Nature and Wildlife

Weardale is within the North Pennines National Landscape and is one of England`s most special places – a peaceful, unspoilt landscape with a rich history and vibrant natural beauty. It has a distinctive landscape of high moorland with dramatic views, snaking stone walls, stone built villages, and an extensive imprint of a past industrial mineral mining age. Peace, tranquillity and fabulous night skies ensure its recognition by CPRE as one of England`s most tranquil places.

The moorlands and peatscapes are home to some of our rarest wildlife and have a sense of naturalness and remoteness found in few other places in the country. Weardale is home to some of the finest upland hay meadows in the UK with the very best meadows containing over 30 species of flowering plants and grasses, with up to 120 species per field.

North Pennines National Landscape

Weardale sits firmly in the North Pennines National Landscape and UNESCO Global Geopark with moorlands, rivers, waterfalls, hay meadows and a landscape rich in history.

The North Pennines is home to 80% of England’s black grouse and visitors can also see regular visitors like the curlew, lapwing, ring ouzel and short eared owl. If you are lucky, you may also spot a red squirrel or kingfisher. Our dark skies are exceptional, offering clear views of the stars and occasionally aurora borealis can be seen.

Low Barns Nature Reserve

Low Barns Nature Reserve is one of the county’s most important wildlife sites this 50 hectare wetland site located adjacent to the River Wear also contains mixed woodlands and species rich grasslands with a Visitor Centre and coffee shop.