Little Asby is common land situated on one of the most important limestone landscapes in England. The land has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation. Mazonwath, adjoins this land and is a rough grassland habitat being managed to support ground nesting birds such as curlews and lapwings.

Our volunteers have rebuilt a number of dry stone wall sheepfolds and shelters (bields), and spread native tree berries to encourage a more varied habitat. We support our common rights holders in managing the common sustainably, for example, by reducing sheep numbers and introducing cattle grazing. We are the Secretary of the Little Asby Commoners Association. We have recorded nearly 200 archaeological sites on the common and regularly monitor the ecology on the common. We welcome open access for walkers on the common.

Reasons to visit:

  • Investigate some of the 196 archaeology sites on the common
  • Enjoy a 360 degree view of the Lake District, Northern Howgills and Pennines
  • Enjoy the upland limestone pavement, a contrast to the Lake District area
  • Enjoy the regenerating heather (summer/autumn)
  • Enjoy the feelings of remoteness, wildness and tranquillity
  • Best time to visit: summer/autumn

*Little Asby Through the Keyhole

Season One of 'Little Asby Through the Keyhole' will begin on Saturday 4th running until Sunday 19th September 2021.

The team from the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme are looking for volunteers to help with their fascinating excavation project taking place on Little Asby Common in September

The days are FREE to attend but places are limited so please get in touch with which of the 16 excavation days you'd like to attend but be quick, we expect lots of interest

  • This excavation is a great opportunity to uncover archaeology that could potentially be rare for the North-West of England. It will be led by archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology North as part of the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme.
  • No experience is necessary as all training will be provided, as will all the equipment. However, a certain level of fitness will be required due to the nature of the site.

More information about the upcoming excavation and the archaeology on the common is explored in this great webinar hosted by the Westmorland Dales Scheme team ‘Round House to Long House’

Around 20 keyhole trenches will be excavated across Little Asby Common. Archaeological survey over the last 20 years has revealed a rich and complex pattern of settlement on Little Asby Common that dates back to the Bronze Age, but also includes some significant early medieval remains.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch (see contact details below). This is a free event but places are limited so please get in touch with which days you would like to attend.

Contact Hannah Kingsbury (Cultural Heritage Officer) by emailing [email protected] or by phoning 01539 756624.


This is situated about five miles east of Orton.

It can be reached via the the C3070 from Raisebeck to Little Asby , or the C3074 from Newbiggin-on-Lune. The grid ref of the joining of these two roads is 090686 (OL19 Explorer map Howgill Fells). There are no direct bus services across the Common, but buses from Appleby and Kirkby Stephen may pass nearby.


Open access on the common at all times.

More information:

Little Asby History

Little Asby Archaeology

Little Asby Common - A rare limestone landscape (pdf)

This property  benefits from a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, funded by the ‘European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development’ which enables us to do habitat and landscape enhancement.