The Osprey Safari is a self-driven elec­tric boat ride around Esthwaite Water, tak­ing you to six dif­fer­ent locations.

A guide book will illu­min­ate points of interest, from the res­id­ent osprey to the form­a­tion of reed beds, the his­tory of Archbishop Sandys and Beatrix Potter’s life and work with Herdwick sheep. Beatrix Potter used her wealth to buy farms in the Lake District. Farming became her pas­sion, as did the pre­ser­va­tion of the nat­ural land­scape. When she died she bequeathed her estates to the National Trust, who man­age them with the care and atten­tion she would have approved of.

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For the Wordsworth enthu­si­asts, a copy of The Prelude and the Lyrical Ballads are avail­able to read while mak­ing the jour­ney around the lake. Wordsworth was par­tic­u­larly fond of Esthwaite Water because he went to the Grammar school at Hawkshead and used the lake for recre­ation and inspir­a­tion, cap­tur­ing its many moods in his prose. The gram­mar school was estab­lished by Archbishop Sandys, whose fore­bears still live in the val­ley and still own the lake. Esthwaite Water is the only privately owned lake in the Lake District.

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Ospreys have been vis­it­ing the lake for the past 13 years, and suc­cess­fully nest­ing for 5 years. During their sea­son from April to October they can be seen fish­ing on Esthwaite Water most days, and if you are par­tic­u­larly lucky you will see them hunt and dive and catch fish. For some this can be next to their boat!

When the osprey has caught its fish, the drama begins. Red kites, ever present, will engage in dog fights to wrestle the fish from the osprey. Terrified, the other wild­fowl on the lake will panic and scream and head for cover. When over, the vic­tor takes its fishy prey home to its sit­ting part­ner and chicks.

Photographs of the osprey on Esthwaite Water hang in the Cafe on the Lake, and sight­ings by vis­it­ors are logged.

Ospreys Diving & Flying

Without you know­ing, the safari will take you past the otter holt. Nocturnal movie clips can be watched in the Cafe on the Lake. Otters were once com­mon in the area, but hunted to extinc­tion by the 1950’s they are only just gain­ing a toe hold, feed­ing on the abund­ant trout, roach, pike and perch which inhabit the waters.  The Nature Lodge on site has a col­lec­tion of fish bones recovered from the otter holt. They demon­strate the huge size of the fish they man­age to hunt down.

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At spring­time the Osprey Safari is a delight, as the nest­ing swans, geese, ducks, oyster catch­ers, great cres­ted grebes, coots and moorhens are all vis­ible.  The reed nest­ing birds less so. For the lucky ones the heron and the bit­tern are a delight.

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Should you arrive without bin­ocu­lars then we have them for hire, and wet weather gear is avail­able to buy at a nom­inal cost.

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After the safari there is the oppor­tun­ity to take cream tea or a more sub­stan­tial lunch in our Cafe on the Lake.

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