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
  • Veges & areas for wildlife
  • A safe 'dog run free' area
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 they can be safely let off the lead without any worries that they'll explore too far (or bother 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 frogs in the pond, and of course you'll hear owls at night.

So as you sit or stroll in the area, watch and listen for:

tits of all sorts including long tailed tits, robins, chaffinches, pied wagtails, blackbirds, sparrows, and wrens aplenty; yellowhammer, siskin, & goldfinch, thrush, redpoll; greater spotted woodpecker, nuthatch & tree creeper; swallows, house martins, swifts, gold crest, redstart, spotted flycatcher, willow warbler, garden warbler, stonechat, whinchat, reed bunting, yellow wagtail, grey wagtail, lark, meadow pipit, tree pipit, wheatear, curlew, snipe, woodcock, fieldfare, redwing, ring ouzel, red grouse, heron, buzzard, raven, crow, jay, starling, kestrel, peregrine, sparrowhawk, tawny owl, barn owl - and more... A merlin and a long eared owl were even sighted in the area during lockdown.(This photo of a yellowhammer was taken by Andrew Locking)
Resident or visiting mammals
Red squirrels are often seen in the Lorton valley and this little fellow (or female) is currently a regular visitor at the peanut feeders. This spring there is also a pair of stoats nesting beneath the wood store behind High Swinside Cottage who you might see fleetingly in the garden. And roe deer and hares are sometimes spotted on the nearby fell or in the field below the cottages...
Raised beds and wild areas
For two years I have tried to establish a wild flower area between the hot tub decking and my raised strawberry beds - without great success. The grass is just too strong and the hens ate alot of the seed! So my new plan is to remove the turf before trying a second time with native wild flower seed. This time I'll keep the hens out too!

Below the parking area is a little wildlife wilderness - a bit untidy at times, but then that's what wildlife like - and the hens of course!
And free range eggs available...
You might come across my hens anywhere on High Swinside grounds (except in 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 and clover to supplement their diet, and lay delicious eggs. Children are welcome to come and help me feed them and collect their eggs.