A remarkable landscape full of activity

Forest floor flora and streams at Cat Gill

Forest floor flora and streams at Cat Gill

Did you know?

  • Borrowdale is one of the most wooded valleys in the Lake District.
  • We manage around 500 hectares of protected Atlantic Oak wood.
  • We have incredibly rare lichens and mosses in the valley's woodland.
  • Over recent years otters have returned to the valley.
  • Peregrine Falcons nest at Falcon Crag.
  • Vendace, ice age relict fish, survive only here and in Bassenthwaite.
  • Borrowdale is the 'front line' of defence for red squirrels.

Discover the wildlife of Borrowdale

Ancient woodland

Caption needed © Simon Fraser

A remarkable landscape supporting remarkable wildlife, dominated by its ancient woodlands that cling to steep and craggy mountain sides; these are the Atlantic Oakwoods, the temperate rain forests that once cloaked much of the Western Seaboard of Europe and as with other rain forests its wildlife is secretive and unobserved.


Caption needed © National Trust/ Paul Delaney

Soaring above you, you might hear buzzards and peregrine falcons. The raven is relatively common throughout the valley and during the summer months the striking pied flycatcher takes up residence in the forest. Roe Deer are often seen in the woodlands and the larger Red Deer can be found on the high fells above the tree line.


Look out for the exotic and colourful sundews near the start of your walk © National Trust/ Paul Delaney

Look down to the forest floor, up to the fell tops, across the ancient pastures to discover an incredible diversity of plants, particularly ferns, and a dazzling array of mosses and liverworts. The Borrowdale valley has a nationally significant collection of outstanding rare lichens and a rich variety of fungi in the autumn.

Forestry work

Our forestry team are always hidden behind signs that say 'Forestry Work - Keep Away'. Discover more about their important work looking after the valley's woodland from their blog (external link).

Ash Dieback

We are one of the many places affected by this disease. Read Maurice Pankhurst's blog post describing what we are doing to protect our beautiful woodland.

Ash Dieback in Watendlath (external blog link)

Red squirrels

Red squirrels have inhabited Cumbria for the past 6,000 years. Today, their grey cousins are pushing them close to extinction.