Woodland restored at Hoathwaite

Rangers and volunteers get ready for tree planting at Hoathwaite, Coniston
Published : 10 Jan 2017 Last update : 28 Nov 2017

On 28 July 2016, whilst most of the Lake District was celebrating Beatrix Potter’s 150th Anniversary, our woodland and estate team had something else to be happy about.

We had successfully purchased, at auction, some new parcels of woodland at Hoathwaite, south Coniston. There are three lots of woodland which fill a ‘hole’ in our ownership south of Coniston and bring many benefits.

But the small issue here is that this ‘woodland’ had been clear felled over the last ten years so doesn’t really have many trees on it!

Tree planting team

So to give this woodland its heart back, on 10 Feb 2017 a twenty-strong group of South Lakes rangers, regular members of our South Lakes Volunteers Group and the South Lakes woodland volunteers will work together to do a mass planting of approximately 800 trees, on Close Head Coppice. This will begin to restore about 4 hectares of ancient woodland.

These trees will be native species made up of about 40% oak trees, 40% birch and 20% mixed broadleaves, such as hazel, rowan and crab-apple, to mirror and hopefully re-establish natural woodland.

Enhancing nature

Restoring these woodlands and linking them with our existing ownership in the area improves the resilience and robustness of the woodland habitats, as well as improving the land’s ability to store carbon and improve water quality. This new habitat will be ideal for woodland birds, some of which are declining species such as warblers, flycatchers, and red starts.

" We're so pleased we were able to secure Close Head Coppice and are really looking forward to starting the restoration work on the woodland. It will create a new nature corridor and improve the biodiversity of the woodland and surrounding land."
- Richard Tanner, woodland Ranger, south Lakes

New woodland network

The conversion of neighbouring Coal Coppice back to native woodland will be the last piece of ancient woodland restoration for the Park Coppice area, giving us a total of nearly 80 hectares of woodland in the south – west Coniston area.   

Long term aims

This work is the first step towards a long term aim to re-establish coppice management in this woodland, which could go on to provide a sustainable supply of wood for local crafts people, firewood, as well as the improved wildlife habitats for some declining bird species.

It has the potential to become a working resource and a community asset, as a community coppice where wood is used as fuel as well as for traditional crafts.