Enjoy intimate views and excellent photography opportunities of Badgers, from the comfort of our Badger Hide.
As the sun sets over Haweswater, our woodland residents emerge for their nightly foraging escapades. Our comfortable, custom-built RSPB hide at Naddle Farm offers the unique opportunity to observe and photograph these secretive mammals in the Lake District National Park, at close range.
With lights covering the viewing area, you can continue watching and photographing the badgers well after sunset. Our Badger Hide offers an excellent experience for wildlife photographers, families, couples and individuals keen to have a real, wild night out!
You will have the hide exclusively to yourself or your group (up to six people or two photographers) for the whole evening. Seating is provided and the hide is entirely enclosed making for a comfortable (midge-free) Badger-watching experience. As the hide is situated next to the car park too, it is suitable for those unable to walk long distances.
Upon arrival you will be shown the toilet facilities and given an introduction to the hide and the Badgers. You will then have the hide exclusively to yourself/your group for the evening to spend with our brocks.
This hide is located along the foraging route of the Badgers, not on a Badger sett, so is a place where Badgers regularly come out to feed of an evening. PLEASE NOTE that the times stated are not indicative of Badger activity. Within the week of your selected date, you will be contacted by a member our team to tell you when the most appropriate arrival time will be according to recent badger activity, as well as with further details of your visit.
(Badger images taken at the Haweswater hide by visitor Alison Bamber)
1) Who do I contact with any questions?
🦡 Please contact our team on the phone number or email listed above, if you have any queries, and we will be happy to help.
2) What is the difference between a booking of £132 and £105?
🦡 £132 is the full non-member price. As a thank you for regularly donating to our nature conservation work, RSPB members receive a 20% discount on RSPB events, so have a lower price of £105. The prices are for exclusive use so up to 6 people (2 photographers) can attend on one booking. If you are not an RSPB member and would like to join, we would be happy to sign you up on your visit. 75p is added to each booking as a booking fee, for the third party booking system used by the RSPB.
3) Why can't I book the hide on a Sunday or Monday?
🦡 The hide is available Tuesday-Saturday due to staffing the bookings system. We increased the number of days the hide is available in 2023 from two nights a week to five nights a week, to enable more people to share this magical nature encounter, but we are a small team at Haweswater, so unfortunately can't offer the hide seven days a week at the moment.
4) Why is the hide only available to book April-October?
🦡 Badgers don’t hibernate, but they can go into a period of winter rest (known as ‘torpor’) during very cold or snowy periods. At these times, they rely on a layer of fat under their skin that they build up in autumn to help them through the winter when food sources are scarce. They also spend more of their time underground. Badger activity is therefore far less reliable at this time of year which is why we only take bookings April-October here at Haweswater. During the Badger hide open season, we vary the arrival time for bookings, to allow for sunset at different times and to coincide with Badger activity.
5) What facilities are there at the hide?
🦡 We have a toilet block located in the car park when you arrive and it has two steps up to it. There are no facilities to make a hot drink, but you are welcome to bring drinks and snacks (in non-rustling packets so as not to scare off the badgers) to enjoy during your night with the Haweswater Badgers. A camera or phone is useful if you want to take pictures or videos. We have blankets in case you get cooler after sunset. We recommend bringing warm layers as it can get chilly after dark.
6) When will the Badgers come out and how many will there be?
🦡 As wild animals, we can’t say exactly when the badgers will appear as it varies each evening, depending on factors like daylight and weather. However, we are confident they will appear at some point during the evening. During the Badger hide open season, we vary the arrival time for bookings, to allow for sunset at different times and to coincide with Badger activity. Badgers aren’t put off by wet weather, so there is no need to re-schedule your booking if it is raining.
🦡 We usually get 1-4 Badgers coming to the hide each evening, but there have been occasions where up to 8 have been out at once!
7) Can I take photos?
🦡 You are very welcome to take photos. The Badgers can come within a metre of the hide at times, so bring camera equipment that works at close range as well as a bit further away. A mobile phone works well for casual photos and videos too. The hide has been built to be ground level, offering you the greatest opportunity to photograph Badgers at eye-level. The windows are maintained to afford you a clear view out to watch and photograph Badgers this way without obstruction. There is also a camera port which we recommend opening as soon as you arrive to avoid opening it when the Badgers turn up and startling them away. If you’re a photographer, we recommend that you bring a tripod with you.
