In 2017 David Archibald, a long standing member and supporter, contacted us with the offer of a gift of two woods, Bull Coppice and Resp Haw Wood, running down the eastern side of the Rusland Valley. Further talks and visits to the woodlands with David since the initial offer have now culminated in the transfer of ownership to Friends of the Lake District. 

The two woods form a sizeable block of ancient semi natural woodland, and they are a significant part of the character of the valley. The woods are a delightful mix of oak, birch, ash, small leaved lime, holly and other native species. The ground flora includes bluebells, dog’s mercury, primroses and wood sorrel. 

We were delighted to add such magnificent woodland to our portfolio. We are proud that David saw Friends of the Lake District as an appropriate organisation in which to place his trust and privileged to be afforded the opportunity to care for and enhance these spectacular spaces. 

The woods include the presence of nationally important natural heritage features, geological and geomorphological features, wildlife and habitats. They are designated as being of outstanding scenic, historic and scientific interest and enjoy “open access”. 

We own and manage woodlands in Eskdale, Ambleside, Grasmere and Staveley and our experience and sympathetic management of woodland properties will ensure a healthy future for the Rusland woods and that they remain in common ownership.

Rainy Rusland
A blog by Molly Conway

Read all of Molly's monthly updates on her Blog page...

On a day where the rain was particularly torrential, I travelled out to Resp Haw and Bull Coppice, woodlands out at Rusland, with Andrew Tate, one of the policy officers here at Friends of the Lake District. The woodlands at Rusland are in a stunning location, Rusland is secluded and quiet with an abundance of trees covering the valley. The woodlands, which have been generously gifted to Friends of the Lake District, stand on the eastern side of the valley adjacent to the popular walking spot, Rusland Heights. 

Pictured: A view from the woodland

The purpose of the visit was to have a look round the woodland, check the boundaries and generally explore the woodlands. A few escaped sheep were spotted and their access point found, a large gap in the wall on a boundary adjacent to a pasture.

The woodland has two sides to it the lower portion of the woodland or Bull Coppice is more open with a carpet of vegetation there is evidence of historical coppicing and there is a small pond in this area. Whereas the upper part of the woodland, Resp Haw is the opposite, darker and denser with smaller understory trees amongst the taller canopy trees this section is heavily scattered with boulders and many moss covered rocky outcrops. Interestingly there is a line of yew trees which threads its way through this section of the woodland. The line of trees snakes its way through the rocks and creating a very different atmosphere to the lower part of the woods. The dense moss and lichen covering the rocks and trees, the twisting roots of the yew trees give the woodland a magical feel straight out of an Arthurian legend! Ecologically this woodland is reminiscent of the Celtic rainforests, unique temperate rainforest habitats which can be found on the east coast of Scotland, England and Wales.

The woods at Rusland is a beautiful site. It is a woodland which will vastly change with each season making it worthy of a visit for each. I look forward to returning soon throughout spring and summer to help with flora and fauna surveys which will take place on the property.