Brown Robin

Typical limestone woodland with magnificent display of spring flowers interspersed with species rich grassland. Wax cap fungi and yellow meadow ants are found here. Great views over the Kent estuary.


Brown Robin Nature Reserve
Grange over Sands
LA11 6EN

OS Map Reference

Sheet no. 97
Grid reference SD 411 791
A static map of Brown Robin

Know before you go

26 hectares

Entry fee

All donations are gratefully received.

Parking information

Layby on Windermere road. Scroll down to the Getting Here section to see info on alternative parking.

Bicycle parking


Grazing animals

Cattle and sheep

Walking trails

There is a circular path around the reserve (2km/ 1.2 miles), waymarked with white-topped posts. This involves some steps and pedestrian gates.


Some steep ground. Path has steps and ladder stiles.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to October

About the reserve

Wildlife highlights

  • Watch elusive hawfinches using their powerful beaks to open cherry and hornbeam seeds
  • Look out for yellow meadow ant hills on Blawith Hill – green woodpeckers can sometimes be seen feeding on them
  • In Spring - display of bluebells and other spring flowers in the woodland
  • In Autumn - Merlewood Bank is a great place to see colourful waxcap fungi

What makes Brown Robin nature reserve so special? 

This is a typical limestone woodland of ash and hazel with yew forming dense stands in places.

A magnificent display of bluebells, wood anemone, wild garlic and primroses carpet the woodland in spring, while spurge laurel, a small shrub with highly-scented flowers, thrives here at the northern edge of its range in Britain.

Stinking iris, a plant that gets its name from the smell of fresh meat given off when its leaves are crushed, is another plant more commonly found further south.  It thrives here  although is probably introduced.


The grasslands have been fertiliser-free for many years and are grazed by cattle, which encourages wildflowers.

Merlewood Bank and the Top Fields are great places to see bird’s-foot-trefoil, common knapweed, pignut and wild thyme, which flourish in the summer. 

Keeping it special

Historically the woodland would have been coppiced on a regular basis. Recently, we've re-introduced coppicing to a small enclosure within the wood. The fence ensures that the coppice regrows, as there is a large roe deer population in the area.

The grasslands have had no fertiliser application for many years and we graze them with both cattle and sheep to maintain the species diversity. 

Recent history

The nature reserve was given to the Trust in 1977 by Miss Mary Widdup.

Getting here

By car:

From Grange-over-Sands, take B5271 Windermere Road towards Lindale. Parking is in a layby on the right-hand side of the road approximately 1km/0.64 miles after the mini-roundabout.

Alternatively, park near Grange Railway Station and approach the reserve on foot via the driveway to the Netherwood Hotel. Once in the hotel car park, a track continues up hill to the left. Follow this until the reserve is reached.

The Trust also has an access arrangement with the Cumbria Grand Hotel on the B5277 approach to Grange-over Sands.

Cars may be parked in the hotel car park and the reserve accessed through the hotel woodland and a gate in the boundary (hotel guests have priority parking).

By bicycle:

The reserve is on National Route 70 Walney  to Wear (W2W) and National Route 700  The Bay Cycleway.

By public transport:

Trains run from Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston and Lancaster to Grange-over-Sands. Buses run from Kendal to Grange-over-Sands.

Contact us

Peter Jones
Contact number: 01539 816300

Environmental designation

Local Wildlife Site (LWS)

Upcoming events at Brown Robin Nature Reserve

If there are any upcoming events at Brown Robin Nature Reserve we'll show them to you below.