Spring Wildlife of the Southern Lake District
Delight in the spring birds, butterflies and flowers of the Lake District
Code: CNWWSPrint page
We'll visit woodlands, estuary and coast looking for birds, butterflies and flowers. We hope to see nesting osprey and sandwich terns and hear the songs of warblers and stonechats. Walk through woodlands and saltmarshes and look out for bluebells and primrose, grey seals and courting eider ducks, as well as butterflies such as green hairstreak. We'll walk up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day. Suitable for any level of experience, with no prior knowledge required.
- Leisurely walks with regular stops to watch wildlife
- Our expert leader will guide you around the best sites
- Share enthusiasm and improve your wildlife ID skills
- Flexible itineraries will take into account prevailing weather conditions and any reported sightings
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or other mode of transport, e.g. boat
- Entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary
As an historic National Trust property, Monk Coniston is full of romantic, gothic-style charm. With the attractive Lake District setting, it's well suited to a relaxing holiday. Whether it's a walking or activity break you're after, this is a wonderful part of the country to explore your way.
Monk Coniston has 33 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the adjoining cottage and counting house.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the age and the layout of Monk Coniston, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility. There are ground floor en-suite bedrooms in the Counting House, but this building is access via steps.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better & best rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.
On our Natural World holidays we spend most of the day outdoors, exploring by mini-coach or on foot, walking up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day, with plenty of stops to enjoy the birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
RSPB Hodbarrow & Eskmeals Dunes
We start our holiday visiting the southwest coast of Cumbria taking in RSPB Hodbarrow where we take a walk around Cumbria’s largest coastal lagoon on the lookout for Sandwich and Common terns as well as returned migrants such as Wheatear and Sedge Warbler, and in the afternoon, Eskmeals Dunes. With flowers on the dune grassland, insects and butterflies attracted to the saltmarsh and waders feeding on the estuary, we hope to see a good selection of species.
Woodlands, spring flowers and osprey
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll walk around Brown Robin, a typical limestone woodland with displays of spring flowers such as Bluebell and Primrose with views out over the Kent estuary. We will then move on to Foulshaw Moss where we will be on the lookout for Green hairstreak butterflies, Tree pipits and Stonechats displaying over the bog, and the Osprey returned from Africa.
South Walney & Foulney Island
Back on the coast today, South Walney is home to the only Grey seal colony in Cumbria. We will also look out for returned migrants such as Willowwarbler and follow gulls around the bay. Foulney Island is formed entirely of pebbles and spring is an exciting time with courting Eider ducks and three species of terns starting to arrive back - Arctic, Common and Little tern all breed here.
Today, we’ll be taking a walk to Tarn Hows. Along this short walk, we may see a variety of woodland birds, wildflowers and maybe a common lizard. This will be a leisurely day to round off our holiday!
Depart after a leisurely breakfast.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- A telescope (if you have one) and binoculars (essential)
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guide (optional) - The New Mitchell Beazley Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide
Discover the Lake District
Monk Coniston is an imposing Gothic property leased from the National Trust and set in 8 acres of grounds, including a restored walled garden and the impressive arboretum. Some particularly impressive specimens, including a giant sequoia (the largest tree in the world) and the wollemi pine can be explored on the Monk Coniston Tree Trail.
Views from the property offer breathtaking glimpses of Coniston Water and the surrounding mountains.
Coniston village is about one mile away – there is a direct path from the house to the village. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a Barclays Bank (open 3 times a week). A wider range of facilities is available in Ambleside, the nearest town, about 8 miles away. The Ruskin Museum is also well worth a visit - find out more about the lake's connections to Donald Campbell and Arthur Ramsome. www.ruskinmuseum.com
During your visit to Monk Coniston you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Steam Yacht Gondola
First cruising Coniston Water 150 years ago, the restored gondola is now operated by the National Trust, stopping at the Monk Coniston jetty at the bottom of the meadow below the house before gliding across the lake, calling at Coniston village and Brantwood House. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Ride ‘L’al Ratty’ a highly scenic narrow gauge railway which runs from the coast at Ravenglass along beautiful Eskdale. You could combine a visit with a walk over Muncaster Fell, or to Stanley Gill waterfall. www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Blackwell is a stunning house, completed in 1901 in the Arts & Crafts style. Admire the remarkably preserved interiors, and soak up the beautiful views over Lake Windermere and the Coniston fells
Just a couple of miles from Monk Coniston, John Ruskin's former home commands superb views over the lake. www.brantwood.org.uk
A short walk from the Country House, this man-made water was created by Monk Coniston’s resident owner, James Garth Marshall in 1865, as he continued to develop the estate and expand his pleasure grounds. He built a dam to flood the area, amalgamating several smaller tarns, before planting the shores and islands with new woodlands and specimen trees.
Nearby Grizedale Forest is ideal for mountain biking and also has a popular sculpture trail. You can also experience the Go Ape! high-ropes course – a great option for active teenagers. www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and topiary displays. www.levenshall.co.uk
Grasmere is about 30 minutes’ drive from Monk Coniston and is famous for its connections with William Wordsworth. The poet’s homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount can be visited, the former of which includes the Wordsworth Museum. www.wordsworth.org.uk
Take a cruise along the length of Windermere - England's largest lake. Ferries connect Ambleside in the north to Bowness and Lakeside in the south, where you can connect with the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk, www.lakesiderailway.co.uk
Gondola image ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris
Travel to Conistonwater
Our address is: Monk Coniston, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AQ
The nearest train station is at Windermere. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The 13 mile journey from Windermere railway station takes approximately 30 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £25. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Monk Coniston Manager.
From Windermere station you can catch the 505 bus direct to Monk Coniston - the bus stop is right outside our Country House. Journey time is around 50 minutes. For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Ambleside take the A593 signposted to Coniston. Turn sharp left over a narrow bridge, then after half a mile turn left onto the B5286, signposted to Hawkshead. About 3 miles along this road, and just before Hawkshead, turn right onto the B5285, signposted to Coniston. Follow this road over Hawkshead Hill. The road descends then goes around a 180° bend to the left. The entrance to Monk Coniston is on the left about 100yds after the bend. There is car parking available within the grounds.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Oxenholme, change here for Windermere- this is straightforward journey - allow 1½ hours to Oxenholme. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
You can take a taxi from Oxenholme station to Monk Coniston or you may prefer to change trains and continue your journey to Windermere. Please pre book your taxi from Oxenholme as there may not be taxis available at the station.
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4 hours to reach Oxenholme. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Oxenholme takes 2½ hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Pete’s enthusiasm for the Natural World and working on wildlife volunteering projects led him to become a Countryside Ranger, close to the Peak District National Park. He is responsible for a local nature reserve, important for a range of different species and is experienced in managing habitats for wildlife. Pete enjoys sharing his experiences and knowledge with people from all backgrounds.
Pete was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We were able to go at a reasonable pace but still have plenty of time to view sightings and to make it a relaxing holiday.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person