One of the great things about the Lake District is
that you don't have to go far to escape the crowds. Even in summer a gentle walk
will take you to places where you can have a whole hillside almost to yourself.
Whitbarrow is just one of them...
- a landscape pavement rich in plant life|
is one of the best limestone habitats in Europe, and boasts a perfect example
of a limestone pavement.
The name Whitbarrow means "white hill",
named after the limestone which gives its slopes and rocks their colour.
limestone was laid down during the Carboniferous period about 350 million yeas
Limestone is very susceptible to weathering and this erosion has resulted
in the limestone pavement.
The limestone pavement is characterised by limestone
blocks called clints and fissures called grikes.
This hill provides a variety of habitats with its
lower slopes being predominantly covered in woods whilst the top is made up of
layers of limestone.
As visitors follow the path up beyond the trees, the
hill becomes a kaleidoscope of colour.
The limestone provides an attractive
habitat for some really specialist plants and butterflies.
At the top
of the limestone also look out for the delicate, yellow Rock Rose, and the herbaceous
These plants love dry, stony conditions, little soil and limestone.
berries and birds
high summer is the time to come to Whitbarrow when the butterflies are at their
peak in July and August.
It's also the best season for many plants and flowers
including berried bushes like strawberries and juniper.
reflects the sun, helping to ripen tiny wild strawberries.
also thrives - its aromatic berries take two to three years to ripen.
of the wild flowers are scented to attract insects such as bees, moths and butterflies
to pollinate them.
Whitbarrow is so good for Fritillaries because of the
Keep your eyes open...
area is a stronghold for Dark Green Fritillaries and the rarer High Brown Fritillary
The best time to see the butterflies is early morning or late
afternoon on sunny days when they are more likely to be perching or feeding.
Dark Green butterfly gets its name from the green patch under the wing from which
it is easily recognised.
Other butterflies to look out for include the
Pearl Bordered Fritillary, the Common Blue and the Grayling.
and you'll also see a variety of birds including Skylarks, Wheatears, Meadow Pipits
and Chiff Chaffs.
images copyright and courtesy of Paul Glendell and Natural England.
Fritillary courtesy of Martin Hammett and Natural England.