Wildlife

According to BBC Wildlife “When it comes to variety, beauty and abundance of wildlife, Cumbria is the county with everything”, and there’s plenty on offer around Burns Farm.

  • Osprey at Bassenthwaite Lake
    Osprey watching over Bassenthwaite Lake
  • Herdwick Sheep
    Herdwick Sheep
  • Red Squirrel
    Red Squirrel sightings in Whinlatter Forest

Birds

Cumbria is rich in birdlife. Over 200 species of bird are recorded in Cumbria in any one year. Many visitors to the Lake District in recent years have shared in the excitement of ospreys breeding in craggy woodland near Bassenthwaite Lake. The Lake District Osprey Project has made viewing these wonderful birds accessible, through telescopes in Dodd Wood and via the webcam display at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

There is also amazing interactive bird of prey experiences for all ages. Choose either the woodland and parkland by lake Windermere or the thrill of the Lakeland fells to see eagles, hawks, falcons and owls, and even fly them yourself where possible!

Herdwick Sheep

Herdwick sheep are native to the Lake District fells and survive alone on the mountains all winter. They never stray from their ‘heaf’ – the area they were suckled as lambs.

You can recognise a Herdwick easily as they all have a white face and white legs and their coat changed colour from black as a baby lamb to blue-grey as they get older. The rams are easy to spot too – they have horns.

Herdwick wool is widely used in carpet making and also for knitwear. The fleece is also blended with Swaledale to make loft insulation.

Red Squirrels

Look out for red squirrels in the conifers in Dodd Wood or in Whinlatter Forest. There’s also a Red Squirrel Experience in the Whinlatter Visitor Centre. Their survival is not guaranteed with current estimates suggesting that only about 5,000 reds are left in Cumbria. The work of the Red Squirrels Northern England is crucial in monitoring and checking the advance of the greys. They call on the public’s help in reporting sitings of both red and grey squirrels in an attempt to preserve areas in which red squirrels can live unchallenged.

Otters

Whilst red squirrel numbers threaten to decline, the numbers of otters in Cumbria encouragingly has grown in recent years. By the 1980s otters had almost disappeared from Cumbria, due mainly to toxins in pesticides. There are now growing numbers particularly in the Eden Valley, on the Solway Plain and on the northern stretch of the west coast of Cumbria.

Find out more