Geltsdale Nature Reserve

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Image Source: Vivienne Crow

At the far northern end of the Pennine chain, where the hills are at their wildest and loneliest, you’ll find the RSPB’s enormous Geltsdale reserve. From Tindale Tarn to the windswept top of Cold Fell (2037ft/621m), it contains a rich mosaic of habitats including the tarn, woodland, meadows, wetland, heath and blanket bog. These in turn support an array of wildlife, including many endangered species. Barn owls, ring ouzels, golden plovers, curlews, black grouse, lapwing and short-eared owls are among the avian stars. The reserve is also one of the few places in England where hen harriers still nest.

Geltsdale can be accessed from many points but the main car park (with room for about eight cars) is at Clesketts, about a mile southeast of Hallbankgate. An easy-going, mile-long track leads from Clesketts to Stagsyke Cottages where visitor facilities include toilets, simple refreshments and a small garden with picnic tables.

There are several waymarked trails on the reserve and hill-walkers have almost unrestricted access to the high ground.