Cumbria Crack

Wildlife supporters toast South Lakes nature reserve

Staff, supporters and volunteers at Cumbria Wildlife Trust celebrate the 40th anniversary of Brown Robin Nature Reserve.

[F]orty years ago, Brown Robin Nature Reserve, a 26-acre limestone woodland near Grange-over-Sands was given to Cumbria Wildlife Trust by Mary Widdup, who lived in Brown Robin Cottage on the edge of the reserve. With stunning views across Morecambe Bay, the nature reserve is peaceful haven for wildlife and renowned for its displays of wildflowers.

To mark the 40th anniversary, a group of dedicated members, volunteers and friends joined Cumbria Wildlife Trust staff and trustee John Farmer at a celebratory event recently. Among those invited were Barbara Tonge from Kendal, one of the Trust’s longest-serving members who joined 45 years ago, Juliet Henderson from Cockermouth, a supporter of over 40 years’ standing and Rachel Nutman from Kendal, who has volunteered at many of the Trust’s work parties over the years.

Sonya Skinner, Individual Giving Officer at Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “It was a pleasure to share this key birthday with so many of our committed members and hardworking volunteers. We are so grateful for their amazing contribution over many years – they help protect wild places like Brown Robin Nature Reserve for wildlife and we were delighted to celebrate this important milestone with them.”

The guests were taken on a guided walk by Pete Jones, Reserves Officer with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, around the two contrasting habitats found on the nature reserve: hay meadows and semi-ancient woodlands. They enjoyed a variety of summer wildlife highlights, including beautiful common spotted orchids and eyebright.

Other summer plants in the meadows include bird’s foot trefoil, knapweed, pignut, wild thyme and common rockrose. Visitors can also see ant hills, created by the yellow meadow ant on Blawith Hill – you can sometimes see green woodpeckers feeding on them.

Brown Robin Nature Reserve is accessible by public transport, including by bus from Kendal and Barrow and is a short distance from Grange train station. You can park at the Cumbria Grand Hotel and follow signs for the woodland walk. This leads you through the hotel’s woods on to the nature reserve. The Cumbria Grand Hotel is corporate member of Cumbria Wildlife Trust. For more details about Brown Robin Nature Reserve go to

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