To create new woodland and hedgerows, plant individual trees and restore existing treed habitats to increase the habitat connectivity and create a resilient landscape in the Westmorland Dales.

Project lead: Woodland Trust

Trees, woodland and hedgerows are invaluable to our native wildlife and livestock, whether that is by providing nectar or berries, safe areas to roost and nest or by providing fodder, shade and shelter. Native trees and woodlands have a higher value to wildlife when they are connected with other valuable habitats, such as hay meadows and wildflower verges.

We have seen an increasing fragmentation of our landscape resulting in loss of habitats, with the removal and poor management of hedgerows, woodland and individual field trees. Landscape connectivity is not only important for isolated populations, but vital for allowing species to move as a response to climate change.

Veteran ash are an iconic landscape feature and form an important cultural link to past land management practices dating back to the Vikings. It is likely that the majority of our ash trees in the Westmorland Dales will become infected with ash dieback in the coming years. However if we can replace these field trees now and plant additional field trees we will still have beautiful open grown trees in the future that are integral to this landscape.

Hedgerows used to be the primary method of stock control; they were thick, had a variety of native species and were laid in rotation. Hedgerows are vital for providing shade and shelter to livestock throughout the year; they slow down wind, improve grass growth in their direct vicinity and are homes and landscape guides to a rage of different species. However, along with woodland and field trees, hedgerows have also been lost from the landscape due to lack of management or active removal to enlarge fields. They are the vital connection between ever decreasing fragmented habitats. 

Purpose

  • To create and restore of vital native habitats within the area in the form of hedgerows, woodland and field trees.
  • To engage with landowners and advise on how they can improve connectivity across their land and support the management of existing woodland.
  • To engage schools