This extraordinary place is famous for its amazing wildlife, stunning scenery, and superb walks. From the simple beauty of the Lady's-slipper Orchid to the shining sands of Morecambe Bay, the area is simply awe-inspiring - full of natural spectacles and a surprise around every corner.
Trees make a highly significant contribution to the landscape, with woodland covering a third of the AONB.
Large wooded areas have developed over both the limestone hills and the more neutral and acidic soils of the valleys in between, while numerous field trees and small copses add height to the landscape of the open grasslands and pastures. While a considerable range of different tree and shrub species can be found in the AONB’s woods, by far the most ubiquitous is the Ash tree. With its open pinnate leaves, typically amongst the later species to unfurl, Ash allows plenty of light through its canopy to enable often spectacular displays of woodland herbs in the spring. Also of note are the many evergreen Yew trees, often forming large stands with dark, dense canopies over moss-covered limestone pavement.
The woodlands are predominated by Ash, but it is the Yew and coppiced Hazel that makes the woodlands locally special and important. Many such woodlands grow on top of extensive limestone pavements and these woodlands have developed a unique and almost mystical character.
Look out for
- different stages in the coppice re-growth and see how the character of the woodland and its ground flora changes under this traditional management regime
- stunted ‘bonsai’ trees on the limestone pavement where water drains so efficiently that drought conditions are created, leaving nutrients in short supply. As a consequence, some trees here only grow a few millimetres a year