The Oldside area of Workington can be found north of the Port of Workington, dominated by the Robin Rigg windfarm.
The northern most end of the site formerly housed the St Helen’s colliery, Siddick, (Pit no.3), but today, you will find the legacy patchwork of heath, scrub and wildflowers providing a natural triangulation of wildlife between Derwent Howe slagbanks, Siddick Ponds nature reserve, and Maryport Coastal Park.
Funding from the Get Cumbria Buzzing project and Rees Jeffreys Road Fund has allowed for tens of kilograms of wildflower seed to be scattered onto large areas of scraped back substrate, with vegetation being banked into bunds. With minimal human intervention, the plants self- seed year on year to create a carpet of diverse, colourful flowers.
The scrapes and established wildflower areas are cared for and maintained by the Workington Nature Partnership and Butterfly Conservation staff and volunteers.
Seasonal tasks include strimming and clearing important roosting/ sheltering ditches, as well as cutting back invasive sea buckthorn.
Whilst this location may not appear as scenic as others in the bee-line network, it is recognised as a rare habitat across northwest Cumbria. This in turn attracts specific flora and fauna, including the Cupido minimus, the smallest butterfly in the United Kingdom.
Whilst these scrapes are ravaged by the salty sea air and westerly winds, the fragile small blue butterfly flourishes.
Thankful for the kidney vetch, suited to these poor, post-industrial top soils, the butterfly lays its eggs knowing that its caterpillars will have its favourite food to eat, when it hatches.
Look out for small blue, common blue, ringlet, gatekeeper and grayling butterflies. Bumble bees, lacewings, and grasshoppers can be found amongst birds-foot trefoil, kidney vetch, ox-eye daisy and seasonal wild flowers. Bee orchids, northern marsh and pyramidal orchids too, should also be visible from May onwards!
Take time to visit the foreshore.
Here you will find sea cabbage growing amongst the pebbles, and if it’s a clear day, the views you can see in the distance, stretch across the Solway to Dumfries and Galloway.
Whilst the foreshore area is owned by the Lord of the Manor of Seaton, the Workington Nature Partnership have adopted this section of beach, under the Marine Conservation Society’s, beach watch scheme.
The beach is surveyed for marine litter 4 times a year, and a flagship beach clean event takes place annually in September.
Access is free all year round.
*Access to the site in autumn 2020 is being reviewed, due to structural engineering works on the railway bridge, but the area can be accessed on foot, from the National Coastal path and cycle way.
Parking is free (when access to vehicles is available).