Photo from , photo by Kerry Milligan
Dubbs Moss was purchased by Cumbria Wildlife Trust in 1972
Dubbs Moss is a naturally damp hollow surrounded by farmland. A peat layer beneath the central area suggests that the basin once had a small tarn, which over the past 10,000 years, has become infilled with plant matter. The western part of the nature reserve is covered by relatively recent birch woodland. There is an area of damp fen grassland and a higher area of dry herb-rich grassland with hawthorn scrub. This diversity of habitats gives rise to a rich species mix.
Varied habitats on the reserve ensures that there is a succession of plant species throughout the spring and summer. In spring the herb-rich grassland is covered with cowslip and early purple orchid which give way to commmontwayblade, betony and knapweed later in the year.If you search hard you might find the uncommon adder's tongue fern in the grassland. In the wetter fenland area you can find yellow flag iris, ragged robin, angelica and devil's-bit scabious. The shade cast by the trees, in the woodland area combined with the wet ground, give ideal conditions for mosses and ferns to flourish. Male fern, hard fern and narrow buckler fern and a variety of mosses thrive here.
On the wing
Many common species of tit can be seen in the woods and the rarer willow tit also breeds here. In spring its a great place to hear different warblers including whitethroat, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow, garden, grasshopper and sedge which return each year from Africa to breed. In winter, flocks of fieldfares and redwings feed on the hawthorn berries.
On sunny days in summer ringlet and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies are abundant on the wet grassland and you can find orange tips, peacock and even dark green fritillary butterflies. Various damselflies and dragonflies species are commonly seen including common blue and large red damselfiles and southern and common hawkers.
For more information please visit the Cumbria Wildlife Trust website here www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk