VISIT WILD HAWESWATER

Wild Haweswater is a partnership between the RSPB and United Utilities, working together in this stunning landscape to benefit wildlife, water and people. Set within the eastern Lake District National Park, this site features 30 square km of woodland, moorland, farmland, river and meadow, cocooned in the mountainous landscape surrounding Haweswater Reservoir.

Please read the tabs below to make the most of your visit to Wild Haweswater.

This is the RSPB site office address only.

Parking at Naddle Farm is only for pre-booked hides and visits. See the visitor parking information below for where to go on general visits. 

The RSPB at Haweswater,
Naddle Farm,
Bampton,
Penrith,
Cumbria
CA10 2RP

Plan your visit

🥾 Haweswater is wild and wonderful, best explored with sturdy boots, a backpack and a map!

🗺 All the public rights of way across the site are marked on OS maps (OL5)

🚗 For visitor parking, please see the tab below. 

Haweswater does not have RSPB trails, a visitor centre, public toilets, public hides or a café – we recommend you bring an Ordnance Survey map, picnic and a raincoat to enjoy exploring the beautiful fells here. Please also bear in mind that the upland landscape is incredibly steep and rugged, with very uneven terrain, so the paths can be demanding on your physical fitness. 

🌦 Prepare for your visit to Haweswater by checking the weather forecast before heading into the hills and please be aware that phone signal is absent throughout most of the site.

🎒 We recommend packing the following items to enjoy a day on the fells: lunch and snacks, water bottle, hot flask, OS map (OL5 for this area), waterproofs, drybags, hat, gloves, scarf, tissues, small first aid kit, small torch and a sense of adventure! It is also a good idea to bring a different pair of shoes and socks to change into when you arrive back to your car as the weather can get wild here in the Lake District, even in the summer months.

🛖 Our RSPB office for Haweswater at Naddle Farm does not have public parking other than for pre-booked hides and visits and we don’t have a visitor centre here.

📧📞We are happy to offer advice on visiting Haweswater, by email or phone and invite you to get in touch using the details at the bottom of this page if you have questions about your visit.

🦡 Whether run by the RSPB, or our partners, we have pre-booked wildlife hides and a variety of unique events and experiences available, which can be found in the ‘Events and Experiences’ tab above. 

Located at the southern end of Haweswater Reservoir, Mardale Head is where you’ll find the main visitor car park for the site. It can be reached by slowly driving along the winding road along the edge of the reservoir, enjoying spectacular scenery as you go.

You can find the What3Words location for this car park here: weary.intrigued.published.  Grid reference: NY46951073

From here you can follow public rights of way (marked on OS maps OL5) into the fells:

  • If you’re into climbing Wainwrights, from the car park you can head up Selside Pike, Branstree, Harter Fell, Mardale III Bell, High Street, Kidsty Pike and more.
  • Hike up to Blea Water – the deepest tarn in the Lake District.
  • Walk in the footsteps of people of the past on Gatesgarth Pass.
  • Take the Old Corpse Road from Mardale Valley into Swindale Valley where we’ve re-wiggled Swindale Beck.
  • From the car park, the second exclosure you come to is Mardale Mountain Meadow. Follow the arrows to discover the alpine plant communities we’ve been restoring here.

Mardale Head car park is open at all times

A donation cairn, to support the RSPB’s work at Haweswater, is situated in the car park. We suggest a donation of £2, but any amount large or small is gratefully received. Please note that only cash donations can be made in the cairn as the lack of mobile phone reception means we are unable to take card payments. However, if you wish to send an online donation to support our work, you can do so here.

There is also a Mountain Rescue cairn in the car park, we kindly encourage you to support their life-saving work if you feel able to.

Haweswater’s trails can be accessed at all times throughout the year and the main visitor car park at Mardale Head does not have opening hour restrictions.

The RSPB site office at Haweswater is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, so any visitor enquiries made will be answered within these hours. There is no visitor parking here, other than on pre-booked hides, visits and experiences. 

