About Us

Lake District Osprey Project (LDOP) 

The Lake District Osprey Project was a partnership between Forestry England, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), aided by many passionate volunteers. 

The partnership aimed to: 

  • Continue the successful natural recolonisation of the species in Bassenthwaite 
  • Assist with natural colonisation elsewhere in the Lake District 
  • Provide visitors with the opportunity to see and find out more about ospreys and the other fascinating species which share their habitats. 

The return of ospreys to Bassenthwaite was the culmination of several years’ hard work behind the scenes. As sightings of migrating birds increased in the late ‘90s, so too did the hope that some would choose to nest in the Lake District. With this in mind the project’s partners erected a nest platform in Wythop Woods, overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake. 

In 2001, this foresight paid off as amid great excitement an osprey pair chose to nest on the platform and successfully reared a chick – the first in the area for over 150 years! 

Ospreys have returned to the region every year since this historic date, switching to a new nest site in Dodd Wood as well as one on the valley floor before moving closer to the lake in 2019. At least one chick has been successfully raised each year, often two. 

Funding and support 

The LDOP was funded by visitor donations as well as Nurture Lakeland (now the Lake District Foundation), with the shortfall made up by the partnership organisations. Additional support was gratefully received from the BBC, Viking Optical and the Tourism and Conservation Partnership amongst others, not least the project’s passionate and hardworking volunteers. 

Impacts and Achievements 

In June 2008 the achievements and impacts of the project were reviewed by Natural Economy Northwest. 

In summary the study found the following key achievements. 

  • Recolonisation of Lake District habitat by rare species 
  • Raised awareness of wildlife and biodiversity 
  • Increased environmental tourism: more than 500,000 visitors to that date
  • New employment in biodiversity and in tourism industry 
  • Increased economic activity to sustain rural communities 
  • Improved public transport, reducing car travel 

 View the full case study HERE. 

Learn more 

For further information, please contact Nathan Fox, Forestry England Recreation Ranger (Nathan.fox@forestryengland.uk / 017687 78127). 


Recent Posts

End of Summer Round-up

A pair of ospreys nested by Bassenthwaite Lake this year. From their behaviour we think them to be Unring, and the unringed female from the past two years. They returned to the Lake at the end of March. As last year, they nested on the platform on private property. It was not possible to ascertain how many eggs were laid but 2 chicks hatched out. From the outset they appeared to be strong and healthy. Unring did a grand job keeping the family supplied with fish and the female nurtured them diligently. The two chicks proved to be very independent and by mid August were not hassling Unring for food, very different to many others we have seen.By the last week in August only one bird was seen fleetingly so we must assume the female and the chicks flew sometime then, winging their way to Africa. It was not long after the solitary bird (male) also moved on. Their breeding success just re-enforces the fact that as long as wild creatures are left alone, they generally thrive.

The chicks were not ringed and so they will not be traceable again but as usual, crossed fingers for a successful journey down Europe and over the Sahara.

Bassenthwaite Lake from the top of Dodd

Whether they go to the West coast or follow in White 14’s wing-beats to Bioko is anyone’s guess.


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