Know before you go
Mixed terrain with pathways and boardwalks to barn and an information panel. Not suitable for mobility scooters but raised walkways can accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Access and Parking
From Barnard Castle follow the B6277 to Romaldkirk and then follow the Balderhead road via Hunderthwaite. There is limited parking on the roadside at the entrance to the reserve 250m east of entrance to Balderhead reservoir. The Pennine Way footpath runs through the reserve. Follow the footpath south from the roadside entrance.
Not readily accessible by public transport. Private transport is recommended.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitJune to July
About the reserve
This upland hay meadow and a grazing pasture are set within the traditional farming landscape of Teesdale, part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The site has evolved as a result of farming practices over several centuries. Once owned and farmed by Hannah Hauxwell, who lived alone at Low Birk Hat Farm without the luxury of electricity and running water, the land was managed for hay and pasture and maintains the rich variety of wildlife that has been lost from many other Teesdale meadows. On her retirement in 1988, DWT continued the traditional management and created the reserve as it is today.
Now a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the meadows are considered to be some of the least improved and most species rich in upland Durham. Visit in June and early July (Note – meadow is cut in mid July) to see traditional hay meadow flowers, such as ragged robin, wood crane’s-bill, marsh-marigold, yellow-rattle, adders-tongue fern and globe-flower plus rare species such as frog orchid and moonwort.
Enjoy the sounds of lapwing, skylark, redshank, curlew and meadow pipit, making their home in the rushes and sedges of the pasture.