Lake District breeding wader project

The ‘State of the Park’ report published by the Lake District National Park Authority in 2006 lists breeding (valley bottom) wading birds as one of the key 'indicators for change'.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, amongst grass


To enable us to quantify these 'indicators for change' and take steps to address declines in species number and range, a pro-active approach was required. Establishing where key populations still remain will help us target agri-environment spend more effectively.
Using the best available data, we mapped where the pockets of breeding wading birds still remain within the LDNP, which we targeted through farm conservation advice, to maintain/increase breeding wader populations. Reversing the declines of these remnant populations is the focus for this project.
Two target areas were the main focus for this exciting project, all within the LDNP. These are the Kirkby Pool area in the Duddon valley (south west corner of Cumbria) and Wet Sleddale near Shap (eastern part of the LDNP).


In partnership, we quantified the current population status of breeding waders in the LDNP (to define the 'distribution and abundance of breeding waders, as a measure of the health of the wildlife of the National Park') and sought to bring about positive management changes through targeted advisory work in remaining breeding wader hotspots on in-bye and intake land.

Planned Work

A part-time project officer, Catriona Glendinning, worked with local landowners and farmers in the target areas, advising them on management of wet grassland and managing habitat for breeding waders.
Working with local farmers and landowners we aimed to increase the area of wetland habitat in favourable condition, within the Lake District National Park where breeding wading bird populations still occur, in order for these populations to increase. There were close links to the RSPB Cumbria Wetlands Project, which operates mostly outside the National Park boundary, so a joined-up approach could be taken to create a landscape-scale approach.
Starting in 2009, we monitored wetland bird populations on sites using volunteers to establish a 'before and after' scenario, to assess effectiveness of land management changes on individual farms.


See project report which can be downloaded from this page.


  • The RSPB worked in partnership with the Lake District National Park and Natural England with support from the Environment Agency.
  • The project was a Cumbria Biodiversity Partnership delivery project.


Coast on a stormy day

Graham Jones

Community Engagement Officer, RSPB
Tagged with: Country: England Habitat: Farmland Habitat: Grassland Habitat: Upland Species: Lapwing Species: Yellow wagtail Project status: Project types: Advocacy