We have launched a new ‘virtual tour’ of our land at High Borrowdale, the first of many to come as we begin work to roll them out for all of our properties across Cumbria including valleys, native woodlands, moorlands, uplands and commons.

High Borrowdale is situated in a locality once described by Wainwright as “the most beautiful valley outside the Lake District”, however, the valley is now part of the Lake District thanks to the national park extension in 2016.

An online aerial 360 degree tour of this tranquil spot allows you to explore it from your home or your phone, deep diving into key elements, such as the hay meadows, its history, planting, volunteering and flood resilience research and activities on the site via short videos and image collections.

Jan Darrall, Land Manager, said:

“Many may not get the opportunity to visit in person so we wanted to give people a flavour of the place, a glimpse of this spectacular landscape and our efforts in managing in on their behalf.

“We set out a long-term vision when we purchased High Borrowdale in 2002. To maintain, enhance and diversify the special qualities of the landscape, increase opportunities for the public to enjoy this property, and demonstrate that Friends of the Lake District are making a direct contribution to the Cumbrian landscape.”

Together with our wonderful volunteers, we have undertaken an extensive programme of work since acquiring High Borrowdale. The valley has been transformed into a landscape haven for wildlife and people. It has re-created two upland hay meadows, restored barns, stabilised a derelict farm house, re-built 5km of dry stone wall and planted 20,000 native trees - ash, oak, rowan, holly, hawthorn, alder and willow - to enhance the habitats and landscape and help stabilise erosion.

Jan Darrall said:

“We’re so proud of what we’ve achieved in the intervening years and are delighted that we now have new ways of sharing this as well as encouraging people to pay High Borrowdale a visit in person! We have dedicated the land as open access in perpetuity, so anyone can enjoy it at any time long into the future.”

In conjunction with this piece of work, we will also be installing Near Field Communication (NFC) chips around our properties, enabling visitors to access our virtual tour content digitally via their phones on visits to land in our ownership across Cumbria.

We're also running a volunteer specialist skills training program in 2023 to train volunteers to help us build a picture about the flora and fauna on our land over the coming years. Expert tuition will be provided in 2023 on bird identification, moths, butterflies, trees, hay meadow flowers, right down to the miniscule world of lichens and mosses.