What is it and how did you acquire it?

Dam Mire Wood  is a two hectare piece of land gifted to Friends of the Lake District by member and local resident Prof Mike Hambrey. He wanted to gift the land for conservation purposes for the use of the local community and public. The generous gift of the land makes this Friends of the Lake District’s most northerly piece of land.

Friends of the Lake District was one of the handful of charities to benefit from money gifted to the 'Friends of Blencathra' following the unsuccessful attempt to buy the mountain. When Prof Hambrey offered us the land and the Friends of Blencathra donated us some money, it made sense to link the two things together. We wanted to use this money for some land as close to Blencathra as we could to honour the spirit in which the money was given and it would be hard to get much closer than Dam Mire Wood as it sits on the lower slopes of the mountain! 

What have you done so far?

The land is quite wet and boggy and also rocky and tussocky. It would therefore not lend itself to any form of machinery which limits the options for its use. Whilst we were doing the legal transfer, Mike and FLD worked with the West Cumbria Rivers Trust and Threlkeld School children to plant over 1000 trees and to install 'leaky dams' which help to slow the flow of water across the land.

Once the legal transfer was complete, we had to install a new access route as the only previous access was via Mike’s garden. Dan Boardley of DB Contracts build us a brand new path and larch bridge across the beck allowing public access. We're really pleased that we were able to part-fund this work with the legacy money from the Friends of Blencathra and put the generous donations to work in the shadow of Blencathra. 

What are the plans for the future?

We very much want this land to be used by the local community and the public so we really want to know what they would like on the land and how they want to use it. We are holding an opening day on Friday 29th April and this will be our first chance to ask people what they think of the land and what they would like to see. We would like to do some work that would benefit the landscape, nature and wildlife, climate change and also people. Ideas suggested so far include the following:-

Landscape and nature –:

  • plug planting meadow plants for colour and pollinators in a couple of areas kept open from trees.
  • Small wildlife pond
  • Red squirrel feeding station.

Climate change –

  • We have already done a lot of tree planting and slow the flow work.
  • Plug plants may help with this a bit more in terms of having longer roots, and helping pollinators.

People –

  • Events and workshops
  • Information both on site and on line
  • Webcams and camera footage
  • Working with Threlkeld School and other local community groups
  • Bird hides, squirrel feeder viewing station
  • Seats to enjoy the site
  • Conservation workparties

How can I get involved?

We will be holding conservation work parties every few months to help with jobs on site such as weeding the grass from around the trees, tree and tube staking and maintenance, clearing the leaky dams, wall repairs. If you would like to know the dates or book on a day, please see www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/volunteering

We would love someone to research the history of the site from old maps and records.

If anyone has experience of plant, bird or invertebrate surveys, we would love to hear from you.