Ennerdale's forest is one of the valleys Big Four features along with its Mountains, Lake and Rivers. Our 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.
Timber Harvesting 24th November 2020
All car parks, most rights of way and way marked trails are open
Timber harvesting is continuing in the valley and will run through until Summer 2021. This will involve the temporary diversion of some paths and tracks and closure of some areas of the valley to public access.
Harvesting has started on the southern slopes between Silver Cove and Low Beck and on the Pillar Road. See the Valley Information Poster .which is also displayed at car parks and around the valley. This has led to a closure of a number of rights of way on the south side of the valley. We are also dispatching timber from and tidying up sites around Cat Crags north of YHA Ennerdale and Smithy Beck. Please be aware of timber lorries using narrow roads to and from Ennerdale and within the forest. All other rights of way are open.
We have finished harvesting the larch at Crag at the west end of the valley and have reinstated the diagonal path through the site.
Please check the visitor information signs which will be located and updated at the car parks, main entrances to the valley, and on our Facebook page.
At Crag, south of Bleach Green we have felled an area of larch behind Crag Farm to reduce the risk of Phytophthora larch disease spreading from this woodland. We delayed felling until June 2020 to ensure that the Red Squirrels using this woodland have time to breed and for the young kits to be come mobile. We have felled all the larch to make space to expand the native woodland that is developing to the west of the site. This winter 2020/21 we will replant the felled area with a mix of native tree species including Scots pine, oak, birch and eared willow. Some difficult to reach larch trees at the top of the slope may need to be killed standing and left as a deadwood habitat.
Most of our timber harvesting is focused on thinning the standing trees. This will remove around 20% of the trees with the aim of opening up the forest to develop more stable trees and a more diverse structure and species mix. The trees that are left will have more space to develop larger crowns to produce more cones and thus food for Red squirrels, Siskin and Nuthatch for example. A small area of larch at the entrance to the valley has been felled completely to make space for future native woodland planting and reduce the risk of Phytophthora larch disease spreading in the valley. We are also felling three areas of conifer trees at the east end of the valley to open up the valley bottom and River Liza . This will allow more diverse habitats to develop along the Liza , improve views for people and allow us to plant some more native species such as Scots pine, juniper, oak, birch, aspen and willow.
To protect public safety we will need to divert some tracks and paths and close some areas of the valley to public access.
Please check the visitor information which will be posted around the valley's main entrances. car parks and on facebook.
If you have any questions about the work please contact Gareth Browning who is the Forestry England forester and Wild Ennerdale partner responsible for the operations.
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.
Dead Larch Trees
During 2013 and 2014 some of our larch trees have been affected by the destructive Phytophthora ramorum larch disease In response we have felled some trees and treated others with a herbicide stem application which caused them to die.
Whilst we are sad to lose our larch trees the forest is already regenerating. We have planted over 50,000 native trees under the areas of treated larch over the last few years and will continue to underplant trees untill we are happy that the forest is fully regenerated. Our squirrel monitoring show that although dead, the larch trees are stil being used by squirrels as a route around the valley.
Help prevent the disease spreading by removing mud from your boots and conifer needles from your clothing before leaving Ennerdale.