Virtual Fauna
Drawing of peregrine's head
about this website

About this site

This site aims to provide access to information on the wildlife of Cumbria held by Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre at Tullie house Museum. Over 600,000 records of wildlife sightings have been collated on the database. Some records date back over 200 years but the vast majority of information is recent - collected since 1990. We are most grateful to the various organisations and very many individual naturalists who have contributed information to the database. Additional records have been gathered from Museum collections and literature sources. Information is added to the database by volunteers from Carlisle Natural History Society.

Information on this site is provided for personal use only. For other uses and detailed data requests, please contact CBDC.


Relief map of Cumbria
Relief map of Cumbria

The Virtual Fauna of Lakeland website is named after the monumental work, A Vertebrate Fauna of Lakeland, written by the Rev. H. A. Macpherson in 1892. This web site is a natural progression of the work that he began over 100 years ago. Macpherson’s Lakeland faunal area included most of modern day Cumbria and this site is concerned with Cumbrian wildlife.

Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre is the local environmental records centre for Cumbria. It holds information on the wildlife of the county for conservation and educational purposes. Staff at CBDC can be contacted for detailed searches of the database.

Title page of A Vertebrate Fauna of Lakeland
Title page: A Vertebrate Fauna of Lakeland

Hugh Alexander Macpherson was a Victorian clergyman whose name still resonates among the naturalists of Cumbria today. He lived in this county for less than two decades and yet in that time he wrote and published prolifically on the natural history of the area, culminating in his magnum opus: ‘A Vertebrate Fauna of Lakeland

Macpherson’s legacy can be seen not only in his published work, which remains of interest and relevance to naturalists today, but also in the continuing work of the local institutions and organisations that he helped establish and inspire. His passion and zeal for natural history led him to campaign for and develop a natural history museum at Tullie House in Carlisle . He also fostered and became the first President of Carlisle Natural History Society. In addition, his ground-breaking work on the natural history of Lakeland was the inspiration behind one of the earliest local biological records centres, established at Carlisle Museum in 1902.

Hugh Alexander Macpherson
Hugh Alexander Macpherson


We are very pleased to acknowledge the support of Cumbria County Council and English Nature in the development of this site.

The information is drawn from the Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre, based at Tullie House Museum using the RECORDER 3.3 software developed by JNCC. Species distribution maps have been produced using the DMAP programme developed by Dr. Alan Morton.

Thanks also to the people who have allowed us to use their photographs on the site: Ian Armstrong, Nick Franklin, David Hickson, Duncan Lawie, Barry Marrs, Tristan Reid and Tony Marshall. We would be pleased to hear from anyone with good digital photos of wildlife that we could use to improve the site.

Very many individuals and organisations have freely contributed information to the Cumbria Biological Records Database at Tullie House Museum. We have attempted to acknowledge all sources of records for each of the wildlife groups covered in the species pages of this site. The parish pages contain much additional information from sources too numerous to mention individually. There are however some major contributors of data who deserve particular mention. These are the Aquatic Beetles Recording Scheme, Biological Records Centre, Butterfly Conservation, Cumberland Bat Group, Cumbria Bird Club, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Dipterists Forum, Natural England, Environment Agency, Westmorland & Furness Bat Group and of course the network of local natural history societies active across the county.

Finally, special thanks are due to the members of Carlisle Natural History Society who have given their time to enter records onto the database over the last 15 years or so and to other volunteers who have been of enormous help in extracting information from the collections in the Museum. They are, Geoff Naylor, Edna Marper, Dorothy Iveson, John Read, Tony Tipling, John Martin, Tom Dias, Will Higgs, Peter Harris and Tony Rigby.

Link to Tullie House Museum and Gallery website