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Woodlands

We own and manage three areas of woodlands:

hows-wood Hows Wood in upper Eskdale covering 20 acres (8 hectares) is a prominent feature in the valley’s landscape.  The wood is predominantly upland oak (the species is called ‘sessile’) and birch, historically managed as coppice until the 1920s.  From 1967 the Forestry Commission planted non-native spruce and pine trees, covering over half of the wood.

Friends of the Lake District bought the wood from the Forestry Commission in 1987 to restore the ancient woodland to show the way forward for managing woodlands.  With the assistance of a Woodland Grant from the Forestry Commission the conifers were removed in 1994.  The boundaries were restored to keep out livestock and deer by re-building the dry stone walls; a Bark Peelers Hut was conserved and a circular permissive path installed.

Annual maintenance and conservation work is carried out by joint Friends of the Lake District and Lake District National Park volunteer work parties.

The natural regeneration of the woodland is outstanding example of woodland succession taking place.  A new ecological survey was done in 2008 recommending minimal intervention, but continuing to remove non-native conifer tree regeneration and enhancing wildlife habitats, such as standing dead trees and bird nesting sites.

To help monitor the health of the wood volunteers Roy McGregor and Derek Sewell carried out a woodland bird survey over several months in 2011, which shows that Hows Wood is of great value to some of Europe's severely declining woodland birds, recording the presence of 10 threatened bird species, and 7 declining species of birds.

Download the Hows Wood Nature Trail Booklet

a mixed woodland purchased in 1987 to revert to broadleaved woodland


Mike’s Wood nr. Staveley

In 1993 7.7 acres (3.13 hectares) of pasture land to the east of Staveley were purchased by Friends of the Lake District to create a new native woodland. The woodland was named ‘Mike’s Wood’ after the former Secretary, Mike Houston, in appreciation of his seventeen years work for the Friends. Planting of native trees, oak, alder, ash, birch, rowan, scots pine, hawthorn and some juniper bushes, took place during 1993/4 under a Forestry Commission Woodland Grant scheme.

protecting_hazel halfway

From the same land sale, one of our members, Ann Beddard, purchased an adjacent field and joined with us in the tree planting. In 2000, Ann kindly donated her land to us making the total area some 12.06 acres (4.69 hectares). Finally, in 2002, she donated a small area of existing woodland (Beddards Old Wood) to us, giving us a grand total of 12.36 acres (4.81 hectares).

Our land is next to Dorothy Farrers Spring Hag and High Wood, both owned by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust and in 2005 a new footpath was created linking the bridleway to the east of our land with the paths in the Wildlife Trust’s woodland.

This now forms part of a circular woodland walk from Staveley joining woodland owned by the Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust. A free leaflet for this walk is available from local outlets, download below.

Download Staveley Woodland Walk leaflet.

drystone robin-in-anne

There are regular volunteer work parties carrying out conservation in the woodland, including walling repairs, tree protection with guards, and coppicing hazel.

an area of land purchased in 1993 to create a new native woodland


Halfway House woodland (near Brunt Howe)

halfway-house-woodlandHalfway house consists of two small pieces of woodland (0.4 hectares) adjacent to the Ambleside to Skelwith Road and River Brathay (GR: NY352034 and NY351034).

Friends of the Lake District obtained the title of the land in 2004 (the were no deeds) and the basic aims are to manage and enhance the areas of woodland and other habitats, including the removal of non-native and invasive species and dangerous trees; and Permit appropriate access for those seeking informal recreation and quiet enjoyment.

Annual maintenance and conservation work is carried out by Friends of the Lake District volunteers.

a small area close to the A593

New Lake District Native Woodlands
We are now managing these new woodlands:

Greenbank Wood
A small one-and-a-half hectare woodland opposite the University of Cumbria's campus library on Nook Lane in Ambleside. We now have ownership of this wood which contains some large veteran beech and scots pine trees dating back to the nineteenth century. With help from the previous owner, Julian Eldridge, local tree consultant and Friends member Luke Steer, has done a tree survey and management plan. This will identify how we will look after the veteran trees, which make great habitats for many woodland fungi, insects, birds and red squirrels, and enhance the woodland setting of Ambleside itself. See a map of the wood here.

A small one-and-a-half hectare woodland in Ambleside.

Sweden Wood
sweden wood map4A developing new woodland (2.2 hectares) located on higher ground just off the Scandale path running out of Ambleside. With the help of grants from the Forestry Commission Woodland Improvement and Windermere Reflections HLF project we have planted 400 additional trees, such as crab apple, hawthorn, hazel and rowan to increase winter food supplies for birds (berries and nuts), and put up nest boxes to improve the habitat for woodland birds, including redstarts, spotted flycatchers, tree pipits and wood warblers. Local school children helped plant the new trees, building nest boxes and watching the wildlife flourish.

We'll keep you posted as we develop plans to manage and care for these two woodlands in Ambleside. The forestry school of the University of Cumbria is moving to Ambleside and we hope to link both these woods with the student teaching, research and volunteering in the near future

A developing new woodland (2.2 hectares) just off the Scandale path, Ambleside.

Gillside and Tongue Gill New Native Woodland
gillside--tongue-gill-woodland-map-webWe are working with our members and landowner Bev and Jo Dennison-Drake to create a new seven hectare native upland woodland at Tongue Gill, near Grasmere (GR: 388 095).

With the help of grants from the Forestry Commission and our supporters buying tree saplings we will be planting over 6,000 trees in the autumn 2014 and spring 2015. This new woodland will enhance the landscape and wildlife values of the land, and contribute to protecting soils, water quality and increase the resilience the Windermere catchment against the effects of extreme weather storms associated with climate change.

The site is a rather special one with Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast footpath running along the northern edge and trees in the gill already hosting native red squirrels. We will work with the local Grasmere Red Squirrel Group to manage the wood to support the recovery of red squirrel numbers. We will also install a link new path off the Coast-to-Coast so people can walk through and enjoy the woodland as it develops over the coming years. Expanding the woodland cover will also help increase declining woodland bird species, including pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher, tree pipit, willow warbler and woodcock.

Bev and Jo are currently installing a hydro-electric power generator feeding off the Tongue Gill beck, so along with the trees absorbing carbon, we don't think there's a 'greener' piece of land in the Lake District!

We are working to create a new seven hectare native upland woodland at Tongue Gill, Grasmere.

New Native Woodland at the Helm, Oxenholme, nr Kendal
staff-tree-planting-helmWe are also creating new woodland on our land at The Helm, Oxenholme, with 1500 trees to be planted over three years to 2015.

Read more about our new woodland at the Helm. See photos of our latest treeplanting days.

Friends of the Lake District bought part of the eastern side of the Helm, above Oxenholme in 2007, to open up to public access and improve the landscape for nature conservation. Click here to see a map of the The Helm.

We are creating new woodland at The Helm, Oxenholme, with 1500 trees to be planted by 2015.

Help us create new woodlands! Plant a native tree sapling in the Lake District - or an established tree.

General health and safety - please enjoy your time on our properties, but do be aware that there may be hazards such as uneven ground, tree roots, sink holes, derelict buildings, stock may be present, and take care when crossing any roads or rivers on or near the properties. Also be aware of ticks, and the chance of soil and air borne organisms, so please wash your hands when you can. Thank you.

 

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