Furness Tours

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Nature Tours

Just a small selection of the many local nature reserves.

South Walney is a well known its Seal colony.

Sandscale  Haws

Coastlines can come and go with changes in tides and

Winds. The National Trust nature reserve at Sandscale

Haws is a growing landscape; sand is deposited on the

shore and is blown into a broad ridge of spectacular

dunes. Behind these ‘yellow dunes’ are slacks or marshy

hollows and a series of more stable ‘grey dunes’. The

mix of wildlife habitats is unique. Flowers abound,

including specialities like the dune pansy, sea holly and

sea bindweed. In the spring, pools of water in the slacks

are the breeding sites of natterjack toads and great

crested newts, and in the summer when the slacks dry

out there are drifts of marsh orchids and clouds of

blue butterflies. It is possible to walk from the Trust car

park at the end of Hawthwaite Lane to the shore, then

along the beach south to Lousy Point. There are fine

views across Duddon Sands to the Lakeland hills, and

over to Walney Island. The tidal saltmarshes are the

feeding grounds of migrant wading birds and wintering

sea-duck. From Lousy Point there are several paths

leading through the dunes back to the car park, shop

and toilets.

North Walney

On the tip of Walney Island. This is a National Nature Reserve

 Mudflats and saltings,shingle ridges, grey dunes and heathland, slacks and old gravel workings make up the wildlife habitats of North Walney. Again this is a place for special flowers able to cope with hot sunshine and biting winds.

 Specialities of the dry dunes include sea spurge and sea holly, the scented burnet-rose and the unique Walney geranium,

a variety of bloody cranesbill. Because the dune slopes

create their own sun-soaked micro-climate they attract

a range of fascinating insects, including robber-flies and

sand wasps, fox-moths and grayling butterflies.

The salt-marsh is carpeted by drifts of sea lavender and

thrift, and in the winter it is the haunt of wading birds such

as the redshank, dunlin, grey plover and bar-tailed godwit.

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South Walney

This important reserve, managed by the Cumbria

Wildlife Trust, makes up the southern spur of Walney

Island and includes a variety of habitats such as mudflats

and sand dunes, saltmarshes and saline lagoons. The

reserve is famous for breeding, wintering and migrating

birds. In the summer there are huge colonies of lesser

black-back and herring gulls; South Walney is also the

most southerly breeding site of the eider duck. Autumn

migration time sees the arrival of wind blown migrants

from America, North Africa or even Siberia. Anything

from a black stork to a paddyfield warbler. And winter is

the season for sea-duck and flocks of waders, roosting

and feeding on the saltings.

Ormsgill Quarry

Many of the  older buildings in Barrow are built of

St Bees sandstone won from Ormsgill Quarry. The

site is now an attractive local feature providing

a panoramic viewpoint over the town and the

Cumbrian coast. Birds such as kestrels and barn

owls have been recorded from the quarry and at

the southern end of the site there is a fragment of

woodland with wych elm and sycamore.

A path crosses Hawcoat Fields and goes through

Ormsgill Quarry, linking into Schneider Road.

A short way to the south you will find Ormsgill

Reservoir. This is a well-known refuge for waterbirds;

in the winter the old reservoir attracts flocks

of pochard, tufted duck and mergansers, and in

the summer there are nesting swans and grebes. A

path runs around the reed-lined shore.