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, red squirrels, shrews, seven species of bat, many woodland birds and, especially in spring, birds of prey including ospreys.
What you might see while you’re here - green boxes below indicate the month you are most likely to see
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 hatchery and visitor centre at Kielder Salmon Centre feature 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 wildlife cruises, red squirrel safaris, osprey watch and bush craft activities, 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.
Kielder Castle Visitor Centre has the red squirrel room and the 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. So far this year, 5 of the 6 ospreys are thought to have returned across the three nests. Between 2009 and 2012 we watched three chicks successfully fledge. In 2013, four chicks fledged from two nests and in 2014 eight chicks were reared over the three nests. In 2015, we were again fortunate enough to have three nesting pairs, ten eggs were laid, and six juveniles fledged.
Our ospreys have returned again 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.