Watchtree Nature Reserve – June 2024

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Watchtree Nature Reserve is a 205 acre haven for wildlife and people.  Featuring flower rich meadows, old and new woodland, miles of hedgerow and wetland habitats this a place for everyone.  Wildlife is perfectly at home here and we have abundant Brown Hares, the European protected Great crested Newt, numerous breeding birds, interesting moths, stunning butterflies, secretive bats and incredible dragonflies.  The nature reserve is situated within much of the former RAF Great Orton airfield (1942-53) and you can still spot airfield construction dates etched into the concrete by servicemen as you explore.  The Nature reserve is easily identifiable from miles away by the wind turbines located here.  More recently, this place was used during the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 – and even today much of the  site underground is a complex network of drains, pumps and  containment walls.  So, if you thought this was any ordinary nature reserve you could be forgiven.


A group of 17 members from Headway North Cumbria visited Watchtree Nature Reserve on Monday 10 June 2024.  Members had the opportunity to cycle around the nature reserve on a selection of paths running through beautiful scenery with spectacular views over the Northern Fells.  The more energetic did multiple tours of the circuit whilst others opted to try out a number of different cycles to see which worked best for them.  A good time was had by all.

Attendees also had the opportunity enjoy a picnic before, during or after a cycle ride or buy refreshments at the on-site Café.

The cycling Gods were clearly with us since it was warm and sunny whilst we were out on the cycle paths, but the heavens opened as we packed up and drove away after our afternoon exertions.

We would like to thank the staff at the Watchtree Nature Reserve for hosting us so well and Cumbria Community Transport who kindly provided a minibus for our use.

A selection of photographs of this event can be found in the gallery in the Photo Album called Watchtree Nature Reserve – June 2024 and can also be viewed in the slideshow below.