Castlerigg Hall is proud to welcome new faces to the Lake District, but in return, we hope your stay is respectful to the local habitat.
The Lake District is among the United Kingdom’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s a place for boating, cycling, and holiday camps. That said, the Lake District is also a place of rare natural beauty, providing sanctuary for the UK’s best, yet most vulnerable wildlife.
Enjoying your trip while respecting the surrounding habitat is an essential balance to strike on your next visit to the Lake District. Enter no trace camping — a term for leaving your campsite exactly how you found it.
Castlerigg Hall encourages visitors with a green ethos who can relate to its role in the vital conservation work around the Lake District. In this article, we explore four ways to enjoy your next Lake District adventure with respect to the habitat around us. Read on.
1. Keep your distance when spotting Lake District wildlife
The farmland of Castlerigg Hall resides under the shadow of Walla Crag, which is a fell (walk) from Keswick overlooking Derwentwater — a lake enclosed by a rich mountainous landscape and ancient woodlands. It’s a popular area of the district that attracts many visitors, but it’s also home to a myriad of local wildlife ripe for spotting in its natural glory.
Expect to see peregrine falcons and buzzards soaring high above your head, as well as various breeds of deer scampering across fields around the woodlands and Borrowdale. Against the odds, you can also see the native red squirrel in the Lake District, though they are under constant threat from a deadly virus carried by non-native grey squirrels.
It’s threats like these that mean we must be careful not to use the Lake District as a playground. Many habitats across the area are in fine balance, requiring protection from organisations like the RSPB and the National Trust’s wildlife initiatives. But what can we do to help? Well, we all love to surround ourselves with nature, though we should also keep a safe distance as to not disturb the wildlife that calls the Lake District their home.
There are many ways you can enjoy the local wildlife while maintaining a respectable distance. For instance, you can use nearby bird hides to stay sheltered and get a great view. These structures allow you to keep your distance, though you’ll require binoculars to enhance the experience and feel a little closer without causing a stir. RSPB’s birdwatching binoculars are a good option because your money is reinvested into conservation projects helping protect the wildlife you’re observing.
2. Fish with respect for the local rules
An adventure to the lake district wouldn’t be complete without having a cast out on one of the area’s many stunning lakes, but you need to observe respectful catch and release guidelines, meaning when a fish is caught it must be returned to the water unharmed.
Fishing Derwentwater by boat requires a permit from Keswick TIC, but you can purchase a day ticket if you’re content fishing from the shore. The Lake District’s public lakes Ullswater, Windermere, and Coniston are free to fish so long as you possess a valid license.
The aquatic life in the Lake District is rich and varied. You can expect to land char, perch, pike, as well as rare species like the schelly fish. Depending on the season you can also fish for fantastic specimens of trout and salmon. From Castlerigg Hall to Haweswater Reserve, you’re never far from a life-changing catch in the Lake District.
With that said, unlike spotting birds and squirrels, keen anglers cannot observe from a distance, making it all the more important that budding anglers follow good fishing practices and adhere to the local rules. The Lake District’s Code of Conduct is essential reading for this information. It outlines rules such as the ban on live bait, which is in place to prevent the introduction of disease and non-native species into the waters.
3. Take the path most travelled on your rambles
The Lake District is famed for its spectacular mountain fells, including Walla Crag which resides just a stone’s throw away from Castlerigg. These walks provide stunning views and offer ramblers varying levels of difficulty, from short jaunts to long ridge walks.
However, the wildlife is not all that needs protecting in the Lake District, so too do the fells. Why? Because path erosion is a constant problem, which leads to the loss of vegetation, habitats, and the reduction of biodiversity across the area.
The people at Fix the Fells help care for the Lake District’s mountain paths and landscape. Its volunteers work to reduce erosion by repairing the upland paths, stopping sediment from washing into the lakes and rivers where biodiversity can be harmed.
When next enjoying your walk across the fells, be mindful of the impact of your walking boots. Remain on the established paths wherever possible and bring a map to ensure you stay on route. Moving from the beaten path, though adventurous, may add to the erosion.
4. Don’t be a litterbug
Remember the golden rule of camping: clean up as you go.
Harking back to the beginning, no trace camping is important not only for the protection of habitat but also for allowing others to enjoy what the Lake District has to offer for years to come. You must respect your surroundings at all times and refrain from making a mess.
Here are some quick tips for keeping your campsite tidy:
● Repackage leftover food
● Regularly put rubbish in the onsite bin
● Bring an extra stash of bin bags
Clearing up after yourself keeps things tidy and stops animals from visiting the campsite. Moreover, before leaving, ensure you do a final sweep of your area, so you leave no trace.
Castlerigg Hall cannot wait to welcome new faces, in return, we hope you treat this area of natural beauty we call home with respect. From keeping your distance when observing wildlife to cleaning up as you go — this is how to enjoy your Lake District adventure and respect the habitat at the same time.