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Through the generosity of Friends of the Lake District members and landowners Bev and Jo Dennison Drake, we have planted a new 7 hectare native wood along Tongue Gill beck, Grasmere.

During 2014 we ran an appeal to raise money for trees. Thanks to the generosity of our members, an incredible £8,626 was raised, adding to the grant we received from the Forestry Commission.

Planting at Gillside started on 26th November 2014 at our mass volunteering event, the ‘Grasmere Fell Care Day’. Volunteers turned out in force to plant native oak, cherry, alder, rowan, hawthorn, birch, scots pine, dogwood and blackthorn. We were also joined by the Secretary of State for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource management, Dan Rogerson MP. He got his hands dirty helping volunteers to plant the first 403 trees of the woodland.

Above: Gillside tree planting February 2015

Planting continued over the winter, and by the end of March 2015, 6,000 trees have been planted. In time this new woodland will provide a haven for red squirrels that have already been sighted there. It will also increase food supplies for many declining woodland birds such as redstarts, spotted flycatchers, tree pipits and wood warblers. Through linking up this woodland with other woodlands, Gillside wood will create an important wildlife corridor, connecting habitats together.

Above: Squirrel on squirrel feeder, Gillside, April 2022

Thank you so much to Bev and Jo Dennison Drake, and all our members and supporters who made this new woodland possible. It is a very exciting development for the landscape of the Lake District. Your donations mean that there will be a native woodland at Gillside for hundreds of years to come.