Garden, Hens & Wildlife
The garden at High Swinside is shared between the cottages yet offers plenty of private space to enjoy its wonderful panoramic views - from Melbreak in the south through 180 degrees to the distant mountains of Scotland. Deeply satisfying - so I hope you'll explore, make yourselves at home, and enjoy the space!
  • Idyllic views from a hillside setting
  • Benches & a picnic table for eating al fresco
  • A hammock for a snooze
  • Watch out for red squirrels & other wildlife
  • Lots of birds at the feeders
  • Free range eggs practically always available
  • An organic veg garden in the making!
  • A safe area for dogs
Stunning Views
I hope you will enjoy the garden at High Swinside. There are benches in secluded spots, a picnic table for eating al fresco, two hot tubs with views to die for, and even a hammock for a peaceful snooze somewhere beneath the trees.

Dogs are welcome at High Swinside and they have a safe enclosed area of the garden where you can spend time with them off the lead without worrying about them exploring too far (or bothering the hens if they're so inclined)! (Read more…)
Bird life at High Swinside
Many birds visit the feeders at High Swinside, alight on the walls and fences, or sing from the nearby bracken and heather. Buzzards and ravens soar over Swinside Fell, a heron comes regularly hoping to catch frog in the pond, and of course you'll hear owls at night.

So watch out for:
Tits, robins, chaffinches, thrushes, pied wagtails, blackbirds and wrens aplenty; yellowhammer, siskin, & goldfinch; woodpecker, nuthatch & tree creeper; gold crest, willow warbler, stone chat, reed bunting, yellow wagtail, grey wagtail, lark, meadow pippet, curlew, fieldfare, heron, buzzard, hen harrier, raven, kestrel - and more...! (This photo was taken by Andrew Locking)
Resident or visiting mammals
Red squirrels abound in the Lorton valley and visit High Swinside for pine cones, and nuts at the feeders. There's currently a hedgehog living beneath the wood store behind High Swinside Cottage who you might see at twilight. And red deer are sometimes spotted in the field below the cottages...

Stoats have taken up residence in the wild flower mound and you might see them - fleetingly - about the place. There's a pretty russet bank vole living near the Brewhouse. And a young rabbit who was first seen hiding near the hot tub has thankfully not yet discovered my curly kale!

A place for a veg garden?
Speaking of curly kale... Below the main garden wall there has always been a somewhat lower and relatively unused area of lawn with a solitary wrought iron gate at the centre – which you will recognise if you’ve stayed here before! I’m not sure what its history was, but I'm currently turning this area into an organic vegetable garden with raised beds...
And free range eggs available...
My hens also love this lower garden, but might be found anywhere on High Swinside grounds (except the Dog Run Free area). They love their free range existance and complain if I have to shut them in their hen run for a day! They clear the garden of slugs and bugs, seek out dandilion leaves to supplement their diet, and lay delicious eggs. Children are welcome to come and help me feed them and collect their eggs.