Welcome to the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre

Our area

We cover the administrative county of Cumbria, also known as "Lakeland" in natural history circles.

"Lakeland is a much more diverse region than the more narrowly understood Lake District. Besides the radiating dales with their series of lakes and intervening ridges and massifs of high fells, there are the farmlands of the surrounding plains with their main river valleys, remnant woodlands and peat mosses. These are bounded by the varied coastline, with the great estuaries of the Solway and Morecambe Bay to the north and south, and in between the systems of sand dune and shingle beach that give way to high cliffs at St Bees Head in the middle. Eastwards the land rises steeply to the main watershed of the northern Pennines and the boundary takes in the headwaters of Tees and South Tyne draining board and high moorland catchments. In the far north-east there is a more gentle rise in elevation to the moorlands of the Borders at the south-western extremity of the Cheviot range.

In all Britain there is only one other region of similar size [Snowdonia with Anglesey] that can show a comparable range of physical and ecological variation to delight the visitor with a passion for scenic beauty and natural history."

Derek Ratcliffe, Lakeland: the wildlife of Cumbria.

Neighbouring Local Environmental Records Centres

We work closely with our neighbouring Local Environmental Records Centres (LERCs) on projects and data exchange for adjacent counties:

DGERC (Dumfries and Galloway) - TWIC (Scottish Borders) - ERIC NE (Northumberland) - NEYEDC (North Yorkshire) - LERN (Lancashire)

We also work with other members of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres, particularly those in north west England. If you want contact details for the LRC for anywhere in the UK, please use the national Find an LRC map.

Cumbrian Watsonian vice-counties

The CBDC boundary follows that of Cumbria County Council and out to the 12 mile nautical limit, but biological recording and county recorders are sometimes organised on fixed boundaries called Watsonian vice-counties (VCs). These have the advantage of not changing as local government administritative boundaries can do. Most of Cumbria coincides with the Lakeland vice-counties of Cumberland (VC70) and Westmorland-with-Furness (VC69). The area around Sedburgh is in VC65, north-west Yorkshire. Due to small boundary changes there are also small slithers of VCs 60 and 64 within modern-day Cumbria. Other neighbouring vice-counties 66, 67, 72 and 80 are shown in the map below. The resources page contains a free download of the local vice-county boundaries.

Cumbria Watsonian Vice-counties Map