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Bassenthwaite Lake - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 23:53, 13 August 2023 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (update link)
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Photo © by HelenB
View of southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake from the Upper Viewpoint, May 2009.
Click on image to see a larger version

England, Cumbria


Bassenthwaite Lake is a National Nature Reserve, in the Lake District, located in the county of Cumbria in northwest England. It is owned and managed by the Lake District National Park Authority. The area became famous in 2001, when a pair of wild Ospreys nested there, this being the first time in over 150 years that Ospreys had bred in the Lake District. Since then there have been breeding Ospreys every summer and hundreds of people have visited the viewpoints and visitor centre, to see these wonderful birds of prey.

Photo © by HelenB
View of Bassenthwaite Lake looking from the lay-by on the B5292 up to Whinlatter Pass, April 2012. The Ospreys built a new nest in 2011, in the flat marshy area on the south side of the lake ~ the area on the middle right of the photo

2023 Ospreywatch News

  • Update for the Dodd Viewpoints for the 2023 season: a pair of Ospreys have nested on private land again this year, so the Ospreywatch Team are unable to view the birds for this 2023 nesting season!


Notable Species

Osprey, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (a pair nested successfully in the reed bed below the viewpoints in 2017), Red Kite (28 April, 2010), Barnacle Goose (These are most probably birds from a resident flock on nearby Derwentwater), Eurasian Oystercatcher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tawny Owl, Common Dipper, Common Redstart, European Pied Flycatcher, Eurasian Treecreeper.

Photo © by HelenB
Southern end of Bassenthwaite Lake from the Lower Viewpoint, May 09. In 2011, the Ospreys built a new nest in a marshy area there


Red Kite ~ a total of 60 young Red Kites were released in Grizedale Forest, near Windermere, in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012. This is the 9th reintroduction and part of the final phase of Red Kite reintroductions in different parts of the UK. It is very likely that these wing-tagged kites will be seen over Bassenthwaite Lake as they explore the Lake District.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Osprey, Eurasian Marsh-Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Common Swift, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Eurasian Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Redstart, Eurasian Blackbird, Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Common Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, European Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Common Starling, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Common Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Eurasian Siskin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill

Photo © by HelenB
Whinlatter Visitor Centre, located in Whinlatter Forest Park, on the B5292, west of Bassenthwaite Lake, April 2012

Other Wildlife

Red Squirrel, Badger, Roe Deer, Otter, Pipistrelle bat, Weasel, Stoat

Site Information

History and Use

In 2001 it was announced that a pair of Ospreys had nested in the woods above Bassenthwaite Lake. This was the first time in 150 years that a wild pair of the birds had bred in the Lake District. The Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park Authority had provided a nesting platform in the hope that the Ospreys, they had been seeing during the summer for the last few years, would stay and breed there. Once the eggs were laid, wardens kept a 24 hour watch on the nest to protect the birds from any disturbance, such as illegal egg collecting. The RSPB is also involved in extra support for the Lake District Osprey Project.

Photo © by HelenB
Bassenthwaite Lake, looking across to Dodd Wood and Skiddaw, from Blackstock Point, July 2015

Areas of Interest

  • Osprey viewing from Dodd Wood viewpoints
  • Whinlatter Visitor Centre in Whinlatter Forest Park, where there is a live video feed from the nest to a big screen. NB: Whinlatter is also a major mountain biking centre.
  • Forest walks, provided by the Forestry Commission, starting from the Dodd Wood car park.
  • Ivy Crag Wood - a small remnant of oak woodland on the slopes of Dodd below Skiddaw
  • Powterhow Wood, with a hide (blind), on the south west edge of Bassenthwaite Lake. Access from the car park at Powter How, via a nice walk through the woods, where you might see Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. There's a tunnel under the A66, so no road crossings involved. Or you can park in the A66 layby at Blackstock Point, and take a walk along the lake side to get there. Location shown by arrow on map referenced in External Links, below.[2]
  • Dubwath Silver Meadows, a new wetland nature reserve about 17 acres in size, located at the north west end of Bassenthwaite Lake. 1.6 mile circuit of path and boardwalk, plus hides built in Celtic style.[3]

Access and Facilities

Covid-19 re-opening update: The forests, viewpoints and car parks are now open at Whinlatter and Dodd Wood, but the viewpoints are not staffed. You are welcome to visit the viewpoints to see what you can spot with your own optics.

  • The viewpoints are open but not staffed due to Covid-19. In a normal year they would be staffed from early April to the end of August (Late Summer Bank Holiday). You may also visit the viewpoints outside of the Osprey season, for beautiful views of Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater.
  • Osprey watching viewpoints are in Dodd Wood, on the east side of the lake. It is 3 miles north of Keswick off the A591, follow signposts to Dodd Wood from the A66. The car park is opposite the entrance to Mirehouse.
  • The Lower Viewpoint is open from 10am to 5pm daily but is currently not staffed by volunteers, due to Covid-19. Excellent views of the Ospreys fishing over the lake. There are feeders out for the local birds, and Red Squirrels.
  • The Upper Viewpoint is open from 10.30am to 5pm daily. It is about half a mile, a 30 minutes walk, up a steep incline, to this higher viewpoint.
  • There is no charge to use the viewpoints, but there is Pay & Display Parking at the car park by the Old Sawmill Tearoom. Please note that NO CHANGE IS GIVEN.
  • There are public toilets at the car park.
  • The Old Sawmill Tearoom at Dodd Wood is not open during the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Whinlatter Visitor Centre is open during the pandemic. It is located west of Braithwaite, on the B5292 between Braithwaite and Cockermouth - Grid Ref NY208245. Parking charges are the same as Dodd Wood. Check out any restrictions here: Whinlatter Visitor Centre

Contact Details

Whinlatter Visitor Centre phone: 017687 78469


Click on images to see a larger version:

Content and images originally posted by HelenB

External Links

  1. LDOP Flickr album of Osprey and Bassenthwaite photos
  2. Location of hide near Powterhow Wood
  3. Dubwath Silver Meadows Wetland Nature Reserve plus Dubwath Silver Meadows map

Recommended Citation

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1