February: Feel the love at Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station bike riding

Love is in the air down on the west shore of Windermere as our rangers have been sharing with us what they enjoy most about looking after the Lake District.

" I love the Lake District because it offers wild places perfect for solitude, high mountains prime for adventure and beautiful tarns for bracing swims."
- Sarah Anderson, Upland ranger

Explore Ash Landing nature reserve

As you explore Claife Viewing Station, Tarn Hows and the west shore of Windermere you may not always see our ranger team but you can always find examples of the work they have been doing – from repairing tumbled down dry stone walls to creating new hedgerows and planting trees.  When you visit Claife Viewing Station, wander down to the nearby Ash Landing nature reserve to see some fantastic examples of conservation work in action. You will see hedgerows skirting the meadows; these have recently been created by our ranger team with help from volunteers. They provide an invaluable habitat which can support up to 80% of woodland birds as well as reptiles, toads and frogs. These days we plant hedges to benefit wildlife, but the process of hedge laying dates back to Roman times and continued on and off through the 18th century, when Inclosure Acts led to a huge increase in hedge planting to partition land. 

Allowing wildlife to flourish

Destruction of our hedgerows and other habitats has led to a 60% decline in UK species over the last 50 years, making the work our rangers do in the Lake District and across the whole of the UK vital. The National Trust plans to do its bit for nature. We will be developing new, innovative ways of managing land on a large scale, which will be good for farmers, the economy and the environment and we’ll work with partners to help look after some of the country’s most important landscapes, reconnecting habitats and bringing back their natural beauty.  It may only be a small change, but improving Ash Landing for nature means we are one step closer to a better. As you walk around the reserve, keep your eyes peeled for bullfinches, goldcrests and families of long tailed tits flitting around you in the trees.  As the weather warms up you’ll be able to spot slow worms and adders basking on our new reptile sunbeds.

A bullfinch enjoying the winter sunshine
Bullfinch
A bullfinch enjoying the winter sunshine

Tree planting

If you fancy exploring a little further, follow the footpath from Claife Viewing Station to Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter. From here there are many lovely footpaths, including a route that takes you up to Moss Eccles Tarn. This spot was a favourite for Beatrix Potter and her husband William, and is renowned for having swathes of lily pads covering the tarn in the summer.  Our ranger team have been busy tree planting after the original larch trees in the area contracted an infection and had to be felled. Now there are almost 4,000 new saplings in a variety of native tree species including rowan, elm and holly which will make the future woodland less susceptible to disease.

Nearly 4,000 saplings have now been planted
Tree planting at Moss Eccles tarn
Nearly 4,000 saplings have now been planted

Pedal power

For those of you looking for an action packed adventure, there are some cracking bike routes around Claife Heights that take in some brilliant Lake District scenery, or the gentler Windermere west shore route suitable for all the family. Try a car free adventure and catch the ferry across from Bowness with your bikes, visit the Viewing Station, cycle along the west shore to Wray Castle and then on your return, finish the day off with an ice cream at the Café in the Courtyard!

" I am so lucky to live and work in such a beautiful place – I love nothing better than heading up a hill on a summer’s evening to see the sun setting or exploring the huge network of bridleways on mountain bike."
- Clair Payne, Ranger

Family fun

Come and discover nature at Claife Viewing Station and Tarn Hows. Get hands on with our new nature discovery trail. You'll get the chance to try bark rubbing, mini beast hunting and animal tracking - we hope to see you soon!