Largest native tree and wildflower nursery in the Lake District to be set-up

Plans to create the largest native tree and wildflower nursery in the Lake District and to plant 5,000 trees across the reserve by 2022 have been given the go-ahead.

RSPB Haweswater will receive £249,900 from the UK government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund grant to set-up the largest native tree and wildflower nursery in the Lake District, helping to restore upland habitats. The landowner, United Utilities has also provided an initial £100,000 of match funding towards the project. 

Once established, the nursery will generate 15,000 trees and wildflower plugs per year, including specialist species like juniper, globeflower and downy willow. Increasing woodland and scrub will give a more secure future for threatened woodland wildlife like red squirrels, pied flycatchers and redstarts.

The small nursery currently being run at RSPB Haweswater is already helping to restore habitats across the reserve and dedicated staff and volunteers continued to look after fragile plants at home this spring, when Coronavirus restrictions meant travel for non-essential work put the nursery’s plants at risk.

A grass roots initiative, the nursery currently only has capacity to grow some of the plants needed for the RSPB’s own habitat restoration projects. The new funding will enable the existing nursery to be expanded, allowing native plants to be grown to aid habitat restoration elsewhere in the Lake District National Park, including United Utilities’ Thirlmere estate.

Lee Schofield, RSPB Haweswater senior site manager says “We’re really excited about expanding our tree nursery at Haweswater. The funding will allow us to increase our habitat restoration ambitions on site, ensuring that the trees and wildflowers we plant are from as local a source as possible. The project will contribute to our continuing aim of demonstrating that nature conservation and sustainable farming can go hand in hand.”

Alongside the benefits to wildlife, the funding will support the development of a range of nature-friendly income streams, helping to sustain the new jobs into the future.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. 

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