So where is Kielder? Kielder: the remotest village in England, three miles from Scotland on the southern tip of the largest reservoir in England (by capacity) and enclosed by one of the largest man made forests in England., Space and openness are abound and, nestled alongside this we have a growing collection of architecture .
Within the wild moorland and along forest walks, rides and riverbanks structures are discovered, some to shelter in, others to marvel and view. Historically this is a hardy place with hardy folk, who, before the introduction of any Forestry Commission or Kielder Dam, plied a hard earned living from the moorland.
And so where do I fit in? The author? My name is Steve Webb, I moved here a few years ago with my family and we run the village shop. All around is big! Big space, big forest, big reservoir but the number of people here isn't big. The area is widely regarded to be the most tranquil place in England. It is an extraordinary place to live and I hope to be able to pass this aspect on to you over the next few months.
I'm afraid there is no way I can avoid this topic......the weather! Whilst Britain shivers in it's coldest winter for many years Kielder, (for once) has been given a brief respite.
Yes we've had a sprinkling of snow, and a wind that cuts to the bone, but by and large things have been bare-able. The roads have been kept clear with the constant trundle of gritters. And for those that have ventured away from the fire our crisp winter conditions have offered some stunning views out and about the forest. With the Lakeside Way offering it's own magic whilst walking or cycling.
The animals here have been foraging for food which has resulted in a lot more sightings. Long tailed tits have been feeding and buzzards are plentiful as they increase their sorties for food.
Whilst many feel it is but a rumour, we are now in the first few days of spring, all is not lost on this subject. The snowdrops and daffs are peeking out from corners and gardens whilst the first few lambs are being born on the farms around Kielder.
Further spring quests are to look skywards, for the first sighting of our Ospreys. The platforms have been cleared, repaired and prepared with the first test footage of the nest with the video link having been a success. Kielder Castle has been hosting Goshawk walks with more planned. Your expert guide on the walk will be Martin Davidson, who has over 20 years experience in the field. Further events include owl nights, badger watching, bat nights and deer safaris So for any animal lovers there are a few events taking place to keep you occupied. For the family there are wildlife days and Treasure Trails being held. The Calvert Trust can cater for day visits and have Activity Drop in days, where you can be active, pampered.....or both.
Now one favourite of ours has been a little shy these past few months. The red squirrel. September to November last year saw many of these cuties stocking up for the winter. We had a couple scooting around our shop in search of squirrelly goodies, and the feeder at Kielder Castle had many a happy family taking photo's of a squirrel inches away through a window. But today, on the outskirts of the village they are foraging again. So keep a look out and please, drive around the area carefully.
So as we approach our early Easter Holidays, keep looking to the skies for those Ospreys, Goshawks or Buzzards. Keep your camera ready for the sure-footed squirrel on it's hunt for tuck and maybe sample a tea and cake at the Castle Tearooms or a local beer and meal at the Anglers Arms Pub. And if you haven't found us yet, there's still room at the inn!
Look forward to the Osprey Story for 2013, a little history about the area, photo's and info that you'll not get anywhere else.
Bye for now.
Kielder Castle is the visitor centre for Kielder Forest. Features include information centre, tearoom and exhibitions about forestry and conservation. Bike hire available.