Native woodland planted at one of Beatrix Potter’s favourite places

Moss Eccles tarn
Published : 26 Feb 2018

A major tree planting project has resulted in almost 4,000 new saplings taking root near Beatrix Potter’s beloved Moss Eccles Tarn.

Alongside National Trust Working Holiday participants and leaders, volunteers and rangers began work planting the trees across 4.5 hectares of land last November.  Moss Eccles Tarn, close to Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse Hill Top in Near Sawrey, was a favourite spot for the children’s author and conservationist to boat, fish and sketch with her husband William.

Rangers planting native species around Moss Eccles Tarn

A new beginning

The area was cleared of larch trees after several in the woodland were found to be infected with Phytophthora (a disease which translates from Greek as ‘the plant-destroyer’). Alongside the saplings, it was necessary to construct 1000m of deer fence to protect the young trees during their formative years. Replanting with native species like oak and birch will, in time, provide a better habitat for wildlife and improve water quality in nearby tarns by trapping sediment and nutrients.

Assistant ranger Julie Bell prepares the ground for the saplings
Assistant ranger Julie plants saplings at Moss Eccles tarn
Assistant ranger Julie Bell prepares the ground for the saplings
" Having the chance to re-plant the woodland is the silver lining to the Phytophthora cloud. I can imagine what the woodland might look like in 100 years’ time; in my mind it will be mostly oak with some birch and willow in the wetter areas. The craggy outcrops will perhaps be more open and covered by low-growing shrubs like bilberry and heather."
- Richard Tanner, Woodland ranger

Over the next few years the National Trust will keep an eye on the young trees and replace any which don’t grow. This work will mean that the backdrop to Moss Eccles will continue to be wooded, and with careful management we hope the woodland will be there forever, for everyone.

Nearly 4,000 saplings have now been planted
Tree planting at Moss Eccles tarn
Nearly 4,000 saplings have now been planted