The internationally important upland oak dominated woodlands found in valleys such as Borrowdale, Coniston and Ullswater are our ‘temperate rainforest’.

They are vitally important for the abundance of distinctive plant and animal communities, particularly, the rich diversity of ferns, bryophytes (mosses) and lichens which depend upon the cool, wet climate we get in the northwest.

Warmer, drier summers with increased drought conditions could result in a significant decline of these ecologically significant plant species which all help in water purification, carbon storage and slowing the flow of rainwater.

Rising year-round temperatures will also push the range of woodlands higher up the fells where thinner soils are more vulnerable to landslide and gullying erosion, and wind blow of the trees is increased (trees blown completely over or uplifted at the roots, also trunks or branches snapped off). More frequent, extreme storm events add to these pressures.

We might also see greater winter survival of mammal pests, such as deer and grey squirrels, leading to reduced tree regeneration and loss of the valuable ground flora.

… These woodlands are the last surviving fragments of an enormous ancient forest that once stretched all the way down the west coast of Britain and Ireland. We can’t afford to lose any more!