I was going through another lot of photographs today taken by Pui when we were out together in the summer. It occurred to me that some creatures living in Cumbria and the Lake District are so common that they seem to have become invisible to the human eye. We pass by them, yet we do not see them; so I want to share some photos of creatures commonly seen in the Lake District with you today.

Herdwick Sheep are ‘the irreplaceable ‘wild’ sheep’ of the Lakes. Visit Cumbria calls them ‘the gardeners of the Lakes District. . . . “A lot of people, particularly visitors, think the Lake District is natural. It isn’t. It is a managed environment and the management is done by these sheep,”‘ says Keith Twentyman of the NFU.

A Herdwick sheep poses for the camera at Tarn Hows one Summer evening.

Three characteristics of Lakeland’s native sheep stand out:

  • they have been bred for hundreds of years to be “territorial”. It’s what farmers call “heafed” to the fell. This means they can be safely left on unfenced terrain and will not wander off their traditional patch. Ewes teach this behaviour to their lambs.
  • they are bred to be tough enough to withstand appalling weather, allowing the felltops to be farmed at all.
  • they are in balance with the environment, grazing heather and grass evenly, and keeping bracken and scrub under control. This keeps the world-famous “Lake District look” to the scenery.


Another creature, this time of the water, that we pass by without thought, is the humble mallard, the most common species resident in the Lakes. ‘Over a thousand ducks, geese and swans live on Windermere throughout the year. This more than doubles to over two and half thousand birds during the winter!’

A mallard enjoying a paddle on Windermere under the setting rays of the evening sun.

Many birds fly from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe to spend the winter. Windermere has more birds on it in the winter than any other lake in the Lake District. It’s one of the top places in Britain for wintering goldeneye, tufted duck, coot, pochard and red-breasted merganser.


Finally, I wish to share a photo with you which I find both surreally beautiful and representative of the farmed and natural environments of Cumbria as a whole, not just in the Lakes.

Cows graze on the Limestone Terraces in Kirkby Stephen, formerly in the old county of Westmorland, now Cumbria. I love the sweep and colours of this composition. (Photo courtesy of www.cumbriaphoto.co.uk.)

Come and stay with us at Blenheim Lodge and enjoy these picturesque picture postcard scenes for yourself. We are very centrally located in the South Central Lakes for jaunts in and around Cumbria, and also further out into Lancashire, North Yorkshire, and the Scottish Borders. With respect to the photos displayed in this post, Lake Windermere is a mere 5-7 minutes walk from our bed and breakfast guest house in Bowness-on-Windermere. Tarn Hows is a 20-25 minutes drive from us, and Kirkby Stephen is 35-40 minutes distant.

‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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