Discover more about the conservation plans at Lyme
The National Trust has outlined ambitious plans to help reverse the decline in wildlife on all land in its ownership – including an aim to create 25,000 hectares of new habitats by 2025. Read on to learn more about what we are doing here at Lyme to help secure the future of wildlife.
A helping hand to wildlife
As one of the country’s largest landowners, the Trust wants to play its part in addressing the dramatic slump in UK species and improve soil quality and water quality in the countryside. An in-depth study last year found 56 per cent of species were in decline. Simply owning lots of land isn’t enough for a conservation organisation like the National Trust, we need to make sure that we are improving the condition of that land that is in our care so that it delivers more for wildlife.
Here at Lyme we are already doing lots of work in order to look at the bigger picture and taking the necessary steps now which will benefit wildlife and people for 50, 100 and 150 years into the future and even beyond. Examples of conservation in action that can be seen around Lyme:
Hasebank North Project
The woodland was completely made up of even aged coniferous trees which were planted here with a dual purpose, to produce timber and also for aesthetic reasons. They cast a heavy shade and prevent any saplings from becoming established, this means that all of these trees will come to the end of their lives at a similar period of time. By felling small groups of conifers this then allowed us to begin to establish the next generation of trees now, thus making the woodland's future much more secure. Light can now reach the woodland floor, creating warm sheltered conditions which, as well as enabling the newly planted broadleaved trees to grow, also benefits wildflowers and insects. Butterflies like the beautiful Comma will enjoy basking in the sunlight which these areas provide whilst the trees are young and once the trees get older they will begin to produce nectar for a whole host of insects and fruit for the birds in the autumn.
Shaping the landscape
Grazing our rough grasslands with sheep and traditional breeds of cattle will bring long term conservation gains that couldn't be achieved using human interventions. Sheep grazing during the summer months provides ideal conditions for many different types of fungus, of particular interest are Waxcaps; often described as the orchids of the fungus world, need the grass to be grazed in a certain way during specific periods of the year to provide ideal conditions for them to fruit and spread their spores.
The cattle eat coarse, dominat species of grasses which if left unattended will create a landscape that is of limited value to wildlife due to there being very few plant species present. As the cattle eat and walk, they create gaps into which more delicate species of grasses and flowers have an opportunity to become established. The Highland cows that we have here can reach areas which machinery cannot, they also graze selectively which creates a mixed and diverse sward structure to the grassland.
Water sources for wildlife
Creating scrapes or shallow ponds, which dry out during the late summer within our grasslands, offers upland birds the opportunity to find insects upon which to feed their young. Species which rely on these scrapes include Lapwing and Curlew, both of which have suffered a massive decline in population.
There's lots of conservation work to be done but it is an exciting challenge that our Ranger Team are really looking forward to.