What was once an iron mine is now a tranquil stretch of coastal lagoon and grassland overlooking the Duddon estuary. Hodbarrow’s wetlands are home to breeding terns, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and Oystercatchers. You'll also find Great Crested Grebes nesting on the island here. This magnificent bird was almost hunted to extinction in the UK and is now a protected species.

Rich communities of insects and flowers thrive on the limestone leftover from the site’s mining days, while inland patches of scrub are a haven for breeding songbirds. Walk the seawall and visit the hide from May to July to see the tern colony in full swing, with birds commuting to and from the estuary at close range.

We manage the reserve to create the ideal conditions for the wildlife that lives here. Out on the lagoon island, we’re working to give breeding Little Terns, Common Terns and Sandwich Terns the best chance. This involves limiting plant growth and controlling the numbers of large gulls. We also protect the area during breeding season from both boats and visitors.

We maintain standing water levels across the reserve, protecting wintering waders and wildfowl from disturbance and pollution. Out on the grassland, we cut back the scrub and mow to maintain different grass heights, while also leaving patches of bare ground. In our shallow pools, we carefully balance the water levels and create open feeding areas for Natterjack Toads. We also cut back aquatic plants, while maintaining threatened Pillwort, the UK's only aquatic fern.

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