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Otter Trust's North Pennine Reserve

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The Otter Trust's North Pennine Reserve,
Vale House Farm,
Near Bowes,
County Durham.

The Otter Trust's North Pennine Reserve is situated near Bowes on the south side of the main A66 Scotch Corner to Penrith Road. Approaching from Scotch Corner, the reserve lies on the left of the main road approximately 3 miles west of the village of Bowes. Approaching from Penrith there is a deceleration lane allowing traffic to turn right across the west bound carriageway into the reserve. If you miss this, carry on approximately 3 miles to the Bowes exit and return along the westbound carriageway when the reserve will be on your left.

The Otter Trust's North Pennine Reserve is the Trust's latest centre to be opened to the public. Here visitors can see British Otters in large semi natural enclosures together with a wealth of wildlife along the valley of the River Greta, where hides have been installed overlooking pools frequented by waterfowl and waders.

Broad ledges at about chest height, being designed to offer easier viewing to the public and to keep the Otters in, surround the Otters pens at this reserve!

These ledges make ideal rests for your camera, especially if you use a beanbag or a rolled up jumper or fleece. I have found that an 80-200mm zoom lens is ideal for photography at this reserve, if you have anything longer so much the better for frame filling portraits. Feeding times are good for action shots, but bear in mind that Otters move very fast in the water, so be prepared to shoot plenty of film if you hope to photograph the action.

Otter Trust's North Pennine Reserve Images

Nikon F50. 80-200 zoom @ 200mm.
If the British Otters are not playing game, you can always try one of the friendly European Otters. Nikon F50. 35-80 zoom @ 35mm.
Try to predict where the Otter will emerge from the pool, and then catch him (or her) as they climb onto the bank. Nikon F50. 80-200 zoom @ 200mm.
The enclosures include waterfalls, the landscaping around the pools has been done with care, and so it is easy to photograph the Otter as if it were in the wild.<BR>Nikon F50. 80-200mm zoom @ 150mm.<BR><BR><BR>The Otter Trust's North Pennine Reserve is open daily from 1st April till 31st October from 10.30am till 6pm, feeding times for the otters are 12noon and 3pm. In addition to the Otters, there is a large visitor centre/tea room/gift shop, plus other animals such as Red and Fallow Deer, Exmoor Ponies and Highland Cattle.


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