Know before you go
Parking informationThere is a small permissive car park at Gibbs Hill (NY748692) that gives access to the reserve across rough pasture. Parking is also available in the National Park car park at Steel Rigg (NY752676) and it is possible to walk to Gibbs Hill from here.
See the Northumberland National Park website for details of local walks. There are permissive paths leading to the reserve. From the west (Gibbs Hill), the path follows a long boardwalk which can be slippery and partly obscured by vegetation. From the north, a path crosses very rough terrain to enter the reserve via a long boardwalk and from the east a public footpath across grassland leads to the edge of the reserve, where it becomes narrow and can be very wet.
Three entrances to the site exist, although all are fairly difficult to access. The first is via a permissive path which leads from Gibbs Hill to the southwestern corner of the reserve (NY749668), where a boardwalk leads across the western site of the reserve. The second is via a permissive path leading south from the public footpath (along a farm track) between Gibbs Hill and Greenlee Farm (NY759699) – the reserve is entered through a single latch gate. The third is via a public footpath from the east leaving the Pennine Way (NY780705) and entering the reserve through a 5-bar gate. The terrain is generally level within the reserve, but very tussocky grass and marshy ground.
When to visit
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
This is one of the Roman Wall Loughs and is managed jointly between Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Northumberland National Park Authority. This National Nature Reserve has a bird hide and boardwalk through the reed beds.
The site contains a mix of habitats beyond the open water of the Lough including carr woodland, bog and grassland. There is a good variety of water plants including 11 species of pondweed and stonewort. Around the margins are areas of reed bed with other plants including bog bean and marsh cinquefoil. The Lough is used extensively by wildfowl and waders, that feed in the shallow waters and wetlands.