Gait Barrows NNR is a rich mosaic of limestone habitats including unique limestone pavement, yew woodland, fen and reedbed.
Main habitats: Limestone pavement, woodland, fen, limestone grassland.
Why visit: Lying in the heart of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Gait Barrows is one of Britain's most important areas of limestone landscape.
It covers an intricate mosaic of limestone habitats that are home to a huge variety of rare and beautiful wildlife. From open rock, to damp fen, deep yew forest and even the tranquil Hawes Water there is much to see on a visit to Gait Barrows.
Please note: Although the nature trails and public footpaths are open to the public at all times, other parts of Gait Barrows are by permit only due to the sensitive nature of the site.
To request a permit, please contact Senior Reserve Manager, Rob Petley-Jones, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 07747 852905 providing the email or postal address to which you would like the permit to be sent.
Ticks are present on this reserve and Lyme disease is present in this area of the country. Visitors are advised to take adequate precautions such as covering arms and legs, and checking for bites after their visit.
Star species: The lady’s-slipper orchid is the rarest of all British wildflowers. Once thought to be extinct in the UK, this special plant has since been rediscovered and a national species recovery program has been launched. Gait Barrows is now home to a thriving population of reintroduced plants.
The Duke of Burgundy and high brown fritillary butterflies thrive in the woodland glades and clearings, which are carefully managed for their benefit. Look out for small orange and brown Duke of Burgundy in May and the larger high brown fritillary in July and August.
The woodlands and wetlands provide a home for large numbers of redwing and fieldfare arriving from Scandinavia in autumn to feed on the abundant yew berry crop. The restored reed beds of Hawes Water Moss are also home to marsh harrier, bittern and reed bunting.
Access: There are interpretation panels and waymarked trails through the reserve and a number of public footpaths. Leaflets are available to download from our website.
Hawes Water Trail is accessible for all, and disabled parking can be found at the eastern end of this trail. The Limestone Trail is Tramper-friendly but unfortunately slopes and steps on the Yew Trail make it inaccessible for trampers and wheelchairs.
To avoid disturbance to wildlife, dogs are not allowed away from the public footpaths and should be kept on a lead at all times. Much of the site is hazardous and care should be taken when leaving the paths. There is no access to Little Hawes Water or Hawes Water Moss as these areas are extremely hazardous.
Other NNRs in the area
Invasive aquatic species
Help stop the spread
Check, Clean, Dry