Geltsdale RSPB Nature Reserve

© Copyright David Hambidge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Name: Geltsdale RSPB Nature Reserve
Nearest town:
County: Cumbria
Grid reference: NY588584
Latitude/Longitude: 54.919041,-2.643508
Telephone: 01697 746717

Center map

There has been an RSPB nature reserve at Geltsdale since 1975 which covers some 12,355 acres of largely heather moorland with wooded valleys and tumbling streams. It is set in the beautiful north Pennines and it is an excellent site for walkers taking in the landscape and the upland species at the reserve.

There are four marked trails from the car park at Howgill. The Stagsike Trail covers 2.8 miles, the Bruthwaite trail is 1.8 miles, and the slightly longer Moorland Trials are 2.5 miles and 5 miles respectively. It is recommended that boots are worn on the trails and due to the distance it is advisable to have waterproofs to hand.

The moorland and bog areas have been extensively restored by the RSPB by a range of method such as reduced heather burning, sheep grazing and the blocking of manmade moorland drainage systems. In addition there is a program of tree planting of native species that is culminating in the regeneration of woodland in the area.

Interesting birds that you may see at the Geltsdale reserve

You may see some or all of the following different types of birds during your visit to the Geltsdale RSPB nature reserve.

All year: Black Grouse, Buzzard, Dipper, Merlin, Peregrine, Raven, Red Grouse, Short Eared Owl, Sparrowhawk, Tufted Duck.

Spring: Curlew, Lapwing, Pied Ouzel, Redshank, Redstart, Whinchat, Wood Warbler.

Summer: Barn Owl, Meadow Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Stonechat, Swallow.

Autumn: Black Grouse, Fieldfare, Goldeneye, Redwing, Teal, Wigeon.

Winter: Buzzard, Golden Plover, Hen Harrier, Smew.


  • Information centre.
  • Live camera on site.
  • Guided walks available.
  • Car park (with cycle racks).
  • Toilets (and disabled toilets).
  • Picnic area.
  • Remote location that is ideal for walking.

Opening times

The reserve at Geltsdale is open all year round whilst the Information Point on site is open from 9am to 5pm.


There is free entry to the reserve at Geltsdale, but the RSPB welcome donations wherever possible in order to help them to continue their excellent conservation and restoration work.

RSPB membership is excellent value with a range of great benefits including free entry to a huge number of nature reserves. Have a look at the various RSPB membership options on offer.