Corporate report

Northumberland's National Nature Reserves

Published 2 September 2014

Derwent Gorge and Muggleswick Woods

The site contains some of the finest ancient oak woodlands in north east England as well as some unique semi natural grasslands. It is designated as Site of Scientific Special Interest for these features in addition to its lichen assemblage.

Main habitats: ancient oak and ash woodland

Features of interest

The zonation of woodland types, from dry acid sessile oak woods on the higher ground to the flushed lime rich ash woodland and wet alder woodland in the lower slopes, creates a rich diversity of woodland flora and fauna. The site is recognised as regionally important for epiphytic lichens, with over 60 species recorded.

Red kites and buzzards may be seen gliding above the canopy with spotted and pied flycatcher, redpoll, siskins and wood warblers within the woods. Dippers, kingfishers and goosanders frequent the river and its tributaries, whilst historically the site has had populations of red squirrel and there are roe deer in the woods.

Directions

The reserve lies 4 miles (6.5km) south-west of Consett in Co Durham. Take the A629 through Castleside towards Stanhope, after half a mile turn right towards Muggleswick. Enter the NNR along a public footpath which begins a further mile and a quarter (2km) along this road on the right hand side (grid reference NZ055487).

A number of footpaths cross the reserve (a permit is required away from these paths). There are many high-sided, steep and slippery banks within Derwent Gorge. You are advised to keep to the public rights of way which provide a safe route through the woodlands.

There are no formal car parks although there are several small lay-bys with enough space for up to 2 cars along the Castleside to Muggleswick road. There are better car parking facilities available at nearby Derwent Reservoir.

The site is occasionally used by community groups and school groups for activities such as tree planting and litter picking. If you would like to use the site for your group, or for any enquiries regarding volunteering or educational opportunities at the North Pennines NNRs, please contact the reserve manager.

Contact

Telephone: 01833 622374

Martin Furness
Reserve Manager
Widdybank Farm
Langdon Beck
Forest in Teesdale
Barnard Castle
DL12 0HQ

Farne Islands

The reserve is a small archipelago of islands (between 15 and 28, depending on the tide) lying approximately 5 km off coast of Northumberland

Main habitats: maritime

Area: 96 ha

Management: The Farne Islands reserve is owned and managed by the National Trust.

Features of interest

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit are on the Farne Islands page on the National Trust website.

Contact

Email: farneislands@nationaltrust.org.uk
Telephone: 01665 720651

Greenlee Lough

Greenlee Lough is one of the Roman Wall loughs, or shallow lakes, found near Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. It is the largest natural freshwater lake in Northumberland supporting aquatic plant species that require low levels of nutrients, which can be accessed by a boardwalk over surrounding habitats such as mires, reedbeds and wet woodland.

Main habitats: open water

Management: Greenlee Lough and some of the surrounding land is owned and managed by Northumberland National Park Authority

The National Park Authority directly manages the areas that are not grazed on the margins including mire, reedbed and wet woodland, the remainder being managed by tenants in Higher Level Schemes including some hay meadows. This is to ensure that land management surrounding the lough does not affect the water quality.

The site is also a Northumberland Wildlife Trust reserve as the NWT helped the National Park Authority purchase the lough in 1991.

Features of interest

Further details about notable species and visiting information are on Northumberland National Park Authority’s page on Greenlee Lough.

Contact

Email:gill.thompson@nnpa.org.uk
Tel: 01434 611517

Gill Thompson
Northumberland National Park
Eastburn
South Park
Hexham
Northumberland
NE46 1BS

Kielderhead

The area is composed of high elevation blanket mire, wet heath and dry heath, dissected by a number of valleys with vegetation characteristic of better-drained soils including scrub filled cleughs. Of primary interest is the large undisturbed moorland, uncommon in England, which has a wide range of plant communities and supports a variety of upland birds.

Main habitats: peatland

Management: under the guidance of the Kielderhead Committee - Forestry Commission England and Scotland, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

Features of interest

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit can be found on the the Forestry Commission’s page on Kielder.

Contact

Email:enquiries.northengland@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 01434 220242

Forestry Commission
North England Forest District
Bellingham
Hexham
Northumberland
NE48 2HP

Kielder Mires

The NNR is formed of 2 deep peat mires known as Grain Heads Moss and Coom Rigg Moss. The mires are part of a collection of more than 50 recognised peat bodies known as the Border Mires which are mostly located within the boundaries of Kielder Forest. In addition to NNR status, Grain Heads Moss and Coom Rigg Moss are Ramsar sites and Special Areas of Conservation.

