The Wildlife of Racy Ghyll Farm

Discover nature friendly farming in the Matterdale Valley

Discover nature friendly farming in the Matterdale Valley

Nestled in the Lakeland valley of Matterdale, Racy Ghyll Farm and the Rebanks Family have gained admiration and respect for their Herdwick Sheep. Most recently, James Rebanks has shared his 600 year family passion and history of living and shepherding in this valley in his internationally acclaimed books, including “The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District”.

James Rebanks is not only a dedicated shepherd, he is a bold advocate and practitioner in farming with Nature, and has spearheaded collaborations with conservationists, farmers, landowners and government bodies to find progressive solutions to long-discussed landscape-scale issues, initiating fast practical action for nature, heritage and communities.

We are delighted to offer this new Expedition, The Wildlife of Racy Ghyll, to explore and record the species supported by the dedicated work of the Rebanks Family and the Ullswater Catchment Management CIC. From wildflower rich meadows buzzing with invertebrates, thriving from the absence of pesticides, to nesting Curlews and expansive tree planting.

Matterdale as a community have now joined forces, under the Ullswater Catchment Management Community Interest Company (CIC), to work in a landscape scale partnership; involving habitat creation and restoration projects, from natural flood management to planting trees.

This full day expedition will be an insight into how the small but thriving community of Matterdale are boldly conserving their natural and cultural heritage together. You will have the opportunity to discover the wildlife of the valley through a series of workshops, presentations and discussions at Racy Ghyll Farm, as well as enjoying time to relax over a delicious home-cooked evening meal by Helen Rebanks.

A percentage of profits from this expedition will be donated to the Ullswater Catchment Management CIC, an innovative project established and managed by the Matterdale farming community to conserve and restore nature in the landscape.

Please not that James Rebanks is committed to other work during this Mini Exped and will therefore not be present. Take a look at the “Overview” tab opposite for more information.

  • Enjoy the beautiful Matterdale valley, part of the Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover the traditional farming history of Racy Ghyll, and its current conservation work
  • Learn how to set and install camera traps for a variety of species, whilst contributing to the monitoring and conservation of the valley’s wildlife
  • Immerse yourself in the species-rich grasslands, with Rob from Wild Lakeland
  • Enjoy a home cooked evening meal, prepared by Helen Rebanks.
  • Search for crepuscular wildlife on a sunset walk
  • Survey Bats using specialist acoustic and visual equipment
  • Discover other creatures of the night on moth trapping sessions – prepare to be amazed!
  • Develop and enhance your ecological skills, and understanding with short presentations and outdoor workshops.


  • Under 18’s must be accompanied by a paying adult.
  • Please note that booking is essential and spaces are limited, so grab yours quick!
  • Please note that James Rebanks is committed to other work during this expedition and will therefore not be present.

£85 per person

Under 18’s must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Location & Dates

Racy Ghyll Farm, Matterdale

  • Saturday 25th May
    11.30am – 10.30pm
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Proudly partnered with

The Rebanks Family, Ullswater Catchment Management CIC & Wild Lakeland

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The Adventure

The Matterdale valley is comprised of a mosaic of habitats, with incredible potential to support a diversity of wildlife which the Ullswater Catchment Management CIC are supporting through a landscape-scale conservation project. On this Expedition you will discover an abundance of wildflower species, an array of bird life, a diversity of moths, bats and crepuscular wildlife, as well as meeting the stars of Racy Ghyll; the Herdwick flock.


Racy Ghyll Farm, Matterdale

Accommodation Tips

Accommodation is not provided on Mini Expeds. However there are a number of accommodation providers in the Ullswater area, and it's only a short drive from Penrith or Keswick.

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