Our work at Claife Viewing Station

South Lakes ranger putting in new bench on shore of Windermere, Cumbria

Our small group of Rangers help to manage 1100 hectares of land between Hawkshead village and the west shore of Windermere. The area is a rich mosaic of farmland, woodland, upland tarns and mires and formal parkland.

Caring for the countryside

This part of the Lakes has very strong connections to Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. Visitors to Claife Viewing Station, Hill Top, Wray Castle and Hawkshead village today are enjoying what has been a hugely inspirational part of the countryside for hundreds of years.

For the many thousands of people who come to enjoy the attractions of Bowness, the Claife woods on the west shore of Windermere form the backdrop to their visit.

Our job is to look after and improve the different aspects of the countryside and help you enjoy them in whatever way you choose. On different days that can mean planting parkland trees at Wray Castle, laying a hedge by Blelham Tarn, or replacing a gate on a path.

Recent projects

We have recently been working with the Lake District National Park to establish a series of new bridleways in the area to make walking and cycling safer and more enjoyable, the latest is between Hawkshead and Low Wray.

The Claife woods were once the ‘factory floor’ for charcoal production, coppicing and the tanneries and are rich in woodland archaeology. There are many charcoal pit-steads, pack horse bridges, potash kilns and even a bark barn. We have recently spent time repairing and protecting these important sites, removing trees that are damaging the stonework and protecting them for the future.


On the Windermere lakeshore, reed beds are an important habitat for insects and nesting birds like coots, teal and golden eye. They were far more extensive in the past than they are today so we are working with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust to re-establish pockets of reed beds in the sheltered bays along the west shore, to help improve their natural habitats.

Say hello

If you come across our ‘Rangers in red’ when out and about in the South Lakes, do stop and say hello. They have a wealth of knowledge about countryside management, wildlife and the local area and are always happy to answer your questions and share their experience with you.