Main habitats: deep peat mires

Management: under the guidance of the Border Mires Committee - Forestry Commission, Natural England, Northumberland National Park Authority, RAF Spadeadam and Northumberland Wildlife Trust. Newcastle University have also had significant management involvement.

Features of interest

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit can be found on the Kielder page on the Forestry Commission website.

Contact

Email: enquiries.northengland@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 01434 220242

Forestry Commission
North England Forest District
Bellingham
Hexham
Northumberland
NE48 2HP

Lindisfarne

On the edge of Britain land and water meet. Tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and dunes combine to create a place which is home to fascinating plants and to a food supply that attracts bird visitors from thousands of miles away.

Main habitats: coastal - intertidal mudflats, rocky shore, sand dunes and saltmarsh

The reserve protects a long stretch of coast, including the dunes of Holy Island. Natural England works to ensure that the birds and plants of the area continue to survive in harmony with each other and the people who live and visit here.

Features of interest

At Lindisfarne experience a sense of wilderness and tranquillity with its wide expansive sandy beaches, big skies and the ever present, ever changing North Sea. Along with the fabulous summer dune flowers and huge influx of visiting birds every autumn and winter, there’s always something to see. Get the island experience as the reserve also encompasses parts of Holy Island, which can only be reached at low tide across the causeway.

Every autumn the skies fill will migratory birds escaping the cold arctic winters. Amongst them are the light bellied Brent geese who travel from Svarlbard with their young families to feed on the rich mudflats, this is their only regular wintering site in Britain, accommodating 40% of the world population.

To see what is happening on Lindisfarne NNR, follow our Lindisfarne blog.

See the site visitor leaflet for more details.

The Holy Island Partnership was formed in 2009 by the local community and organisations operating on the island. It seeks solutions to island issues and develops projects which help guide its future management and secure the islands rich historic, cultural and environmental diversity. Natural England is a partner.

Safety

Pirri-pirri bur is a non-native plant which has colonised large areas of duneland. It can be a problem as they cling to clothing and fur; please be careful not to spread it to other sites. Refer to on-site signage for more information.

Contact

For more information about the reserve, guided walks or volunteering please contact the reserve base on 01289 381470.

Muckle Moss

Muckle Moss NNR is a mire, or ‘peat-bog’, that occupies an oval shaped depression confined between two parallel sandstone ridges. The mire surface is a saturated carpet of multicoloured bog mosses, cotton grass and heather that is surrounded by heath, woodland and grassland.

Main habitats: Sphagnum dominated mire and dwarf shrub heath with areas of wet woodland.

Features of interest

There are parts of the NNR that give a sense of isolation and the views from the ridges are panoramic across the Tyne Valley to the North Pennines, even on to Cross Fell and north over Housetead’s Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall and on to the Border Uplands.

The main features of the site are the mire habitats and the unique surface patterning which can be seen all year and viewed safely from the western sandstone ridges.

See the site visitor leaflet for more details.

Directions

By train

The nearest station is Bardon Mill, 2 kilometres south east of the NNR.

By bus

Hadrian’s Wall Bus AD122 – Tel 01434 322002 . Arriva 685 service operates daily along A69 between Newcastle and Carlisle. Arriva 681 and 185 bus service operates Monday to Saturday between Once Brewed to Housetead’s car park.

By car

At the east end of Bardon Mill village take the road north, under the A69 bridge, sign posted for Thorngrafton, follow this road through Thorngrafton. Once through the village follow the road for 1km and turn sharp left. After 500m there is a lane on the right with limited parking and a footpath sign that leads through a gate onto the NNR.

By bike

The National Cycle Network Route 72 runs along the Stanegate, a public road forming the northern boundary.

Contact

For more information about the reserve telephone 01833 622374.

Newham Bog

Main habitats: peatland

This National Nature Reserve is currently closed to the public. This will be because:

  • the site is unsafe
  • our tenure of the land does not allow public access
  • the site is so fragile that any form of access would damage the wildlife interest

Contact

For more information contact Natural England Enquiries, tel. 0300 060 3900 or email enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk

Whitelee Moor

Whitelee Moor has an active blanket bog, mires, flushes and heather heaths.

Main habitat: peatland

Management: Whitelee Moor is owned and managed by the Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Further information about the NNR, its wildlife and how to visit can be found on the Whitelee Moor page of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust website.

Contact

Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Email: mail@northwt.org.uk
Telephone: 0191 2846884