Forests & Woodlands
From the highest leaves to the network of underground roots, woodlands and forests provide an ideal habitat for thousands of mammals, insects, plants and birds to call home.
Beyond biodiversity, trees support health and wellbeing, improve air quality, offer shade for crops and livestock, prevent nutrient loss and soil erosion, improve water quality, and reduce the risk of flooding.
Woodlands even help to tackle the climate crisis, by capturing and storing carbon. Trees are our best friends when it comes to fighting the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
Project: Forest Futures
Ancient woodlands are areas that have been wooded from at least 1600CE. Since it takes hundreds of years to establish, Ancient Woodland Sites are irreplaceable habitats. Sadly, many of these sites are under threat. Country-wide, nearly half have been destroyed or seriously deteriorated due to trees being felled and replanted with non-native conifers, as well as wider impacts such as overgrazing and air pollution.
Working with Cumbria Woodlands, the Woodland Trust and United Utilities, from March 2022 – March 2023, we set out to conserve and restore Ancient Woodlands around Thirlmere. This included a multitude of activities including seed bombing, building deer management infrastructure, planting native species and thinning non-native plants and trees.
As part of the Forest Futures project a graduate forester was employed by Lake District Foundation and managed by Cumbria Woodlands. Bryce Flannaghan took his first steps in forestry during a 12-month placement working in woodlands at Thirlmere.
In 2022, 57.9 hectares were classed as under critical threat.
By 2023, this was reduced to 9.5 hectares.
Over 30,000 thousand trees have been planted
500,000 seeds have been scattered
Over 25 people have been employed or contracted to work
Project: Woodland Futures
The Woodland Futures project launched in March 2022 with the aim of increasing woodland creation and bringing existing woodlands into management, to ensure they have a bright future.
The project connects those that own and manage land. Woodland Futures provides advice, information, training, and coordination between different organisations all with the goal of supporting woodlands across Cumbria.
Graduate Forester Graham said: “A lot of the UK’s woodlands are neglected or under-managed, leading to the degradation of the ecosystems and habitats within. Bringing woodlands under management can have benefits for the landowner and wider society, as well as the biodiversity of the woods.” Read more about Graham’s work here.
Working in partnership with Cumbria Woodlands, Woodland Futures is funded by the Heritage Fund and delivered on behalf of Defra.