Please don’t take flash photos. We have automatic lights on a timer so they come on whilst it is still light, to avoid startling the Badgers. These will light up the area in front of the hide after dark so you can continue to view and photograph the Badgers. The Badgers are generally comfortable with camera-shutter sounds, however we recommend waiting, letting them settle and start foraging, before taking photos. Always remember the Nature Photographers Code that the welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph. The Badgers will flip over the rocks and logs in front of the hide which makes excellent opportunities for photographing them. If you are not a photographer, then a mobile phone camera is ideal for capturing the Haweswater badgers.
8) Can I feed the Badgers?
🦡 Please do not feed the Badgers, human food isn’t good for them and we don’t want them to associate feeding with humans. We put out RSPB peanuts in front of the hide – enough so that they stay in view for you longer, but not so much that they become the main food source, as we want the Badgers to forage naturally. The peanuts are placed under the rocks and logs in front of the hide, to prevent rats getting to them, but you may see the odd rat having a sniff and a look. The Badgers are very strong so will flip over the rocks and logs which makes excellent viewing. RSPB peanuts are high in fat and protein, have been grown on environmentally friendly farms and have been rigorously quality checked for aflatoxins which are a harmful fungus found in some agricultural crops such as maize and ground nuts, so we ensure that we're providing excellent quality food to the Badgers.
9) Can the Badgers see/hear me?
🦡 The Badgers can see and hear you in the hide. They are generally comfortable with your presence but be mindful of keeping quiet whilst they are out, so as not to startle them away.
10) What if I need to re-schedule or cancel?
🦡 Full details of the RSPB’s events refund policy can be found here. Please contact our team on 01931 713376 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other queries, and we will be happy to help.
11) Where can I eat and drink locally?
🦡 You won’t go hungry when visiting Haweswater, with plenty of nearby places to eat and drink. The closest are the 4* Haweswater Hotel, our local community pub the Mardale Inn at Bampton and Bampton Community Shop, all just 5 minutes drive away. There is also the Queen’s Head and the Punchbowl Inn at Askham, both 15 minutes drive away as well as the Askham village shop with a selection of hot drinks, pies, sandwiches and cakes. There is a café at Lowther Castle, 20 minutes drive away and a number of options in Shap, also 20 minutes drive away, including The Greyhound pub, a chip shop and The Abbey Kitchen café.
12) Where can I stay locally?
🦡 There’s lots of lovely options for places to stay nearby. Our local community pub, The Mardale Inn at Bampton,is 5 minutes drive away and offers newly refurbished rooms at a discounted overnight rate to Wild Haweswater visitors, available using the code “WildHawes23YTS.” The 4* Haweswater Hotel is just 5 minutes drive away overlooking the reservoir and the Queen’s Head and the Punchbowl Inn, both at Askham are 15 minutes drive away. There are a number of bed and breakfasts, holiday cottages and pubs with rooms 20 minutes away in Shap such as New Ing Lodge and the Greyhound pub. Campsites include Setterah Park Farm, New Ing Lodge and Aragon Camping. Further afield in the Lake District, you can find lots more options here.
🦡 The Badger Hide is located a short distance of around 5 metres from the car park.
🦡 Our toilets are located in the car park. There is single step access to one toilet and two steps to access the other.
🦡 Automatic lights come on in the car park, outside the toilet block and inside the toilets.
🦡 The car park floor is concrete.
🦡 The Badger Hide floor is wood.
🦡 The Badger Hide contains six seats.
🦡 Unfortunately public transport to Haweswater is unavailable, but we do have bike racks.
🦡 If you have any further questions about the accessibility of the hide, please contact our team on the phone number or email above and we will be happy to help.
We put out RSPB peanuts under rocks and logs in front of the Badger Hide. They are stored in a metal bin with a metal lid in the entrance to the hide and brought through the hide in order to put them out for the Badgers. If you have any further questions about this, please contact us on the above phone number or email and we will be happy to help.