Enjoying our microclimate above a valley nature reserve
It seems to be a sad fact of life in this age of increased global warming, that extremes of weather, such as the flooding seen across the UK, are going to become more frequent. You may have looked at a map of Scalesceugh Hall & Villas and noticed that we are right next to the River Petteril. Well, yes… but no. You may have been worried that the Scalesceugh site could be at risk of flooding. Thankfully, not a chance. Scalesceugh Hall & Villas sits above Wreay Woods Nature Reserve. Down in the valley next to our homes, the River Petteril has cut a deep gorge in the sandstone. It is a beautiful, wildlife-rich, ancient woodland - one of the oldest in the region. But whenever the river gets higher, it merely spills onto the carpets of flowers lying along the route. Being deep in the valley, the river levels bother nobody. Strangely enough, recent snowfall has not affected the Scalesceugh site, either. It has been picturesque to see it on the hills around us, but we appear to have something of a warmer microclimate where we are! Just look at the two photos below, the sunny one taken next to Scalesceugh, the other photo just a mile away on the same journey! Protecting the ancient woodland of our nature reserve Most of the year, of course, the weather is not extreme, and the River Petteril meanders gently through Wreay Woods. It has long been classified as a nature reserve, owned by Cumbria County Council and leased to Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Wreay Woods is rich in wildlife. It is an ideal habitat for otters, and you may also be lucky enough to spot kingfishers, dippers, blackcaps, sandpipers and long-tailed tits. The woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells, dog's mercury, wood anemone, wood sorrel, moschatel, yellow iris, marsh marigold and meadowsweet. Cumbria Wildlife Trust has been managing the woods of late to favour native species, removing sycamore and beech in favour of ash, oak and birch. Wetter areas also include alder and willow. Tree surgery carried out on some beeches has created habitats to encourage birds, bats, invertebrates and fungi. You can find out more about Wreay Woods Nature Reserve here. Meanwhile, some of our villas have tremendous views over the nature reserve. The picture below is taken standing on the path high above the river, and still looking up to one of our Wordsworth Villas. Take a closer look here.