Spring wildlife in Buttermere Valley

A bright blue sky, a fresh breeze and sunlight making the new leaves shine like green gems. When Spring arrives in the Buttermere Valley it brings a real feeling of change to the landscape (even though the tops might have a dusting of snow well into April).

Spring is a great time for wildlife watching in the valley. Nesting birds are active to the point of being frantic, providing food for their demanding young. 

Watch the ones captured on camera by volunteer Jim Bebbington in the video above.

" Where else do you get the wonderful scenery, the variety of wildlife and ease of access as in the Lake District?"
- Jim Bebbington

Path closes for nesting birds

If you’re planning to walk round the lake at Buttermere, keep in mind that each spring we close a short stretch of permissive footpath along the north edge of the lake from the beginning of April through to the end of June to provide a sanctuary for nesting sandpipers.

Sandpipers lay their speckled eggs directly onto the lakeshore shingle and that makes the eggs and the chicks really vulnerable to disturbance by dogs and humans.

We close a short stretch of lakeshore path to allow sandpipers to nest in peace
a sandpiper chick on the lakeshore
We close a short stretch of lakeshore path to allow sandpipers to nest in peace

Closing this ¼ mile (400m) stretch of footpath gives the birds a better chance to rear their young and is part of our conservation work to balance the needs of people and wildlife in this beautiful and sensitive area.

You can still walk all round the lake, but you’ll need to decide whether you’re going clockwise or anticlockwise before you leave Buttermere village.

Download the map below to see how the path closure will affect your route.

Waymarked walks

Just in case the circular walk from the village to the lakeshore and back was one of your favourite short strolls, we’ve created three waymarked walks as temporary trails that will be in place just while the permissive path is closed for the nesting season.

Each waymarked walk is a circular loop starting either from the National Trust car park at Buttermere, or from the centre of the village, and they offer three different experiences:

1. Grassgarth Coppice loop - gains a little height to look down on the village and both lakes, then a descent that winds through the oak trees cloaking the steep-sided ghyll, known locally as 'Fairy Glen'
2. Long How loop - this takes you along Mill Beck to the shore of Crummock Water with beautiful views of Mellbreak, and back through the craggy oak trees of Long How wood
3. Buttermere Dubs loop - this takes in Buttermere lakeshore with the classic view of Haystacks, then along the river, filled with waving water weeds, to a traditional stone packhorse bridge and back to the village