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Conserving Heritage Sites on Birkrigg Common
Birkrigg Common is a jewel in the Furness landscape. It is renowned for its stunning setting, providing panoramic views across Morecambe Bay, the Lake District Fells, the Pennines and beyond. Walkers, cyclists and tourists alike use and appreciate this fabulous resource. The work of our volunteers is helping protect and preserve this unique landscape for future generations to enjoy.
The common's limestone pavement and acid grassland is the perfect home for ground nesting birds and skylarks can often be heard singing overhead.
Humans have also been visiting the common for thousands of years. Many archaeological sites here date to the Bronze Age (around 4000 years old) and are protected by Historic England as Scheduled Monuments. This includes Birkrigg Stone Circle a rare example of a double (or concentric) ring of standing stones, burial mounds and settlement sites.
Nineteenth-century lime kilns and quarries bear testament to past agricultural/industrial activity and the Common was even used in the 20th century by the military to undertake target practice.
Since 2015 our volunteers have been carefully clearing vegetation, primarily bracken, away from the immediate area of three of these monuments. Each year less bracken has grown back improving the visibility of the features.
Thanks to their hard work, the banks of the settlement enclosures and the outer ring of the stone circle, which were previously hidden beneath a dense canopy of vegetation during the summer months, are now visible all year round. Grassland flower species are now establishing themselves in the open areas increasing the biodiversity of the common.
The reduction in bracken growth has allowed Historic England to remove the sites from their Heritage at Risk register as fewer rhizomes are spreading underground so there will be less damage to any buried archaeological features.
Join our bracken bashing team
Our volunteers spend three days each summer removing bracken from the common. If you would like to help us look after Birkrigg, come along to one of our bracken bashing sessions.
The 2023 sessions will be held on the 19th June, 13th July, and 22nd August. Equipment is limited so please get in touch using the link below if you would like to join us.Contact us for more details
Can you support our volunteers?
Our brilliant volunteers give their time for free but there are other hidden costs to helping Birkrigg look its best.
Each year we must service the strimmers to keep our volunteers safe and replace the blades and fuel we have used. We also need an ecologist to check the sites for nesting birds before we start and our archaeologist attends sessions to support and advise the volunteers. Our charity must find the money to support these costs each year.
We need your help to make sure our volunteers are properly supported to look after these special places around the Bay. Any gift you can offer will be helping to continue this important work into the future - protecting the heritage and nature of the Bay for all to enjoy.Donate today to keep Birkrigg beautiful