Ospreys were extinct in England's Lake District for 150 years before a breeding program in Whinlatter Forest became a successful example of sustainable tourism. Osprey Watch has attracted more than 500,000 visitors and raised awareness of wildlife and bio-diversity.
English Lake District – Been There

Build a nest, and they will come

Photo by Craig Churchill

English Lake District – Been There Build a nest, and they will come

Ospreys were extinct in English Lake District for 150 years but, following successful breeding at Loch Garten in Scotland, the Forestry Commission and Lake District National Park decided to create nest platforms at Bassenthwaite in the hope of attracting them back.

Amanda Cowley
Amanda Cowley Travel Writer

In 2001, they came. A pair made a nest and Forestry Commission ranger Nathan Fox was there to witness it. “I was one of the staff under the tree in a tent, watching, listening and hoping,” says Nathan, whose job was to protect the birds from anyone wanting to steal their eggs. To his astonishment (“All we wanted to do back then was to get them to breed”), people flocked to the forest to see the first chick arrive. Today, the ospreys are a big deal for the local economy, attracting thousands of tourists and bringing in an estimated $3million a year in tourism revenue.

Nathan’s role is not all about ospreys. He also has the huge task of maintaining the ecosystem of this mountain forest, whether that means managing timber production, protecting the endangered red squirrel, or even culling the roe deer to control over-population. All the venison is sold to a local game dealer.

“Our job is balancing the timber production, people and recreation, and wildlife management,” says Nathan. “The protection of the environment should form part of anybody’s business plan because that’s in all of our interests. The two go very much hand in hand.”

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Fellwalker Alfred Wainwright (1907-1991) described the rarely visible Loughrigg Tarn in England's Lake District as “one of the most secluded of tarns”. Photo by Adam Burton

Adam Burton

Adam Burton

NIKON D800E

Aperture
ƒ/11/1
Exposure
1/4
ISO
100
Focal
480/10 mm

Fellwalker Alfred Wainwright (1907-1991) described the rarely visible Loughrigg Tarn in England's Lake District as “one of the most secluded of tarns”.

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