We have been consulted on a significant tree planting scheme on the Coniston, Dunnerdale and Seathwaite Commons as part of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme. At first sight these involved a huge amount of fencing to enable wood pasture creation and scrub planting. However after a site visit with Natural England and more understanding of fence locations, discussions about removal, etc, we are able to support the proposals.

The scheme will only cover the proposed woodland areas and so will have minimal impacts on the cultural heritage of communal grazing and hefted flocks. The density of scrub planting is fairly low, and due to the terrain, most of the fences will be largely hidden. Most of the issues with schemes such as these are to do with the fencing, rather than the planting and the key is often to get the planting done properly, ie in clumps, avoiding the crags and sight lines of features such as crags and waterfalls, higher points, and ensuring the fencing contractor is sensitive to the landscape and does not just use as many straight lines as possible.

As ever with fence proposals, we have suggested a 10 year permission to coincide with the Scheme length, and have asked for firm written agreements about who will take responsibility for the maintenance, guards and final fence removal, also that some money is being put aside to pay for eventual fence removal. This will be a condition of any agreement we may give.

A month after the above, screening proposals came in for 2.4km of new fencing to enable 500ha of wood pasture creation on Blake Rigg and around Greenburn as part of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme for Tilberthwaite Farm. Alas the majority of fencing proposed is permanent and there has been little assessment of impacts on landscape and WHS Outstanding Universal Value. Whilst welcoming the wood pasture, we have raised concerns about a number of other issues.