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Beaver fever in Shap

After a long spell of storms, it is starting to feel like spring might actually be on its way. Sure, the Far Eastern Fells of the Lake District that we can spy from our windows are still covered in snow but we can see the stubborn daffodils ready to burst into bloom at any minute. The mornings are lighter and evenings are longer and birds have found their voice again. The tawny owl that resides in the trees of our garden sends out a call most nights. It feels as if the nature that’s been bracing the storms is becoming alive again.

We consider ourselves lucky to be able to live in a place with plenty of wildlife. Almost every time we go out towards Haweswater, we can spot a buzzard or two around there. Not many know that but RSPB actually has a base at Naddle Farm next to Haweswater and they work hand in had with United Utilities in conserving the land and its wildlife.

This spring, RSPB Haweswater is offering several fun and fascinating events to let you learn more about the wildlife around us. From April onwards, they put on guided badger watches from their Haweswater badger hide at sunset every Monday and Wednesday night. It’s a perfect way to observe nature at the comfort of a hide and with a complimentary hot drink. You can find out more and book on to it HERE.

In March and April, there are also events that include a talk followed by a guided walk from the RSPB Naddle Farm. The first one will be about the Naddle Forest and its inhabitants (see here) and the second one will be about the red squirrels of Haweswater (see here). These are excellent opportunities to learn about the wildlife and have a chance to spot it later.

We have made no secret that one of our favourite places locally is the beautiful valley of Swindale. A few years ago, United Utilities, Environmental Agency and RSPB worked together to restore the curves of Swindale Beck in order to reduce flooding downstream, slow down the river and attract spawning salmon that some of our guests have already spotted in the river. On Good Friday, RSPB will offer a guided wildlife exploration in the valley that covers the restoration, wildlife and folklore of the place. This is something we would whole-heartedly recommend! You can find out more about it HERE.

When talking about local wildlife, we cannot leave you here without mentioning the new exciting project that was confirmed in January: beavers are coming back to Cumbria! Cumbria Wildlife Trust and its Cumbria Beaver Group have had the great news that Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has approved a licence for Lowther Estate for reintroducing beavers to the area. An adult male and female with upto four kits will be taken from Scotland and brought to an undisclosed location in the Lowther Estates and we for one are excited to welcome them to the county. This will be an enclosed scientific trial but if successful, we can hope to have free-roaming beavers again in our area. Trials in other locations have proved that return of beavers is beneficial for carbon storage, flood mitigation and increase in other wildlife, all of which are areas in which we are all excited to see positive changes. You can find out more about this project HERE and HERE.

We will be kicking off our 2020 season on 1st of April and we look forward to greeting many of you here this spring and summer and we hope that when you’re coming over, you’ll be able take some time and explore the wonderful wild world around us!

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