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Kielder Forest

Kielder Forest is huge, by UK standards. It is England's largest forest, at 250 square miles. Kielder is not just about trees,  a quarter of its area is open space, including England's largest area of blanket bog. Kielder is also home to the biggest remaining population of red squirrels in England.

Ospreys returned to Kielder Water in 2009, and bred the first osprey chicks in Northumberland for 200 years.

Highlights: Red squirrels, Roe deer, 6 species of bats, ospreys, goshawks, hen harriers, siskin, crossbill, kestrel, buzzard, tawny and barn owls, dragonflies, adders and slow worms.

How see Kielder's ospreys


  • While the ospreys are here, usually until the end of August, Northumbrian Water has organised special sailings of the `Osprey' ferry on Kielder Water staffed by bird experts and offering the tantalising possibility of seeing the male hunt for fish to feed his family. It departs daily at 10.45am and booking is advisable to avoid disappointment on 01434 251000, or on site at Leaplish Waterside Park and Tower Knowe Visitor Centre. Tickets will be on sale on the morning of the sailing if spaces are available.
A special public osprey viewing area is also in daily operation at Mounces Car Park, off the C200, near Leaplish Waterside Park in Kielder Water & forest Park. On Fridays (from 1pm) and during weekends volunteers from the RSPB and Northumberland Wildlife Trust will share views through powerful telescopes able to pick out the distant osprey nest on the far side of Kielder Water. 

To avoid congestion at weekends, people are asked to park at Leaplish Waterside Park and take the guided Osprey shuttle bus to and from the site. Public viewing arrangements have been part funded by Northumberland National Park.

First osprey chicks to be born in Northumberland for 200 years. Credit Forestry Commission.

First osprey chicks to be born in Northumberland for 200 years. Credit Forestry Commission.

Location: From the villages of Bellingham and Newcastleton follow signs to Kielder Water and Forest Park which will take you onto the C200 - the road which runs adjacent to the southern shore of Kielder Water. Access to the forest can be gained from a number of points along the C200, or alternatively continue to Kielder Castle Forest Park Centre at the northern end of Kielder Water.

Grid reference: NY632934

Facilities: Kielder Castle Visitor Centre is open 10-5pm daily until 26 Oct 2008.

Kielder Forest Drive and all trails are open all year round.

The car parking charge is £3 and the charge for the Forest Drive is £3.

The Duke's Pantry tearoom is open 10-5pm daily changing to 9.30 - 5.30 on bank/school holidays.

Click here to go to the Forestry Commission website.

Or for more information about visiting Kielder, go to http://www.visitkielder.com/


These maps are intended as a guideline only; you must check the exact location of the reserve yourself. Wildlife Extra assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or usefulness of the information on this website.


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