Bassenthwaite has become famous in recent years for their successful Osprey programme. It has resulted in the first pair of wild Ospreys to breed in the Lake District for over 150 years.
Back in the early 90s it became apparent that Ospreys had begun summering in Bassenthwaite near our self catering Lake District cottages. Their progress was monitored by the Forestry Commission who look after Dodd Wood and Thornthwaite Forest, the mountain forests surrounding Bassenthwaite Lake
The Foresty Commission built several nesting platforms in the forest and monitored them until 2001 when a visiting pair of birds laid the first eggs. This resulted in the start of a natural re-colonisation for Ospreys in the Lake District.
Since 2001 Ospreys have returned to the Bassenthwaite area, occasionally swapping nesting sites from Dodd Wood to Thornthwaite Forest on the opposite side
The nest locations are guarded and patrolled by Forestry Commission wardens as the birds remain a rare sight in the UK and illegal collectors covet their eggs. The birds usually lay a clutch of 3 eggs that take 6 weeks to hatch. The lake District Osprey Project was set up to monitor and maintain the progress of the birds.
You can visit the project at Whinlatter in the visitor centre or at Dodd Wood across the lake. The visitor centre is staffed by volunteers and has a live feed from a camera above the nest. Over at Dodd Wood there is a viewing platform in a forest clearing, also staffed by volunteers, with binoculars and telescopes to watch the birds with. They really are magnificent to watch as they swoop over the lake in search of food.
The project operates from early spring till the birds fledge and fly the nest in late summer. If you would like to see these magnificent birds for yourself, we have Lake District cottages in Bassenthwaite that are ideally located for visiting Dodd Wood, or self catering cottages in Braithwaite for perfectly positioned for visiting Whinlatter.