-important flower-rich hay meadows.

Not only are they beautiful, they are incredibly important as only 900 hectares of these upland hay meadows survive across the counties of northern England today.

The meadows, known locally as ‘herbie’ meadows due to the abundance of flowering herbs such as wood crane’s-bill, greater burnet and lady’s mantles, are scheduled as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  

When Bowberhead Farm was surveyed in the 1980s an astonishing 92 species of plant were recorded.  

Recent history

Bowberhead Farm was owned by the Frankland family for many years. In 2020 it was transferred to Cumbria Wildlife Trust in lieu of Inheritance Tax, as part of the settlement of the estate of Juliet Frankland who died in 2013.

 

Take a virtual tour of Bowerhead Farm Nature Reserve