Our Environment - animals, plants, landscape

Animals

Sheep are everywhere, most are black faced, Swaledale, Rough Fell or Dalesbred. Lambing takes place in late spring. Some cattle are bred here too.
buttonMore about hill sheep farming.
swaledale sheep and lambs red squirrels at Sadgill red deer on Sleddale Fell
There is plenty of wildlife in the valley. You might see roe deer, red deer, badgers, rabbits, hares or red squirrels. Ravens nest on the crags, wrens in the stone walls, woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, tits and finches in the woods. Buzzards, kestrels and owls hunt here and herons fish the river where kingfishers, dippers, wagtails or goosanders might also be seen. Several miles of the River Sprint is designated SSSI and contains white-clawed crayfish.

Plants

hedgerows in spring
hedgerows in spring
cranesbill and cowparsley
cranesbill and cowparsley
melancholy thistle
melancholy thistle
The hedgerows are lovely in spring. Verges are rich with species, at least 136 wildflowers, grasses and ferns have been identified. Some less common plants such as Great Burnett, Sweet Cicely, Melancholy Thistle and Great Bellflower flourish here, and verge cutting has to take this into account. Hedges are maintained by the farmers. As you go up the valley, hedges are replaced by dry stone walls.

hedge laying in winter
hedge laying in winter
bog asphodel
bog asphodel
sundew
sundew
This is a man-made landscape, the vegetation of fields and fells reflecting the presence of sheep. Many fields have special environmental status with conditions for their maintenance. Bog plants flourish in the wet fields towards the head of the valley. Bluebells can be seen in the woods.

Much of the steep valley sides in the lower valley is wooded. The trees are mostly deciduous, supporting a rich flora including rare mosses and liverworts, and some areas are of national importance.

Landscape

Buckbarrow Crag above track and river waterfalls on River Sprint the Sprint in the valley bottom
The valley is narrow and surrounded by high hills. From Harter Fell, Wren Gill flows down into the Sprint near Wrengill Quarry. The river then rushes down a series of waterfalls through Borrowdale Volcanic Group scenery, bare and rocky, to the flat valley bottom. Below Sadgill, there is a dramatic change to sedimentary rocks, creating a pastoral landscape, green and wooded.
buttonSee geological map of 1871

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