Know before you go
Entry feeAll donations are gratefully received.
Parking informationYes at The Old Stack Yard Tea Rooms, Wellington Farm.
Grazing animalsFell ponies in winter
Access is from The Old Stack Yard Tea Rooms, Wellington Farm, whose nature trail (0.6km) links to the nature reserve at its northeast corner. The nature reserve trail forms a circuit 0.8km/ 0.5miles long.
Kissing gates allow easy access but the terrain is undulating and wet in places.
Alternative access is from Moorland Close Farm to the south. From here walk 200 metres down the hill to link in with the nature reserve trail.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen all year round
Best time to visitApril to August
About the reserve
Many common species of tit can be seen in the woods and the rarer willow tit also breeds here.
- In spring - listen out for warblers in spring as they return from Africa to breed: whitethroat, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow, garden, grasshopper and sedge warblers can all be seen. Cowslips, early purple orchids and cuckoo flower in abundance.
- In summer - Ringlet and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies can be seen on sunny days on the wet grassland and you can find orange tips, peacock and even dark green fritillary butterflies. Various damselflies and dragonflies species are commonly seen including common blue and large red damselflies and southern and common hawkers.
- In autumn - devil's-bit scabious is flowering, common darter dragonflies soak up late sun. Look out for redpoll and redwing arriving In winter flocks of field fare and redwing feed on hawthorn and roe deer and brown hare seek refuge in the vegetation.
- In winter - flocks of fieldfare and redwing feeding on the hawthorn berries in winter.
An interesting landscape of diverse habitats
Dubbs Moss is a naturally damp hollow surrounded by farmland. A peat layer beneath the central area suggests it once had a small tarn, which over the past 10,000 years has become in-filled with plant matter.
Today, birch woodland, an area of damp fen grassland plus an area of dry herb-rich grassland with lichen-encrusted hawthorn scrub provides a wide-ranging landscape that attracts many different plants and animals.
The western part of the nature reserve is covered by relatively recent birch woodland. There is an area of damp fen grassland and a higher area of dry herb-rich grassland with hawthorn scrub. This diversity of habitats gives rise to a rich species mix.
Varied habitats on the reserve ensures that there is a succession of plant species throughout the spring and summer.
In spring the herb-rich grassland is covered with cowslip and early purple orchid which give way to commmon twayblade, betony and knapweed later in the year.
If you search hard you might find the uncommon adder's tongue fern in the grassland.
In the wetter fenland area you can find yellow flag iris, ragged robin, angelica and devil's-bit scabious.
The shade cast by the trees, in the woodland area combined with the wet ground, give ideal conditions for mosses and ferns to flourish.
Male fern, hard fern and narrow buckler fern and a variety of mosses thrive here.
What makes Dubbs Moss so special?
Shaded by the trees, the wet ground provides ideal conditions for mosses and ferns to flourish; male-fern, hard-fern and narrow buckler-fern all thrive.
By contrast, the vibrant colour of yellow iris, valerian, common spotted orchid and devil’s-bit scabious pepper the fen grassland.
Where this rises to dry grassland, early-purple orchid, cowslip, common knapweed and great burnet continue the show.
Welsh mountain ponies graze the land in winter to preserve this range of plants that are a magnet for pollinating insects.
Keeping it special
In winter we graze the reserve with fell ponies and carry out management to maintain the scattered scrub on the eastern side of the nature reserve.
Dubbs Moss was purchased by Cumbria Wildlife Trust in 1972.
From the roundabout at the Sheep and Wool Centre (joining the A5086 and the A66) take the turning to Mitchell’s Auction Mart. After 50 metres take a left and follow this road for 700 metres to The Old Stack Yard Tea Rooms, Wellington Farm.
The reserve is 2.5km/1.5 miles from National Route 71 Sea to Sea (Coast2Coast).
By Public transport:
Buses run from Cockermouth and Whitehaven to Eaglesfield.