Working with nature in the Lake District

Galloway cows in the woods in Ennerdale

We're keen to work with nature in the Lake District - this means pausing to observe, understand, and respond to the natural forces and inclinations of the places we look after in the Lakes.

What do we mean by working with nature?

We’ve a tendency as humans to engineer our way to a solution: to build a wall to stop a flood, to add a chemical to make our soil rich, or to put in a plantation when we want a wood. And it doesn’t always work out for the best.

In a landscape with as much natural force as the Lake District has, there are times and places where we can let nature have more of a hand in things. So before we interfere we’ll ask questions like - can that river find its own course? Can the tree cover on that intake find its own balance? If we graze that fell a little less, what else will come to life?

An example of this is Ennerdale

Ennerdale sits in the remote north-western end of the National Park. Wild Ennerdale – the partnership that manages the valley - sits at the end of a spectrum when it comes to favouring natural over human influences. We’ve not walked away. But the River Liza has free rein now across the valley floor, where the fences are going and grazing is down to a small wandering herd of Galloways. Across Ennerdale the edges are blurring between forest, grassland, and scrub.

We know this wouldn’t be right everywhere. But it’s worth noting some of the results. Like the way the river is no longer so flashy, and holds less sediment and colour after heavy rain.