Hutton Roof Crags

image of limestone pavement hutton roof crags nature reserve

Limestone pavement at Hutton Roof Crags Nature Reserve

Hutton Roof Crags contains some of the best areas of limestone pavement in Britain, with a wealth of unusual plants and animals. Pavement occurs in a mosaic with woodland, scrub, grassland and heath.


Near Burton in Kendal
Burton in Kendal

OS Map Reference

OS 1:50,000
Sheet no. 97
Grid reference SD 543 799
A static map of Hutton Roof Crags

Know before you go

270 hectares

Entry fee

All donations are gratefully received.

Parking information

No designated parking

Bicycle parking


Grazing animals


Walking trails

There are two waymarked circular routes and an audio trail on Burton Fell and Lancelot Clark Storth (white route 1.5km/0.9 miles, red route 2.6km/1.6 miles) accessible from the Clawthorpe Road.


The whole area is open access land and is served by a number of public rights of way and informal paths. These can be narrow, uneven and muddy, and may cross limestone pavement. Navigation can be difficult and a detailed OS map is recommended. 


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

April to July

About the reserve

Wildlife highlights

  • A succession of butterflies can be seen from April – brimstone, green hairstreak and  small tortoiseshell are the first to appear, then the eye-catching fritillaries, common blue, peacock and grayling are on the wing from May onwards.
  • Unusual limestone pavement specialists such as dark-red helleborine, lily-of-the-valley, rigid buckler-fern, limestone fern and angular Solomon’s-seal in summer.
  • In summer - hear birds such as willow warbler and skylark along with the resident nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and woodcock.
  • In spring -  In the more open areas you can find dark red helleborine, fly orchids and early purple orchids.
  • In autumn - the nature reserve is alive with flocks of long-tailed tits, redwing, fieldfare and mistle thrush.
  • At any time of year explore the limestone pavement and take in the views.
  • On the thinnest soil look out blue moor grass - with its silky blue flowers in April. 
  • Juniper is abundant both on the pavement and the grassland and there is lots of scrub areas. On thicker soil you will find bracken sometimes with bilberry and heather beneath.

What makes Hutton Roof Crags so special? 

The limestone pavement is home to a number of specialist rare ferns and flowering  plants, and the very thin limestone soil is ideal for dark-red helleborine and juniper to thrive.


In summer you will hear birds such as willow warbler and skylark, along with the resident birds such as nuthatch, greater spotted woodpecker and woodcock. 

From April there is a succession of butterflies. First to appear are the small tortoiseshell and brimstone butterflies and the green hairstreak. 

From May onwards there are fritillaries along with common blue, peacock and grayling. 

Badgers, foxes and roe deer are frequently seen on the reserve.


Comprising the land known as Lancelot Clark Storth and Burton Fell, the nature reserve contains some of the best areas of limestone pavement in Britain.

Once wooded, the current mosaic of woodland, scrub, grassland and heath results from past clearance and grazing.  Walls were built to create enclosures in the 19th century.

Reduced grazing pressure since the early 20th century has allowed trees and scrub to re-establish.  

Only Park Wood and Pickles Wood have had continuous woodland cover since the medieval period.

Keeping it special

Today, management is aimed at maintaining areas of open grassland and pavement.  Cattle have a vital role to play in helping maintain the rich diversity of flowering plants.

Coppicing takes place in the wooded area of Lancelot Clark Storth to provide breeding habitat for these species.

Recent history

Lancelot Clark Storth was purchased in 1978. Burton Fell was given to the Trust in 1992 by the New Zealand descendents of William Atkinson. Park Wood and Hutton Roof Common are leased from Natural England and Hutton Roof Parish Council respectively.

Getting here

By car:

From M6 junction 36 take A65 then A6070 towards Burton-in-Kendal. At the Clawthorpe Hall Business Centre take the left turn signed for Clawthorpe. Follow this for approx 1.5km/0.9 miles and park where bridleway is signed for Burton (SD 543 783). Follow bridleway across the field and into the wood until the reserve is reached (300m/330yds).

By bicycle:

The reserve is 5km/2.5miles from Regional Route 90.

By public transport:

Buses run from Lancaster and Kendal to Burton-in-Kendal.

Watch 'Chasing Pavements' by film-maker Rachel Wegh Chasing Pavements from Rachel Wegh on Vimeo.  

Contact us

Andrew Walter
Contact number: 01539 816300

Environmental designation

National Nature Reserve (NNR)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

Upcoming events at Hutton Roof Crags Nature Reserve

If there are any upcoming events at Hutton Roof Crags Nature Reserve we'll show them to you below.

Explore Hutton Roof Crags Nature Reserve with our Audio Trail

Track 1: Introduction

Track 2: Cattle grazing

Track 3: Ancient woodland

Track 4: Butterflies and limestone grassland

Track 5: Coppice woodland

Track 6: Limestone pavement

Track 7: Rest and view

Track 8: Birds

Track 9: Green hairstreak heathland and juniper

Track 10: Common land