Remote, dramatic and exhilarating-the landscape of the Pennines forms the backbone of England, and this reserve gives you the chance to see some of its most spectacular geological formations, waterfalls and panoramic views.
Where: Cumbria & Durham
Main habitat: Upland, including blanket bog, northern hay meadows and limestone grassland
Why visit: Rare arctic-alpine plants, remnants of the ice-age, can be found here. During the breeding season (April to June) many species of wading birds such as lapwing, curlew, redshank and golden plover can be seen displaying. Explore using the network of well signed public footpaths and find three dramatic waterfalls , Cauldron Snout, High Force and Low Force.
Star species: the reserve is famous for the rare spring gentian as well as England’s largest Juniper wood. The rare black grouse also breeds here, as does the golden plover and ring ouzel.
Access: there is a wide range of different walks and trails across the reserve, from the difficult to the moderate, including the Widdybank Fell Nature Trail, which follows a surfaced track and is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs accompanied by helper(s) to push up 2 slopes.
The North Pennines AONB partnership run a visitor centre in Bowlees which will open, following refurbishment, in Spring 2013. Bowlees is an ideal place to start a walk down to the waterfalls at Low Force, reach the Pennine Way and access the eastern part of the NNR.
Barnard Castle, the nearest town to Upper Teesdale, has an excellent castle, as well as the Bowes Museum. Penrith, Appleby and Alston are interesting market towns adjacent to the Moor House side of the Reserve. Durham Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall are also close by.
You may also be interested in visiting Smardale Gill (Cumbria Wildlife Trust), Low Barns Nature Reserve (Durham Wildlife Trust), the North Pennines AONB, Hamsterley Forest (Forestry Commission), and Killhope Lead Mining Museum.
For your own safety, please keep to the waymarked routes – there are hidden mineshafts in the area.
Beware of unexploded ammunition in the MOD Danger Areas. Access to the Mickle Fell area (MOD Danger Area) is by permit only – applications to The Range Officer, Warcop Training Area, Warcop, Appleby, Cumbria CA16 6PA.
The weather on the Reserve is often cooler than lower down the valley, and can deteriorate rapidly – carry weather-proof clothing and know how to use a map and compass.
Take care with children – especially along the river bank where water levels can rise quickly, and in the juniper woods around High Force, where there are unfenced cliff edges hidden amongst the bushes
For more information about the reserve please contact the reserve office:
Tel 01833 622374
Other NNRs in the area