BirdForum (
-   Cumbria (
-   -   Old Keswick Railway Line Nature Walk (

HelenB Monday 3rd March 2003 03:53

Old Keswick Railway Line Nature Walk
This is another favourite birding walk that I like to do when I visit the UK to see my family in Cumbria. This write up was done for a trip in June/July 2000.

Old Keswick Railway Line Nature Walk

This 2.5 mile walk runs from near Threkeld to the old railway station in Keswick and can be accessed from either end. There is better parking in Keswick - follow signs for the Leisure Centre, which is next to the station. We actually started at the Threlkeld end, by first leaving a second vehicle at the station in Keswick. We took the A66 Penrith to Keswick road and turning south on to a minor road at the sign for the Youth Centre and Castlerigg Stone Circle. Just over the bridge you will see Newbridge Cottage on the left. Park by the access gate to the walk, opposite the cottage.

The route of the old railway crosses the River Greta several times and is lined mostly by mixed woodland. We were there on a rather cold, drizzly day, but managed to see 22 species of the usual woodland birds, but unfortunately not the dippers this time - we had seen 3 in the river on a previous trip in Oct 99. What we did see on the river was a common sandpiper and grey wagtail, working over the stones, along with the ubiquitous mallards. The trees were full of long-tailed, blue, great and coal tits, blackbirds, chaffinches, robins, goldcrests, wrens, wood pigeons and the occasional goldfinch and treecreeper. We were very pleased to see 4 song thrushes, especially an adult feeding 2 fledglings at the Keswick end of the walk. This species has suffered a serious decline in recent years in Britain, and on our trip in the summer of 98, we only saw one thrush in the whole 3 week period.

Walking through the outskirts of Keswick, we saw several jackdaws and the usual town residents - house sparrows and starlings.

After completing the walk, we retreated to Abraham's Tearoom on the upper floor of George Fisher's outdoor pursuits shop, for a very welcome lunch, and then finished off the day with a look at Derwentwater. On the shoreline in the pouring rain, we found pied wagtail, about 60 greylag geese and 2 Canada geese.

22 species for the day

Added on 9th March, 04
We did this walk again in Sept. 03, so I thought I'd add on another location for the Dippers. In the first paragraph, I mentioned Newbridge Cottage, where we parked at the beginning of the walk. On the same side of the road as the cottage (ie: across from the gate into the Railway Walk), there is a footpath across a field to a stream, where we had spotted some ducks. On investigation they turned out to be Goosanders, but around the bend in the stream we found 2 Dippers. I was quite surprised, as I had thought they preferred rivers and streams with faster, rushing water, like the Greta River.

A few days later we found Dippers again in a similar quiet stream at the National Trust's Acorn Bank, just off the A66 between Penrith and Appleby.

IanF Monday 3rd March 2003 05:20

Thankyou for posting this Helen. I know exactly the area you mean, but have never walked it myself. It will make an ideal excursion for us the next time we stay in Keswick.

jayhunter Monday 3rd March 2003 05:24

Thanks Helen,
One of my wants is to see a Goldcrest, I have sat for hours above the conifer plantation above the stag hounds quarters in Threlkeld and not seen one. Staying in Keswick next month, and have been meaning to walk the old railway walk for years, will try it and hope for success with my Goldcrest search.

HelenB Tuesday 9th March 2004 20:07

This thread of mine had also disappeared from the Cumbria section unless you went into the sort section below the list of threads and asked it to sort from the beginning and not just the last year! Hopefully by adding this reply to the thread, it should be viewable again with the forums default settings.

nigelwright7557 Sunday 2nd May 2004 11:01

Old Keswick railway walk.
This is a lovely walk and I would thoroughly recommend it.
I spotted a Kingfisher on the walk at the Threlkeld end a year or so back.

I believe they want to reinstate the railway but that the footpath would be diverted.
There are many pictures of the walk at

HelenB Monday 3rd May 2004 04:01


Originally Posted by nigelwright7557
This is a lovely walk and I would thoroughly recommend it.
I spotted a Kingfisher on the walk at the Threlkeld end a year or so back.

I believe they want to reinstate the railway but that the footpath would be diverted.
There are many pictures of the walk at

Welcome to BirdForum, Nigel - glad you found us.

Penrith is my home town, though I only get to visit once a year these days, when I go to see my parents. My husband is a railway enthusiast, so we're always interested in the rumours about reinstating the Keswick line. It's a pity they didn't think of its possible popularity as a tourist attraction all those years ago when it was first closed.

Still haven't got a Kingfisher in the UK, but did get our life Dippers on the Greta.

All times are GMT. The time now is 16:23.

Powered by vBulletin®, copyright ©2000 - 2018 vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
BirdForum Ltd 2002 - 2018