Wild Ennerdale

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Many of our self catering Lake District cottages are in beautiful locations with stunning views and landscape. But the landscape surrounding our self catering Lake District cottages in Ennerdale is something rather special.

The Wild Ennerdale Partnership is one of the longest running restoration projects in the UK. In this north western corner of the Lake District, the landscape is being allowed to evolve naturally by reducing human intervention.

Ennerdale is a truly unique valley with wonderful feeling of wilderness. It wasn’t always so wild, when after WW1 a huge planting operation took place and vast swathes of the valley were given over to foreign species of conifer.

Wainwright wrote passionately about his dislike of the rows and rows of regimented conifer plantations. They blocked out the light on the floor of the valley and the lower flanks of the mountains were clad in the strict colours of Sitka spruce. He condemned what he called vandalism of the desolate beauty of Ennerdale.

Set up in 2002, long after Wainwrights death, the Wild Ennerdale project works with the landscape to give the natural valley processes greater freedom to develop. Since 2002, over 35,000 native trees have been planted. Acres of heathland have been created and bogs have been restored. The River Liza flows from Great Gable into Ennerdale. As part of the project the river is allowed to reshape the valley bottom and create a new route. In doing so, new gravel beds and woody debris piles are created, proving highly beneficial for future wildlife and wildflower habitats.

River in Ennerdale

At present, over 40% of Ennerdale has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Areas of Conservation.

Wander through the valley now, and you will be treated to the sight of grazing Galloway cattle at the head of the valley and in the woodland. There is a strong red squirrel presence and the beautiful Marsh Fritillary butterfly, one of 6 types of butterfly in the valley. In a protected stretch of the river Ehen that flows from Ennerdale, there is a tiny population of freshwater mussels.

Fishing for mussells

Ennerdale really is the place to go to be at one with nature. The idea that the landscape is being left to evolve naturally is really quite exciting.

You can read more about our self catering Lake District cottages in Ennerdale by clicking on the highlighted link.