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CHANNELSIDE SLAG BANKS RESERVE
BARROW-IN-FURNESS

Until 1850 Barrow was a sleepy little fishing village with about fifty fishermen. Then the world's largest deposit of iron ore (at that time) was discovered at Park, a few miles to the north. By 1859 there was the largest iron and steel works in the world, ship-building began and a huge town developed. For the next 104 years iron and steel manufacture created two huge slag banks, which eventually became a derelict eyesore.

Around 1990 the southern slag bank was reclaimed using European monies, seeded with grass and wildflowers and paths and seats laid out to create a pleasant place to walk or rest, taking in the splendid views. Parking was conveniently provided alongside the A590, with access to the slag banks underneath the Cocken railway tunnel.

In 2008 the second (northern) slag bank was reclaimed - the iron that was still left in the slag being extracted to pay for it. Technically, there is no right of way on this part of the slag banks, as Cumbria County Council are concerned about liability for injury. The images below show the work in progress in 2008 and the recovered site in 2015:

Although not the original intention, the whole site has developed into a splendid nature reserve, as wildlife saw the opportunity and moved in. It has become a superb butterfly site, holding several species of butterfly that are considered to be vulnerable or threatened. There is also a large number of unusual and scarce plants that can survive in the thin and harsh alkaline soil and big displays of Common Bird's-foot-trefoil, Kidney Vetch, Ox-eye Daisy and orchids.

Butterflies found on the site that are of conservation importance are the Garyling, Dingy Skipper, Small Blue and Wall:-

Others likely to be seen, some in large numbers, are the Common Blue, Dark-green Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Large Skipper and Small Heath:-

Day-flying moths include the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moth, the Six-spot Burnet moth and the Burnet Companion:-

Some of the more unusual flowers found and photographed on the slag bank are:-

Yellow-wort............... Bee Orchid..........Wild Mignonette...........Tansy...........Viper's Bugloss
Wild Parsnip.......Blue Fleabane.......Ploughman's Spikenard... Northern Marsh Orchid...Yellow Horned Poppy