The sheer variety of habitats in Kielder Water & Forest Park, from woodland to marshy grasslands and bogs, create homes for a whole host of wildlife and is impressive and unique in the UK. Explorers can expect to encounter badgers, roe deer, otters, shrews, seven species of bat, many woodland birds and, especially in spring, birds of prey including ospreys.
The Kielder Super Six are the top six species most people are really keen to see. They are: ospreys, red squirrel, pipstrelle bats, roe deer, salmon and otters. Ask in one of our visitor centres where you will be most likely to spot one of the Super Six.
What you might see while you’re here
The Park is also home to around 50% of England’s native red squirrel population, the last remaining stronghold in the country. The best place to catch a glimpse of one is at the red squirrel hide at Leaplish Waterside Park.
A refurbished hatchery and visitor centre at Kielder Salmon Centre features state of the art facilities for rearing both salmon and other rare species such as freshwater pearl mussel.
By keeping the water at a constant level at Bakethin Nature Reserve we have created a nature reserve, including three islands, which provide an important sanctuary for local plants, birds and other wildlife including otters. In addition, there is a bird hide.
There are also wildlife events throughout the park all year round including pond dipping, deer safaris, mini-beast hunts, family nature walks and bat nights, details of which can be found to the right of this page.
The spring is an excellent time to view birds of prey. Also, dragonflies and damselflies can be seen in the summer. Migrating birds are frequent sights in the autumn including fieldfare and redwing.
In the winter, wildfowl, siskins, crossbills and hungry red squirrels are common sights.
The wildlife garden at Leaplish Waterside Park is open all year round and comprises a raised pond and butterfly shaped bed, a bog and drought garden and a nest box demonstration area. Adders, butterflies, stoats and amphibiants inhabit the garden. Nearby, the Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre is open all year round except Christmas Day.
New at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre is the red squirrel room and also the new red squirrel hide is nearby.
In 2009 it was the first time on record that ospreys has recolonised naturally in Northumberland. To our delight, they continue to return and successfully breed every year. In 2012 we even had two breeding pairs and a record number of four chicks successfully fledged in 2013.
Our ospreys have returned again for 2014 and visitors are able to enjoy unique views of the birds at Kielder Castle and Leaplish Waterside Park, thanks to special cameras we have on the nests.
You can support the Osprey Watch online.
If you are coming up specifically for the Osprey Watch, don’t forget to check the blog for the most up to date news and what days the volunteers are here.