• Hay-Day Walks


    Discover more about Cumbria's upland hay meadows and the work being done to restore them on the Hay-Day walks.

    Hay-Day Walks

  • Protecting Wildlife For The Future


    Help Cumbria Wildlife Trust conserve the wildlife and wild places of Cumbria for the future.

    Join now


Britain has fewer trees that almost any country in Europe. In the Cumbrian hills, woodland and the way that locals have managed it, has continually changed. Britain's woodland resources had been declining since the middle ages, but reached an all time low - just 5% of land area - by the beginning of the 20th Century. With the outbreak of war, the country was no longer able to rely on timber imports. 1919 saw the establishment of the Forestry Commission in response and led to mass afforestation of the uplands with fast growing conifers.

Historically, woodlands were managed for a wide variety of products from baskets, charcoal for making gunpowder, fenders for ocean liners to besoms, as well as firewood for local homes. This traditional management led to a wealth of wildlife that took advantage of the conditions created by woodsmen. With the introduction of plastics and cheap oil the demand for woodland products declined. This has led to changes in the management of woodlands and a corresponding change and, in many instances, decline in wildlife.

Listen to the audio links below to find out more about Cumbria's woodlands

Baysbrown Woods

Ted Bowness grew up in Great Langdale Valley. Listen to his memories of some of the wildlife and ways of life in Baysbrown Wood

Coppice Woodland

Much of Cumbria's woodland was once a vital part of the rural economy, and traditionally managed as coppice woodland. Jim Spedding remembers there were many uses for coppiced wood, and how the introduction of plastics and steel led to a drastic decline in the demand for woodland products.

Whinlatter Then & Now

Marjorie Thoburn and Muriel Hugh are sisters who grew up in Seldom Seen on the edge of what is now Whinlatter Forest Park. Listen to their memories of what the landscape was like before the area was afforested with conifers, and how the plantation has influenced the landscape and wildlife we see today.