Hay Bridge

We are now accepting new applications to join the Friends of Hay Bridge Nature Reserve.  There are two categories of membership; Single and Family (2 adults plus any children of the family up to the age of 16).  CLICK HERE to access the form where you can select your category, complete a Direct Debit Mandate and submit your application. If you have any queries, please email friends@jscf.org.uk

In 1997, the Foundation purchased the Hay Bridge Nature Reserve near Bouth in the southern Lake District.  In 2010, the reserve was extended by the purchase of a further 30 hectares of adjacent woodland and meadow, and again in 2016 by the purchase of Hulleter Moss, taking the total holding to 94.12 hectares.

The land lies in the Rusland Valley and includes both Hulleter and Hay Bridge Mosses, part of the Rusland Valley Mosses, an active lowland raised peat bog of national significance, flanked by damp woodland and fen and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Other habitats rich in wildlife include semi-natural ancient woodlands; part managed as coppice with standards and part as high forest; wood pasture, meadow and pastures rich in wildflowers, and two small tarns.  The Rusland Valley herd of red deer ranges across the reserve, and roe deer and otter occur.  So, too, do all the four reptiles native to Cumbria – adder, grass snake, slow worm and common lizard.  Among the birds, specialities include redstart, pied flycatcher, siskin and osprey.  There is a rich insect fauna, among which the waved carpet moth, dark green and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies and the beautiful demoiselle damselfly are notable.


The road to the reserve is a no-through road, but nevertheless a by-way open to all traffic, however, there is no public parking on the Reserve.  A public footpath continues across the Rusland Valley Mosses to Rusland and a bridleway to Hulleter Farm.  Members  enjoy wider access via a network of private footpaths and hides, and have the benefit of the use of a small private car parking area.

Non-members and groups wishing to visit the reserve are asked to make prior contact with the Warden to make suitable arrangements.

All visitors are asked to walk quietly, respect the wildlife for which the reserve is managed, and whereas well-behaved dogs are allowed, they must be kept on a short lead at all times.

The resident warden at Hay Bridge is employed by the Foundation to implement land management, and he is always happy to talk about the wildlife and management.


  1. Keep to the footpaths.
  2. Park vehicles only at the private car park and not in the various passing places along the access road; these are passing places only. NEVER drive off-road.
  3. Keep dogs on a lead at all times and if with a dog, do not walk near cattle. Cows with calves should especially be avoided.
  4. Clean up after your dog and take waste to a bin, or take it home.
  5. Do not allow dogs to swim in the tarns or the river
  6. If taking photographs, please keep a respectful distance from birds and mammals. Nest boxes should not be approached closer than 10 metres, otherwise there is a risk that the birds will desert eggs or young.
  7. If picnicking, take all your litter home and NEVER light fires.
  8. Do not climb over stone walls or fences, other than at designated stiles.
  9. Do not climb on log piles.