Ennerdale's forest is one of the valleys Big Four features along with its Mountains, Lake and Rivers. The  management of the forest is aimed at allowing it to develop as a more diverse habitat with a dynamic mosaic of mixed species, open glades, dense patches, cathedral sized big trees, deadwood, open woodland, windblown trees and of course wildlife and people. Like other areas of our work the Wild Ennerdale Partners have a future natural approach to managing the forest. This accepts that the future forest will be a mix of native and non native species as to remove all the non native species would have a significantly negative impact on much of the valleys wildlife which use conifers for shelter and food.

Forestry England manages most of the forest in the valley the majority of which lies east and north of Ennerdale Water. In addition the National Trust owns Side Wood, a really special ancient semi natural woodland of birch and oak trees. United Utilities own some small areas of woodland at the west end of the valley around the pumping station and have been planting trees on former agricultural land associated with Low Moor End Farm which was bought as part of measures to protect the River Ehen's special habitats.

More information about the management of the forest.


Phytophthora Larch Disease Harvesting

During Summer and Autumn 2021 Phytophthora Ramorum was identified across 60 hectares of larch forest at the west end of the Ennerdale valley. To help control the spread of the disease and reduce the risk of a variant jumping into another tree or shrub species Forestry England is required to fell or kill standing the infected trees.

Given this is a significant change from the Wild Ennerdale Stewardship Plan, Forestry England shared their proposals via a Citizen Space web page and asked for feedback.  The consultation period has completed but you can still download a PDF document outlining their plans via the webpage.

Forestry England received 11 responses to their public engagement regarding the upcoming Phytophthora Ramorum plant heath felling in Ennerdale. Not all these responses raised questions, and some questions were duplicates of others.

Responses requiring a reply are summarised and anonymised in  this Ennerdale Public Engagement Responses 2022 document


More Information about the felling of infected larch trees

Dead Wood

Dead wood is an important indicator of biodiversity providing habitats for animals, insects, lichen, mosses, bryophytes and fungi. It also helps to store water and improves soil chemistry. Over summer 2013, Jenny Woodman , a student from Newcastle University carried out an investigation into the levels of  dead wood in Ennerdale. Jenny discovered that in the plantation conifer forest dead wood was around 18m3 per hectare. Compare this to the ancient woodland of Side Wood where Jenny found the figure is just over 70m3 per hectare.

Jenny’s data compares favourably to guidelines suggested  by the Forestry Commission of  40-100m3  within ancient semi-natural woodlands like Side Wood and 20-40m3  within managed plantations and secondary woodlands.