Eskdale Common Woodland and Scrub Proposals

The Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) Scheme agreed with the Eskdale Commoners is proposing to create 7 new areas of scattered woodland on the edges of the Common. These have been carefully designed to compliment the existing woodland and fit in with the rich landscape character of Eskdale. Areas of archaeological interest have been identified and surveyed to ensure they are not included in the proposals. Planting would be native broadleaved species and scattered at low densities. The photographs give an impression of what the developing woodland will look like in approximately 15-20 years time.

Here are links to: Overall map, areas A B D E F G

The Eskdale Commoners, National Trust and Natural England are committed to woodland and scrub creation because of the multiple public benefits (ecosystem services) which come from their creation and their contribution towards adaptation to climate change. These are described below:

a. Water quality
Woodland, scrub and longer vegetation act as a filter reducing suspended sediment reaching rivers and lakes. For this reason gill woodland or woodland buffering water courses are especially valuable. Planting scrub and woodland in gills can stabilise banks and reduce the amount of sediment entering the water system.

b. Flood reduction.
We are likely to see more significant flood events in the future. Woodland, scrub and longer vegetation can reduce the speed of run-off. This is particularly important in high rainfall events. The impact on flood reduction is difficult to measure but has been demonstrated. A 2010 report by Forest Research describes a case study of planting in the Derwent Catchment. (Kirkby, Reid and Green 2011 Quarterly Journal of Forestry Vol 105 (4) Oct 2011)

c. Carbon storage
Significant amounts of carbon can be locked up within woody vegetation. This is an important consideration when addressing climate change.

d. Biodiversity
Woodlands are diverse and rich habitats and an important part of our heritage and landscape. Woodlands and scrub not only contribute to biodiversity through tree species but are a host to a large number of other plants, fungi, mosses, lichens.They also provide habitat for insects, and birds such as redstarts, pied fly catchers, tree pippits, woodpeckers and small animals such as the red squirrel.

e. Landscape
Carefully designed woodland creation can compliment and restore the landscape character. We aim to design woodlands with feathered edges which blend naturally into the landscape, not hard straight boundaries you may see in forestry blocks.

f. Future wood fuel
This is difficult to measure as a public benefit but it is broadening future fuel options beyond fossil fuels. There are an increasing number of wood fuelled energy projects in Cumbria.

We invite views and comments from the community through the National Trust office at Wasdale. Please contact:
Phil Braithwaite
National Trust
Wasdale Lodge Office
Wasdale Hall
Nether Wasdale
Cumbria CA20 1ET
Phone: 019467 26110
Responses by 30 March 2012.

NE uplands review

The Natural Environment white paper P25-26.
Responding to the impacts of climate change on the natural environment: The Cumbria High Fells
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