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The Flora of the Fells team at Friends of the Lake District would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers, groups and organisations who took part in the
Ennerdale Fell Care Day last week.
The event aimed to raise the profile of the immense amount of work which goes into taking care of the fells not only by volunteers but also by the organisations managing the landscape. It also highlighted all the benefits the Cumbrian uplands provide in terms of locking up carbon in the peat soils, absorbing and filtering water to provide clean drinking water and reducing flooding, as well as food, open spaces for our health and well-being and jobs to support the economy.
80 hardy volunteers and 80 local school children dodged hail showers to take part in the day which saw around 1000 trees planted, hundreds of metres of old fencing removed and the breeding grounds for Marsh Fritillary butterflies extended.
Volunteers from Friends of the Lake District, the Wild Ennerdale Partnership, the National Trust and Lake District National Park Authority braved muddy drains to repair a well used footpath and collect four sacks of litter from the lakeshore whilst children from Moor Row and Ennerdale and Kinniside schools helped build a willow wildlife hide and learned how looking after the landscape is good for water quality, helps prevent flooding and benefits wildlife.
Cakes were donated by volunteers, staff and Cumbrian bakers Willans Fine Foods, Kendal, Nick’s Kitchen and Bilbos’ cafe Ambleside. Volunteers undertook the equivalent of 236 hours or 34 days work on the fells in a single day.
With help from the Environment Agency boat ‘Sea Eagle’, oak and birch saplings were transported to their planting site on an inaccessible part of the lake shore, to where volunteers had walked for an hour to help with the planting. Gareth Browning of the Wild Ennerdale group said: ‘It’s fantastic to give people the opportunity to get out in this wonderful landscape and plant native oak trees which will hopefully be around for hundreds of years to come.’
A group of five volunteers braved wind and weather to survey for red grouse on the surrounding Herdus fell and were rewarded with views of flying grouse and lots of healthy heather which it needs for breeding. Simon Webb from Natural England commented that ‘Without the volunteer effort we would not have been able to survey the fell systematically. Together we have confirmed that these beautiful upland birds still frequent Ennerdale’. Grouse have not been recorded for many years on this particular fell.
This was the second Fell Care day this year organised by the landscape conservation charity Friends of the Lake District. The first took place on Helvellyn in September where 120 volunteers turned out to conserve the fells, cleaning out 10.5km of drains, rebuilding 23m of dry stone walls and clearing 14 bags of rubbish from Helvellyn whilst learning about the importance of managing the land to provide clean drinking water, increase biodiversity and lock up tonnes of carbon in upland peat soils. (each hectare of peat soils locks in 1000 tonnes of carbon).
The charity is planning two more Fell Care Days next year. For more information, or to volunteer contact Sue Manson, Flora Events and Communications Officer on 01539 733187 or email@example.com