We are approaching the end of the tree planting season now so it is full throttle to get our trees in during the next few weeks.

We have a landscape gift scheme whereby people can buy gifts to enhance the landscape and help wildlife. At the moment we have no space on our land for some of the larger trees so we have been working with farmer member Pauline Blair on her farmland at Lorton by planting these larger gifts over there.

There is public access to the land and not only do the trees enhance the landscape, give new homes for wildlife, and sequester carbon, but they are also good for stock protection and shelter in both storms and heat. It is a win-win.

Pauline writes regular articles in our members' magazine Conserving Lakeland about nature-friendly traditional farming, and how it is possible to breed high-quality Herdwick sheep using traditional methods, while also working to get more nature and habitats on the farm.

Adding more trees and putting hedges back is part of that philosophy. Four volunteers worked hard planting mature whips in the intake, outgang, and fields, and what a view they all have, right down the Lorton Valley.

On Wednesday, we were down on the Helm, and the task was tree planting again. It was fantastic to have new and old volunteers and we planted the trees in memory of our dedicated and much-loved volunteer Jean Savage who among other things, walked the Helm for us regularly checking cows, ponies, and boundaries.

Above: Jean in her element, with tree tubes at the Helm.


The sun shone and we shared favourite stories about Jean as we planted. Each enclosure now has up to 5 established trees, and 8 new saplings of a berry or fruiting variety eg hazel, rowan, hawthorn, etc. Not only will they enhance the landscape, and provide food and habitats for wildlife, but they will also help the soil, slow the flow of surface water, and, as they grow up, sequester carbon. 


Special thanks go to Andy who has had the trees heeled into his vegetable beds since December! Not only did he do that but he then also potted up ten pots with a mix of species ready to be planted to save us scratting around in different bags of trees.

The plan for the afternoon was to start cutting more rides in the gorse to act as firebreaks. As ever something else got in the way, this time another tree from the road which had come down on our boundary fence. So all hands to tree chopping to lift some of the weight off the fence until it is fixed later in the year.


Last time we were on the Helm the ponies excelled themselves with their nosiness. This time we were shunned but it made for getting more work done when we didn’t have to keep chasing them to retrieve our kit!

Our final tree planting session will be over at Middle Bleansley at Broughton in Furness on 19th March and you can book on here. We have inherited lots of old-fashioned metal planters and we plan to put them back in the grazed fields with some new trees to create a bit of a wood pasture habitat.

We still have space on our training day next Tuesday in Rusland, looking at all things to do with moss and liverworts (collectively known as bryophytes). You can book a place here