Thacka Beck Nature Reserve

Charlotte Rowland
Thacka Back Nature Reserve

Thacka Beck Nature Reserve is within easy walking distance of Penrith town centre, offering a quick retreat for local residents. It was initially built to deal with flooding problems in the nearby area, and provide protection via a flood basin which would help raise the water table and create areas of wet grassland on either side of the re-routed beck. So far, so good, and the site now is used for both practical and leisurely purposes alike. What’s more, the once overgrown fields on site, full of nettles, thistles and grasses, are now regimented and governed by an annual hay cut, as well as regular hay cuts, weed control and limited seeding. The result has been impressive. Flocks of diverse wildlife have flooded to the habitat, increasing the number of species co-habitating in the well-kept plot.

For the latter, it’s no wonder. The wildlife here is abundant, given the rich and suitable environment, and walkers can delight in spotting the animation and life that springs up here constantly. Hay meadows, wet grassland, scrub and ponds are just some of the large features which keep the wildlife so intact and operative, bringing a plush range of activity to maturing natural havens. Other highlights to look out for, depending on the time of year you visit, include blackthorn, marsh marigolds, migrant birds, house martins and swallows and, in the autumn, redwing and goldfinch. 

As for the walking route itself, there’s a circuit around the reserve which sticks to level ground and tallies up a good half mile. Views are wide and revealing, but it’s best to keep an eye on what’s happening up close, too. Butterflies swarm, easily visible in the vast open space, while passerines, otherwise known as small perching birds, take a stance in the mature hedgerow. Dragonflies emerge seasonally, too, alongside the frogs that crawl out of their dormant damp-winter hiding spots under dry stone and walls. With so much known wildlife existing here, and adapting to the revised habitat, it’s a joy to see so many vying creatures flourishing in a reserve that, though small, offers plenty, and then some.

Near PenrithPenrithCA11 9BQ View map
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Opening Hours

  • MondayOpen 24 hours
  • TuesdayOpen 24 hours
  • WednesdayOpen 24 hours
  • ThursdayOpen 24 hours
  • FridayOpen 24 hours
  • SaturdayOpen 24 hours
  • SundayOpen 24 hours

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Thacka Beck Nature Reserve

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ExhibitionsLeeds
Colours Uncovered at Harewood House

Explore colour through an amazing range of artefacts at ‘Colours Uncovered’, a new exhibition at Harewood House, from colour theory and pigment to classical painting and contemporary textiles. from £12.00

Where to go near Thacka Beck Nature Reserve

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The Yard Kitchen

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EVAN Gallery & Studios

A gallery and studio space displaying works by local artists – including paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and textiles, as well as gift items.

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Penrith Town Centre

A blend of historic and contemporary gives Penrith its edge, ancient tradition sitting side-by-side with trendy wine bars, hipster cafes and fine dining.

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Alhambra Cinema

An independent cinema in the heart of town, the Lonsdale Alhambra is, for many locals, a treasure of Penrith.

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Grants of CastleGate

This modern bistro and bar, open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, serves up classic British pub fare reimagined to its most indulgent.

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La Casita

La Casita serves the most authentic tapas in Penrith – the only thing not-so-Spanish about La Casita is their high quality fresh Cumbrian ingredients.

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Bank House

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Penrith Castle

Ruins of a 14th century castle, former home of Richard III. Situated in Penrith’s Castle Park, and managed by English Heritage. Free to visit.

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Simple Goodness

Rich soups, salads, hearty meals and homemade cakes are freshly made using seasonal and organic incgredients whereever possible from this vegetarian takeaway bistro.

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J&J Graham

Right in the heart of the town centre, deli and bakery J&J Graham is a Penrith icon that dates back to 1793.

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Xavier’s Café & Wine Bar

Xavier’s is Penrith’s answer to Paris’ wine-infused café culture. An elegant spot to unwind in both the daytime and evening.

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Penrith Old Fire Station

Main venue for Eden Arts, an artist-led organisation based in Eden in Cumbria creating projects around mass participation, local distinctiveness and digital engagement, from Picnic Cinema to The Winter Droving.

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