CC 213 Cotton Grass
Cotton grass is flowering in mid-summer and it can be seen in abundance at the Burns Beck Moss nature reserve, which is open to the public and forms part of this all-weather walk.
From M6, junction 37, follow Sedbergh (A684) for approximately 1 mile. Turn right (signed Old Hutton/New Hutton) and follow the road down past the Killington Reservoir on the right. Early morning or evening can give sightings of Red or Roe deer. Resist the temptation to deviate at any of the right turns and continue on this roller-coaster road for approximately 3 miles until you see a worked out quarry on the left. Park here.
1. From the quarry, cross the road and look for the gate into Burns Beck Nature Reserve. Depending on the season you can see frogs, toads, newts, lizards and dragon flies in the pools and ditches. As you walk along the paths you will see and hear willow warblers, linnet, curlew and many other species of birds. After 150 yards you will reach the stream that gives the reserve its' name, Burns Beck. A bridge crosses the beck on the right. Continue over sections of boardwalk. To the left are areas of swamp and a line of willows. Here, cotton grass and sedges abound.
2. The path soon leads to a second bridge, just after an area of reed grass and water mint. You will find purple moor grass and heather. The banks are home to field voles and shrews, which attract birds of prey - buzzards and kestrels - that can often be seen here. The path eventually runs alongside the lane and returns to the gate.
3. Back on the road turn left and walk back along the road in the direction from which you drove. After 300 yards turn left up the lane, walking between hedges. Continue for approximately 1/4 of a mile to a road junction. Turn left.
4. Walk along the road with a fringe of conifer plantation on the left until you come to another junction after approximately another 1/4 of a mile. Turn left.
5. Continue along this lane which will bring you back to the quarry.
Map: Pathfinder 627
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 1 hour
Terrain: Easy, tarmac roads and reserve pathways.