Observing the birds in Hodbarrow nature reserve, Millom, Cumbria

Hodbarrow Nature Reserve Information:

  • Address: Mainsgate Rd, Millom LA18 4JY;
  • Website;
  • Free car park situated at the end of Mainsgate Road; 
  • 5 km circular walk around the lagoon, lighthouse half way;
  • Pushchair friendly;
  • Dog friendly (on lead near birds nests).

Veuillez faire défiler vers le bas pour la version française.

Old mining chimney

Three weeks ago, we decided to go for small road trip to the South of the Lake District. We had in mind to drive along the A595 to Kendal. However, on our way there we missed the junction to go towards Broughton-in-furness and went straight towards Millom. So instead of turning back we decided to continue towards Millom and see what Millom had to offer. It is by driving through Millom that we saw a road sign indicating the nature reserve of Hodbarrow. As we are curious we decided to follow that sign.

Once at the car park, we saw that this nature reserve had a nice circular walk passing between the lagoon and the Duddon Estuary with a lighthouse half way. We also realised that it was a bird nature reserve by the noise coming from the multiple birds nesting in the lagoon. So after putting our boots we went to explore that reserve.

Birds in the lagoon

The nature reserve was purchased by the RSPB in 1986 and is located on a previous iron ore mine. The past mining activity is still visible with the presence of the ruins of the old chimneys. A seawall built in 1905 by the company John Aird & Co. protects the lagoon from the sea. The nature reserve is mainly home of little tern, great crested grebe, red-breasted merganser, sandwich tern and sedge warbler birds but we also saw some cormorants sun bathing. Unfortunately my camera was not good enough to capture all those birds.

There is as well a beautiful lighthouse by the Duddon Estuary shore. On the way back we passed by the Wyldcrest Port Haverigg Caravan Park that contains a water ski park.

Duddon Estuary

The circular path is very easy to follow. It is pushchair friendly and dogs are allowed. Dogs have to be on lead when close to the nesting area. It is a lovely place and we were so happy that our little detour brought us to that place.

After that walk, we decided to drive to Ulverston. After a lunch at Gilliam’s vegetarian tea room we went explore Ulverston before driving back home.

Have you been to Hodbarrow Nature Reserve? Do you know any good ones in the North of England?

Il y a trois semaines, nous avions envie de faire un road trip dans le sud du Lake District. Nous avions en tête de suivre la départementale A595 jusqu’à Kendal. Cependant, une fois en route nous avons loupé l’intersection allant vers Broughton-in-furness et avons continué tout droit en direction de Millom. Vu que nous n’avions jamais été à Millom nous décidâmes au lieu de rebrousser chemin d’aller voir ce que Millom avait à offrir. C’est en conduisant à travers Millom que nous vîmes les panneaux pour la réserve naturelle d’Hodbarrow.

Une fois arrivée sur le parking, nous vîmes qu’il était possible de faire une randonnée circulaire entre le lagon et l’estuaire de Duddon. Il y a également un phare au milieu de la randonnée. Nous avons aussi vite réalisé à cause du bruit qui venait du lagon que c’était une réserve où les oiseaux venaient se reproduire. Donc après avoir mis nos chaussures de randonnées, nous partîmes explorer cet endroit.

Sea wall

Cette réserve naturelle a été acheté en 1986 par la RSPB et est située sur une ancienne mine extraction de minerai de fer. L’ancienne activité minière est encore visible avec la présence des vielles cheminées. La digue qui protège la réserve de la mer a été construite en 1905 par l’entreprise John Aird & Co. La réserve contient diverses oiseaux comme le Sterne arctique, Grèbe, Harle et Phragmite des joncs. Nous avons même vu quelques Cormorans prenant le soleil. Malheureusement mon appareil photo n’est pas assez bon pour prendre les oiseaux de loin.

Le phare en bordure de l’estuaire Duddon est joli et il y a un abri pour observer les oiseaux. Sur le chemin du retour nous sommes passés par le Wyldcrest Port Haverigg Caravan Park qui contient un parc aquatique.


Le sentier circulaire est facile à suivre, il est accessible pour les poussettes et les chiens. Par contre les chiens devront être en laisse dans les zones de reproduction des oiseaux. C’est un très bel endroit et en fin de compte nous avons été content d’avoir fait ce détour.

Après cette randonnée, nous partîmes en direction d’Ulverston. Après un délicieux déjeuné à Gilliam’s vegetarian tea room nous sommes allés exploré Ulverston avant de rentrer à la maison.

Connaissez vous la réserve naturelle d’Hodbarrow? Connaissez vous d’autres réserves naturelles dans le Nord de l’Angleterre?

11 thoughts on “Observing the birds in Hodbarrow nature reserve, Millom, Cumbria

  1. Ahh what a fortunate detour.
    I have been to Hodbarrow though it was in the Winter. I remember seeing a Grebe catch a large 🐟 fish.
    Not long ago went for a walk round Dubwath Silver Meadows near Bassenthwaite. It’s just across from the old railway station with the replica steam train that featured in the recentish Murder on the Orient Express film. Anyway it’s only a small reserve with a nice walk round and some interesting examples of eco friendly naturally made huts. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes sometimes it is nice to not follow the original plan 🙂.

      I was supposed to go to Dubwath with a friend a couple of months ago but the weather was terrible so we cancelled and I forgot about that nature reserve.
      I also need to try the train. A lot of my friends went but we still have not managed to go.


  2. It’s a long time since I’ve been to either Hodbarrow or Milnthorpe. I believe that there are some good spots for butterflies around there too, so I’m probably due to go back. Nature Reserves – well Foulshaw Moss springs immediately to mind. And the others in the same vicinity: Meathop Moss, Latterbarrow, Hay Bridge. The Hervery Memorial Reserve on Whitbarrow. Lots near home: Leighton Moss, Warton Crag, Holme Fell, Arnside Knott, Eaves Wood. Also Smardale up towards Kirkby Stephen is one I would really like to go back to.

    Liked by 1 person

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