South Lakes nature reserve celebrates its 20th birthday

It’s 20 years since Cumbria Wildlife Trust acquired Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve near Witherslack
Image of 20th anniversary walk at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve

Members, supporters and volunteers celebrate the 20th anniversary of Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve 

Since 1998 the charity has transformed the land, restoring 350 acres of precious peatbog. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, a group of dedicated members and supporters of the Trust recently joined staff and volunteers for a celebratory walk around this stunning nature reserve.

Paul Waterhouse, Reserves Officer at  Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “It was such a pleasure to share this milestone birthday with some of our committed members and hardworking volunteers and supporters. Hundreds of people have worked hard over two decades to restore this precious peatland, which has been damaged over time through drainage and being used as a commercial conifer plantation. In recent years we’ve added accessible boardwalks, lots of signage and a wonderful viewing platform, so that visitors can enjoy watching the pair of ospreys which has come to the site to breed for the past five years.”

The walk coincided with the hatching of the first of this year’s osprey chicks, which Paul was able to show the supporters on the Trust’s osprey webcam. He said: “Seeing the first of this year’s young ospreys was the icing on the Foulshaw birthday cake!”

Cumbria Wildlife Trust bought Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund in 1998. Since then the nature reserve has also benefitted from the generosity of supporters who have left a donation in their will. For example in 2012 a legacy from Audrey Lambert, who lived in London but spent a significant part of her life in the Duddon Valley,  helped to create the fen habitats and improvements for visitors, including signs and the boardwalk.

Image of Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve with cottongrass in foreground. Credit: Bex Lynam

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve with cottongrass in the foreground. © Bex Lynam

After 20 years of restoration work, Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is now recognised as an internationally-important area of lowland raised mire.

As well as the ospreys, which draw thousands of visitors each year, the nature reserve is an important habitat for a wealth of other wildlife, including specialist peatland plants such as Sphagnum Moss and cottongrass.

Throughout summer you can see a wonderful array of dragonflies and damselflies around the peaty pools, including the rare white-faced darter, and see reptiles such as common lizards, basking on the boardwalk in the sunshine.

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is open to visitors and is located off the A590. There are now three osprey chicks which can be viewed on the osprey webam.