The Derwent Forest site was formerly a Royal Navy Armaments Depot (RNAD), a Ministry of Defence (MOD) site known as Broughton Moor. The site covers approximately 425 hectares and is located north west of Cockermouth in Cumbria (Grid ref: NY04981 532557). The site contains approximately 283 buildings and was decommissioned approximately 25 years ago. In the intervening years the buildings that cover the site have been left open to grazing cattle that were on site until June 2009. Trespassers have also regularly accessed the site and used the buildings or vandalised them to some extent.
Habitats on site comprise unimproved neutral and calcareous grassland, semi-improved grassland, a significant area of coniferous plantation woodland in the centre of the site named Ribton Wood and broadleaved plantation woodland that extends into the site as gills on the west of the site known as Holden’s Gill and Bottoms Wood. Streams run through these gills off the site. In the centre of the site is a large colliery spoil heap dating from the time when Buckhill Colliery operated coal mining at the site. Several ponds can be found across the site some of which are man-made ponds and reservoirs.