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Saplings help commons recover after moorland fire

Date: 14th December 2016

Forestry students at Newton Rigg College will be rolling up their sleeves to help reinstate an important area of the Lake District as part of their studies.

The College has an ongoing partnership with the Lake District National Park (LKNP) and, as part of that relationship, first-year Level 3 students, with lecturer Richard Hunter, will help plant 500 native hardwood trees in Wet Swine Gill on  Caldbeck Commons.

Richard said: “The college has been working with the Lake District National Park for a number of years and students were involved in the original planting in this area three years ago.
Sadly many of the trees were wiped out in a fire this summer and need replacing. We were delighted to be asked to assist with this.” He added: “The experience for the students is immensely valuable. Not only is it an opportunity to be involved in an important ‘live’ community project, but they also benefit from working with park rangers and volunteers. In addition, it broadens the students’ technical and practical knowledge – it involves larger scale planting than we have at Newton Rigg, also it’s on uplands terrain and the soil type is different.”

Trees which will be planted include sessile oak, hawthorn, rowan, bird cherry, birch and alder. Scott Henderson, ranger (projects) with the LDNP, said the relationship with the college was hugely beneficial to the conservation work as well as to the students’ learning experience.

Over the last five years, students have been involved in helping to plant more than 17,000 trees in a dozen upland tree schemes on the Caldbeck and Uldale Commons. These projects are supported by the local commoners’ association, farmers and landowners. Caldbeck Commons comprises 40,000 hectares and is included in a Natural England Higher Level Scheme to deliver the objectives supporting the special area of conservation designation.

It is anticipated that the tree planting at Wet Swine Gill will take place over the coming weeks, depending on weather.

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Newton Rigg College,
CA11 0AH
01768 893400