Situated on the lower eastern region on the Solway Plain, about 15Km to the West of Carlisle is the nature reserve known as Finglandrigg Wood,
The woodland habitat is managed by English Nature as a National Nature Reserve, primarily to provide a habitat for the indigenous Red Squirrel but many other species can be found here such as Linnet, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.
In the rushy areas, the high water tables are maintained for reed bunting, sedge warbler and grasshopper warbler.
Hebridean sheep along with Exmoor ponies and cattle, graze areas of rough grassland and scrub.
A peat bog occupies the lowest areas below the arable land. Once drained and cut for peat, the bog still has a 2m deposit.
During the ‘Enclosure Acts’ of the late 1700s and early 1800s, much of the common land at Finglandrigg was placed into private ownership, and by the mid 1800s the site was a mixture of small ﬁelds, Scots pine plantations and peat bog, with the heath the only remaining common grazing.
Immediately following Enclosure, the site was used for agriculture, but the ﬁelds were gradually abandoned during the depression that swept the farming communities in the late 1800s.
[amazon-product align=”left”]B000EXZL4I[/amazon-product]Birch and rowan trees were the ﬁrst to occupy this unused open ground.
There are two waymarked walks that take you around the reserve and include the main features of interest.
Chalybeate Well Trail
Discover the many aspects of the woodland and rough pasture, as well as the Chalybeate Well, a stone structure marking the presence of a sulphate rich spring.
This 2km walk will take you around 45 minutes to one hour, with easy to soft going on a gravel and bark chipped surface for all but the ﬁnal 70m.
Little Bampton Common Trail
A woodland walk that also includes open rough pasture and heathland as well as Scots pine plantations.This 3km round trip takes about one- and-a-half to two hours.
The going is relatively easy as the ﬁrst 0·8km is on ﬁrm bark chip and some areas have had special walkways installed over the boggy regions but the remainder continues on mown grass which can be wet and muddy after rain.
Along your walks, look out for a couple of wonderful sculptures in the woodland (Searches so far have not been able to shed light on the sculptor).
Carved into the trunk of old trees are insects which inhabit the woodland. Open a secret door to reveal carved larvae and resting bugs.
A memorial to Derek Almey Ratcliffe, A renowned conservationist and author, stands towards the end of the walk. He loved wild places and the creatures and plants that inhabited them.
He is perhaps most famous for his research which saved the Peregrine Falcon from the grasp of the pesticide, DDT.
It is noted that one of his favourite places was Fingland Wood.
Near the memorial, a stunning bench seat featuring the Peregrine Falcon is carved from a single tree trunk.
Both the bench and the mini beasts sculpture were designed and made by Robert Coia.