© Duncan Hutt
The wet floodplain pasture of the River Wansbeck makes up the majority of this reserve. This marshland habitat is unusual in Northumberland, and in late summer is white with meadowsweet. Earlier in the year, yellow flag, ragged robin and marsh marigold are prominent. Otter have been seen on the river and water shrew and freshwater crayfish are present along this stretch of the Wansbeck. The reserve also contains dry grassy banks, woodland and hazel coppice.
The site lies on the upper reaches of the river Wansbeck near Kirkwelpington. The Wansbeck flows in an easterly direction cutting a series of meanders through the alluvium of the flat valley bottom. The river is constrained by steeply sloping valley sides which face north and south. These are largely covered by a mixture of commercial conifers and deciduous plantations with a smaller area of old broad-leaved woodland and open grassland. The flood meadow has a rich and diverse flora which includes meadowsweet, water avens, greater bird's-foot trefoil, water forget-me-not, common figwort, marsh ragwort and common spotted orchid. Otters and native crayfish can be found on the reserve. The grassland is a good place to see butterflies in the late summer, including small tortoiseshell, ringlet and meadow brown. Banded demoiselled damselflies have been seen on the river. Birds noted include woodcock, dipper and goosander.