World-famous for its scenery, the Lake District is also home to an eclectic mix of wildlife, covering every size and shape you could think of. If you’re a lover of the outdoors or visiting the Lake District, here is our helpful guide to spotting some of the local wildlife.
Where to Go
If you’re planning on including some wildlife spotting in your next Lake District break, there are a number of different locations where you can expect to spot some of the more reclusive local residents.
Located a comfortable drive away from Keswick, Whinlatter Forest attracts plenty of wildlife for visitors to try and spot thanks to the feeders located near the visitor centre, and a live camera offering close-up views of any activity. Ideal for families, Whinlatter Forest also has plenty of things to keep the kids occupied, should the animals be feeling particularly camera-shy on a given day. There are fourteen miles of trails in the forest suitable for use by both walkers and cyclists, along with the Wilplday project which has nine play areas spread out across a 600-metre long trail.
Lying to the east of Keswick near the village of Threlkeld you have the beautiful woodland of Wescoe and Burns Wood. Not only is it home to plenty of woodland creatures but the River Greta also runs through it, attracting birds of prey throughout the year.
However, woodlands aren’t the only areas where you can expect to spot some wildlife in the Lake District. Known for its beautiful lakes and bodies of water, it should come as no surprise that these are also excellent areas to spot animals – in particular, different species of birds.
What You Can See
The Lake District is home to a diverse range of animals from the small red squirrel to majestic red deer.
One of the most elusive animal residents you’ll find in the Lake District is the impressive golden eagle – the last remaining one in England. It takes a lot of time and patience to finally spot this magnificent bird soaring past but for wildlife enthusiasts, it’s well worth the wait.
For those looking for bird species that will be easier to spot, the area is also home to buzzards, osprey, kestrels, and lighting-fast peregrine falcons.
Red squirrels remain one of the most popular animals for visitors to try and spot in the area because of their large numbers and year-round presence in the area. Although rarer than their grey cousins, the smaller red squirrels can be spotted in most of the woods in the Lake District.
More commonly associated with the Scottish highlands, you might be surprised to hear that red deer can be found all of the Lake District and Cumbria. They are a sight to behold during their mating season in autumn when you can witness territorial displays and fighting between the male members of a heard.
If you would prefer to do some wildlife spotting while enjoying the beautiful lakes and waters in the area then make sure you keep an eye out for otters. Once at risk of extinction, these carnivorous mammals can now be glimpsed in a number of different spots in the Lake District.
Wildlife spotting isn’t always a straightforward activity so we have put together some helpful tips to ensure that you are successful on your next trip.
- Know Where to Look: different animals are naturally found in different environments so know that to be on the lookout for. For example, you’re likely to find squirrels in wooded areas, while birds frequent rivers and lakes.
- Be Patient: most species are naturally timid and only make themselves known at certain times throughout the day so be prepared to wait around if you are keen to spot a specific animal.
- Look but Don’t Touch: Remember that these are wild animals so you should keep your distance from them for your own safety as well as their own. No matter how cute an animal looks, you never know how it will react if you try to touch it.