Ivy Crag Wood

Steeply sloping, this small remnant of oak woodland on the slopes of the Dodd below Skiddaw, provides an excellent habitat for birds such as pied-flycatcher.


Near Keswick

OS Map Reference

OS 1:50,000 Sheet No. 90
Grid reference NY 244 266
A static map of Ivy Crag Wood

Know before you go

2 hectares

Entry fee

All donations are gratefully received.

Parking information

No designated parking

Bicycle parking


Grazing animals



Ivy Crag Wood nature reserve is extremely steep and there are no waymarked paths.


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open all year round

Best time to visit

April to July, September to November

About the reserve

Wildlife highlights

  • Red squirrels are still common in the area so be sure to look out for them.
  • Pied flycatcher are a speciality of upland oak woodland in the summer as they use the holes in the trees for nesting.
  • Look out for redstart, great spotted woodpecker, treecreeper and tawny owl.

Remnant oak woodland

Ivy Crag Wood is one of the only areas of oak woodland on the Dodd below Skiddaw and the mature trees are incredibly valuable for wildlife.

The attractive ground flora includes wood sage, bluebell and wood anemone, reflecting the acidic nature of the underlying Skiddaw slate, which outcrops in some areas.

Woodland wildlife

The oaks are now mature and provide nest holes and dead wood making them extremely valuable for wildlife.

As well as oak, ash, sycamore and sweet chestnut are present.

Keeping it special

Main management is the removal of conifers and beech which colonise the site from the surrounding forestry plantation.

Rhododendron, which occurs in the lower part of the nature reserve, is also being removed.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust also maintains a number of nest boxes on the nature reserve to provide additional nest sites.

Recent history

Ivy Crag Wood nature reserve was given to the Trust in 1969 by Miss F M Linley.

Although it appears natural, records show that the whole of the Dodd was planted at the end of the 18th century, probably with oak and other native tree species.

Since then, the rest of the Dodd has been managed for commercial forestry with exotic conifers and beech being planted.

Ivy Crag Wood is one of the only areas which still has the original oak woodland. Traditionally the wood would have been harvested regularly by coppicing and there is evidence of charcoal burning on the site in the form of a level pitstead. However at some point, coppicing ceased and high forest was allowed to develop.

Getting here

By car: 

From A591 take the road signed for Millbeck. Almost immediately after the junction turn left into the entrance of a forest track. Park here and follow the track (which runs parallel to the main road) to its end. Continue ahead on a narrow path until the reserve is reached

By bicycle:

The reserve is on Regional Route 38.

By public transport:

Buses run past Ivy Crag nature reserve from Keswick to Bassenthwaite.

Contact us

Lee Schofield
Contact number: 01228 829570

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