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Local volunteers create new boardwalk at Drumburgh Moss

L-R: Volunteers Norman McPhail, John Lackie and Malcom Burnes worked on the new boardwalk at Drumburgh Moss Nature Reserve

A new 600-metre-long boardwalk has recently opened at Drumburgh Moss Nature Reserve on the Solway. Cumbria Wildlife Trust has constructed the first circular walkway on its nature reserve, thanks to funding from Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust and the hard work and skills of a dedicated team of local volunteers.

Norman McPhail from Carlisle, John Lackie from Aspatria and Malcolm Burnes from Cumwhinton were among the volunteers who contributed an impressive 28 days over several weeks (totalling more than 700 hours) to ensure completion of the new route. It is made from second-hand hardwood railway sleepers and untreated Scottish larch placed on top, making it a sustainable construction which should last at least 10-15 years.

Norman said: “I have been volunteering with Cumbria Wildlife Trust for some three years, since I retired. I greatly enjoy the work parties, helping to maintain and improve the Trust’s reserves but also because I enjoy working with the other volunteers. We work hard but also have a lot of fun. This particular project was great because it was such a huge challenge and was to a large extent achieved by just four of us and it’s really nice to look back and think we did that, it gives you a great sense of achievement.”

Kevin Scott, Northern Reserves Officer with Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “We’re very grateful to our great team of volunteers for their invaluable help in constructing this great new boardwalk. It creates a relatively easy circular walk for the first time, as it links two sections of path that were ‘there and back again’ routes. The route is on the northern edge of the moss and passes a viewing platform, which provides stunning views across the bog to Criffel in Scotland and Skiddaw and the Caldbeck fells in the Lake District. We hope this will encourage people to visit this quiet site and gain an appreciation of this incredibly important habitat and the multitude of species it supports.”

Drumburgh Moss Nature Reserve is a site of international importance, dominated by an expanse of lowland raised mire (bog), one of Western Europe’s most threatened habitats. As well as stunning views, Drumburgh Moss is also worth visiting for its wildlife. At this time of year, you may see short-eared owls hunting over the moss and hardy Exmoor ponies grazing on the nature reserve. Over winter, Drumburgh Moss often hosts small numbers of geese from the huge flocks on the Solway.

When visiting, please be aware that sections of the route are wet, so wellies are recommended.

To find out more about volunteering at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, go to https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer.

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