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