Cow Plantation Nature Reserve

Cow Plantation Local Nature Reserve 

Cow Plantation is an area of 19th century woodland planted on former ridge and furrow farmland. An 1897 Map noted the name of the land to be Cow Plantation, though little evidence suggests where the name came from. It is understood that sections of the plantation were used as refuse tips before World War 2.

Mature woodland, which blankets the majority of the reserve, remains the most important habitat on site – it contains a variety of trees including oak, ash, beech, elm, sycamore and birch.

The dense woodland understory is filled with thickets of black-thorn, elder, holly, hawthorn, dog rose and bramble, and is an important habitat for the huge variety of birds that inhabit the site.

Several grassland meadows intersect the woodland habitat, providing interesting stretches of grassland with prolific wildflower habitation. Various species you might come across include; betony, bird’s-foot-trefoil, common dog violet, common spotted orchid, creeping buttercup, cuckoo flower, daisy, devils-bit scabious, dog rose, greater stitchwort and honeysuckle to name a few.

Various butterfly species have also been recorded to utilise the grasslands in the spring and summer.


General Information

 Reserve Map & Access

Cow Plantation Local Nature Reserve Map

The red arrows mark the main access points. The red lines mark the main routes through the site. Please note not all of these are surfaced.


The site has both surfaced and un-surfaced footpaths and desire lines running through it. Please exercise due caution when traversing the site, and remember to wear appropriate footwear. 

Access and Parking

The main access points can be navigated to off Durham Road, Spennymoor. The reserves postcode is DL16 6RE.

Both main entrances have a disabled access kissing gate which can be operated using a RADAR key.

Public Transport

The nearest bus stop is on Durham Road, about 400m walk from the reserve.


Welcome, but on leads at all times.

 What to look out for:


Keep an eye out for house sparrow, robin, wren, blackbird, blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits, great and lesser spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, jay and nuthatch.


Peacock, meadow brown, ringlet, large and small whites, green-veined white, red admiral, comma, speckled-wood and small skipper butterflies.

Please help to protect wildlife by remembering:


  • Take your litter home
  • Don’t pick flowers or damage trees
  • No shooting
  • Keep to the paths
  • No fires
  • No Motorcycles
  • No horses
  • Clean up after your dog