We welcome group visits to Haweswater and love to share our work with anyone who is interested in discovering more.

Our Open Days through the year are for any individual or group interested in learning about our work in a professional or practical sense, to book onto. There is a maximum of 20 spaces to ensure that attendees can get the most from their visit and due to our limited parking. If you have a party bigger than 20, please get in touch to discuss options. 

We ask for a suggested donation to contribute to our work here. This is payable beforehand via this online link or on the day by card only.

  • £10  per person (community donation)
  • £15 per person (corporate donation)

Please note, these Open Days aren’t suitable for children or dogs. 

Our Open Day dates for 2024 are as follows: 

  • Thursday 25 January (full)
  • Tuesday 13 February (full) 
  • Wednesday 20 March (13 spaces remaining)
  • Thursday 11 April (full) 
  • Tuesday 21 May (full) 
  • Wednesday 19 June (17 spaces remaining) 
  • Tuesday 2 July (full) 
  • Tuesday 13 August (19 spaces remaining) 
  • Wednesday 18 September (full) 
  • Thursday 24 October (20 spaces remaining) 
  • Tuesday 19 November (20 spaces remaining) 
  • Wednesday 4 December (20 spaces remaining) 

All visits are 10am-1pm and include a warm welcome, introductory video and talk and hot drinks at our office at Naddle Farm, followed by a look into our tree and plant nursery and discussion on our eco-tourism offer. We then head round to visit Swindale Valley to explore our river restoration work and farming operation. This is guided by experts from our team. Afterwards we can give directions on other parts of the site to visit in the afternoon, with ideas on the best places to go depending on the season, if you want to explore further, self-guided. 

To book your place or find out more about arranging group visits to Haweswater, please contact us [email protected] and a member of our team will be pleased to discuss this with you.

Please note, we don’t have coach parking and the local roads are unsuitable for large coaches. 

Tree Nursery Visits
If you have your own tree nursery or are looking to start one up and would like to visit ours to learn more about our story, then please contact us via email. All nursery visits are an hour and have a maximum of 10 places. We also ask for a suggested donation of £10 per head to contribute to our nursery work. 

At Wild Haweswater, we’re demonstrating that nature restoration and farming can thrive together. Much of our work is hidden within the landscape, where we’re restoring natural processes to benefit wildlife, water and people; for example by restoring peat bogs, rewiggling Swindale Beck, and replanting lost trees.

Within these restored habitats wildlife is returning, such as nesting birds on rougher ground, Red Squirrels in the trees, scarce alpine flowers on the crags and Peregrines in the skies.

Alongside these beautiful, restored habitats we manage livestock including sheep, cattle and Fell ponies, which move through the landscape regularly to allow plantlife to return.

Please do consider these special habitats, species and our livestock when visiting Haweswater:

  • Stay on public rights of way.
  • Keep dogs on leads during the bird nesting season, around birds that are resting on the ground, and around livestock. We have sheep, cattle and ponies on-site.
  • Remember to close gates.

Discover how to explore our wild spaces responsibly with the Countryside Code.

There is plenty to do in our serene corner of the Lake District National Park, why not stay for longer? There are many excellent food, drink and accommodation providers in the local area.

Food and drink
You won’t go hungry when visiting Haweswater, with plenty of nearby places to eat and drink.

Within 10 minutes drive:

Within 15-20 minutes drive:

Places to stay  
There’s lots of lovely options for places to stay nearby.

Travel to us

Walk or bike

There are lots of beautiful walking and biking routes which take you to Haweswater, and what better way to gain a real sense of place than by discovering it on your own two feet or wheels? Get in touch with us to find out which walking routes are available in our area. Otherwise, the following transport options are detailed below.

Train

The closest station is Penrith, which is 14 miles/22.5 km from Haweswater.

Bus

Sadly there are no bus routes to Haweswater.

Car

Please refer to the visitor parking tab above for information on visiting Haweswater by car.

Visitor & General Enquiries

E [email protected]
T 01931 713376

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