Viewpoints

The Upper and Lower Viewpoints at Dodd Wood – open Monday April 1st to August 31st 2019.

Osprey Project staff with telescopes on hand to offer advice and help with viewing.

Parking  at the Sawmill Tearooms CA12 4QE

There are two viewpoints at Dodd Wood, the Lower and the Upper.

The Lower Viewpoint

Lower ViewpointThis viewpoint is open between 10am and 5pm daily, and it is suggested that all visitors should make their way here first. From this viewpoint resident red squirrels are our stars, and there are a host of woodland birds to enjoy at the feeding station. Views over the Lake and Marshland add more such as goosander, heron and the occasional otter. If you are lucky, views of the osprey fishing may be seen.   Whilst at the Lower Viewpoint, the staff and volunteers will give you the information you require to get you safely to the Upper viewpoint.

Important: Views of the nest from the Lower Viewpoint may be restricted at certain times of the season, with the focus being on the beautiful  Bassenthwaite Lake fishing grounds.

Please note: in inclement or severe weather, we may need to close the Lower Viewpoint.

The Upper Viewpoint

This viewpoint is half a mile further into the forest, and can be accessed via the forest road from the Lower Viewpoint.  It should take about 20 minutes to walk from there, and is a steady climb, but is really worth the effort.

The Upper Viewpoint is staffed by volunteers and there are optics available giving some spectacular views of the nest, which is on the marsh approximately one km away.

The nest site is bathed in fabulous scenery, with some of North Lakeland’s most iconic fells and mountains providing the backdrop.  The Upper Viewpoint is open from 10.30am until 4.30pm daily, and high powered telescopes and binoculars are provided, but by all means bring your own.

Please note: in inclement or severe weather, we may need to close the Upper Viewpoint.

Getting There

Both of our open-air viewpoints are located in Dodd Wood which is about 3 miles North of Keswick off the A591. Facilities include public toilets, Old Sawmill Tearoom and pay and display car parking spaces.

There are good public transport links with the daily X4 and X5 Stagecoach bus services between Penrith and Workington calling at Keswick.

At Penrith and Workington there are rail links to and from the west coast mainline between Glasgow, Carlisle and London.

Parking

Pay and Display car parking is available opposite the entrance to Mirehouse. From the car park the Lower Viewpoint is a fifteen to twenty minute walk uphill along a gravel woodland path.

No coach parking is available at Dodd Wood – please disembark passengers on the main road and park offsite.

Reduced Mobility

For people with reduced mobility, access to the Lower viewpoint by car can be made by prior arrangement. Please contact 0789 9818 421, between 10am and 5pm daily during the season. We can book a time directly although 24 hours notice is preferred to arrange a pick up .

Inclement or Severe Weather

In severe or extreme weather,  we may need to close one or both of the viewpoints without prior notice, but we will endeavour to erect signage in the car park making visitors aware. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

Other Activities to do at Dodd Wood

Dodd CafeThe Old Sawmill Tearoom at Dodd Wood offers an appetising selection of home baking, snacks, ice creams etc. and is open throughout the Osprey season.

Mirehouse can be found across the road from the Old Sawmill Tearoom. Mirehouse, family home of the Speddings, and its grounds which include four playgrounds, a heather maze and lakeside walk, is open to visit at a reasonable charge.

The Forestry Commission, Forestry England provides a network of forest walks starting from Dodd Wood car park through some huge Douglas Fir and there are stunning 360 degree views from the top of the Dodd. There are also access routes onto Skiddaw. Ask for a leaflet at the Old Sawmill Tearoom.


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Lunchtime, but not Cowed by Longhorns!

Photo L Baum   Rutpela maculata

Lunchtimes at the Viewpoint always give bonuses, in between looking at ospreys. Sometimes it’s a large slice of home-made cake on your plate, sometimes it’s a large beetle on your water bottle.

It’s quite a big beetle, 20mm long,  and although common in the South of England becomes rarer the closer you get to Scotland so we don’t see them that often. Due to its long antennae and colour its common name is ‘the black and yellow longhorn beetle’. No surprises there. It’s one of a herd of 68 different longhorn species in Britain, many of which are equally beautiful with patterns of orange, green and yellow but sadly, along with most other insects, in decline.

Dodd Wood is an ideal spot for it to live, particularly as the forest has been thinned over the past couple of years. Its larvae feeds on rotting wood, favouring the damp debris  of birch and pine and as an adult it eats nectar and pollen from flower-heads such as hog-weed and cow parsley that spring up as more light hits the forest floor.

Its life cycle can take up to 4 years but for nearly all of that time it is a pale grub and then a pupae. The colourful adult only lasts a couple of months in which it needs to find a mate. This one is probably a female as her ‘horns’ are more stripy than the males’. They are valuable members of the forest eco system, as decomposers when young and pollinators when adult.

However, not all longhorns are so benign, as the world warms the their Chinese cousin the Asian long horn beetle Anoplophora glabripennis  is able to advance North, often brought to Britain in consignments of untreated wood  and, as with many non-native species, this beefy individual has no natural predator. Unlike our natives it does not confine itself to dead wood but lays its eggs in living branches, its larvae creating long galleries, invisible inside the tree, until at last it hatches out from holes larger than 5p pieces. Attacking both timber and fruit trees it is of top concern to the Forestry Commission,  Forest Research Department and is a notifiable insect -this means  if you see one it is vital that you report it, following this link, through Tree Alert

Here’s its picture.

Asian long horn beetle Anoplophora glabripennis

The only way to control the spread is through felling with a buffer zone of 2km The last outbreak in Kent in 2012 saw 2229 trees felled of which 66 contained larvae. Only the quick response prevented 1000’s more trees being felled.

Forest Research is at the forefront, protecting our trees from pests and diseases. Find out more and see what other fantastic and fascinating work Forest Research does. Click on this link .https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/pest-and-disease-resources/asian-longhorn-beetle/

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