Fat Lamb Nature Reserve

Crossbank Nature Reserve

Crossbank Nature Reserve at the back of the inn is a unique Hotel amenity giving wildlife lovers the chance to indulge in a spot of bird watching, wildlife photography or just the quiet contemplation of nature. Begun as a simple hobby at the end of the eighties, and now over twenty years on, we have created a well established wildlife haven for a great variety of plants and animals. 

Fat Lamb Nature Reserve

Over eighty species of bird have been identified so far within or around the nature reserve. Permanent residents include a good variety of the more common waterfowl - plus occasional sightings of gadwall, shoveler, goosander and even the occasional pintail. Over the water you might glimpse the electric blue flash of the kingfisher, or of you are very lucky a perching bird, intently watching the water below. Snipe may be heard and, with patience, seen at the reeds edges as can the heron, whilst other more visually obliging waders include lapwing, redshank, oystercatcher, common sandpiper and curlew. In the trees and shrubs you will see and hear sedge and willow warbler, reed bunting, redpoll, siskin, spotted flycatchers, redstarts and many more common finches, chats and thrushes.

Fat Lamb Nature Reserve

Land and water based animals in and around the reserve have included common frogs, toads and newts, roe deer, stoats, foxes and badgers. But by far and away our most exclusive, and most elusive, visitor has to be the otter, seen by just a fortunate few during these latter years. My only sighting was of two otters at five thirty one misty summers morning - so you'll have to rise early if you are going to be one of the lucky ones.

Fat Lamb Nature Reserve

Crossbank Nature Reserve is situated to the rear of the Fat Lamb Hotel and is open to the general public. There is an area of land with open access and a purpose built hide giving a good overall view of the site, plus footpaths leading down to viewing points within the reserve itself. All are welcome to come and enjoy a glimpse of nature in this beautiful setting; there is no charge made nor any obligation to partake of the hotel facilities, although of course food and drink is available throughout the day should you require refreshment, and we would be very happy to cater for you.

If you see anything particularly interesting, please consider registering the sighting and any photos you manage to take on Wildzone - Cumbria's wildlife spotter forum.

Nature Reserve 

Special offers 

Spring Special Stay in a Country Inn 

Summer Break country inn

Sporting Bears Motor Club

Last minute break

Guest Comments

A selection of recent comments from our lovely customers


29th March 2017

My wife Anne and I have stayed at the Fat Lamb on a number of occasions over the last few years and have enjoyed every visit. The surroundings are stunning and oh so quiet. A fantastic location to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The staff are so friendly, the rooms comfortable and the food delicious !! We will be back. Thanks again to all at the Fat Lamb.


11th February 2017

Another wonderful stay at the Fat Lamb. Peace and quiet in a lovely cosy environment with very friendly staff. And delicious food especially the porridge.

We will be returning

Gary & Alison Sherwin

2nd November 2016

My wife and I enjoyed our stay in October 2016. The bar food was very good and we sat close to the open fire - a nice treat on an autumnal evening. The porridge for breakfast was one of the best I have tried - even in Scotland. Our room overlooking the car park was comfortable but there was a draught from the hopper window when closed. We arrived in our classic sports car and the 10% discount on our bill was a welcome surprise. We will visit again. 

- Jim. (the Elan man).

15th June 2016

We booked last minute to visit the Fat Lamb with our two children. We all absolutely loved it. The room was cosy. The food for the evening meal was enjoyed by all of us and the service was great. Breakfast was also really nice. Our boys particularly liked having adventures in the garden and nature reserve. Such a great location for families. We will visit again.

- Amy C.

11th June 2016

We needed somewhere to break a journey and The Fat Lamb was ideally situated, not least because of its proximity to the M6 (around 15 miles from Tebay). Booking was easy and we were contacted to confirm the details of the booking, which included £20 each for dinner and were advised that it would be the weekend of the Appleby Fair. We were welcomed on arrival, invited to book for dinner as it was likely to be busy and shown our room which was comfortable. We were pleasantly surprised to find the inn had a small wildlife area and spent an enjoyable hour exploring it and observing geese and swans with their young. Despite having been advised that the dinner menu would be restricted because of the Fair, there was a good choice of à la carte and other meals, using mainly locally-sourced ingredients. The meal (taken in the bar) was promptly served and delicious, while the bar area had seating to allow us to sit and read after eating. Breakfast the next morning was well organised, with tables allocated by room number and the service efficient. We intend to stay again, but will bring boots for the wildlife area!

- Jeremy

31st May 2016

The fat lamb recently catered for our group of 30+ family members on the bank holiday weekend with ease, the food was delicious and the staff and service were top class. Lovely scenic location with plenty of parking, I would highly recommend this as a venue.

John & Deb Barkley

22nd May 2016

Have just taken a party from my local U3A walk group for a three night break. It was universally agreed that the Fat Lamb was an excellent venue for our peregrinations. The setting is superb - even the rain takes on a different dimension - the walking potential endless and it is very, very hard to find anything to fault with the ambience and service within the pub. We will be looking to return, I am sure.

Walker - U3A Walking Group

22nd May 2016

Called in here again for lunch, on the way back from Cumbria. Very good steak pie and good value for money. Served in good time by friendly competent staff. Very good beers, and coffee after lunch. Couldn't fault either the welcome or the meal - both excellent. The views from this pub are amazing, and they have their own Nature Reserve.