The Lake District National Park is a spectacular upland landscape in the North of England famous for its lakes, forests, and hills. The park contains the highest peaks in England as well as the deepest lakes. This unique landscape has been shaped for centuries by people’s activities – from sheep farming and forestry to mining and tourism. And has even inspired an entire artistic movement! In a reaction to the pollution and urbanisation of the Industrial Revolution, the Romantic Movement glorified nature and open rural landscapes. A key part of this movement was led by people inspired by their visits to the Lake District, including John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter, and the ‘Lake Poets’ – William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey.
Thanks to its incredible cultural importance, the Lake District was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, although this was not without controversy. Conservationists have raised concerns that the intensive sheep farming activities which give the Lakes their picturesque landscape are having damaging impacts on wildlife. While the Lakes faces serious challenges in balancing the demands of farmers with the demands of wildlife, there are some success stories – including the return of ospreys to the area after an absence of 150 years.
Average rating: 4.5 (very good)
Average cost: the costs of a trip typically depend on the activities undertaken, the type of accommodation stayed in, and the choice of food and drink. The osprey viewpoints are all free to visit although there is a cost if you want to park your car.
Best time to visit: the Lake District is beautiful year-round. The weather is best during Spring and Summer although this is also the busiest time. If you want to see ospreys they nest in the area from April to September.
How to get there: the Lakes are easy to access by car, train, and bus. Oxenholme is the main train station which connects up to major cities such as London and Glasgow. If you are planning a trip and aren’t sure where to start this is a really helpful guide. The best spots to see the ospreys are at the osprey watch viewpoints in Dodds Wood by Bassenthwaite Lake. The viewpoints are around 3 miles north of Keswick where you can connect to Penrith and Workington. For further details check out this guide.
Typical activities: bird watching, boat trip, camping, hiking
Number of reports: 2
WILDLIFE IN Lake District
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
Osprey – 50% OF WILDSIDE USERS (1/2) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
The return of ospreys to Bassenthwaite Lake in 2001 was the culmination of several years of hard work by the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park, and the RSPB. Since the first successful nesting in Dodds Wood, the ospreys have returned every year and successfully raised chicks.
The best place to see them is the osprey viewing platform at Dodds Wood. Staff provide telescopes to help view these incredible birds as well as a wealth of interesting knowledge. They nest in the area from April to September and your chances of seeing them during this time are good. It’s worth noting that the nests are often fairly far away from the platform. This means that the views are not by any means close-up. Outside of Dodd’s Wood ospreys can also be seen in Foulshaw Moss and Esthwaite Water.
Photo credit: ebor under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay