New meadow restoration project gets underway

Sunday 8th May, during our National Mill’s Weekend celebrations, saw the launch of our new meadow restoration project. Twenty nine volunteers, including family groups took part in our historic ‘Tentergarth’ meadow plant survey.

Thanks to our local funders, we’ve now been able to continue our volunteer work programme, provide community events and reclaim our overgrown meadow at the same time.

Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria Community Foundation, Friends of the Lake District and Lake District Foundation have together granted our small heritage charity £25K to enable our two year community project to happen. This is in order to manage the meadow for wildlife and enhance it for public enjoyment. In doing this, volunteer opportunities have been created whereby community groups and regular volunteers can join in and spend time supporting our activities.

For several years, the meadow has experienced a phase of neglect resulting in becoming very overgrown with thick bramble and bracken. With the help of our volunteers, we’ve now reclaimed this natural space and carried out extensive cutback works as well as boundary maintenance, such as ditch clearance and tree work. Now that the bramble is no longer shading the ground, we’re really pleased to see emerging flowering plants such as meadow buttercup, pignut, ribwort plantain, fumitory and celandine. This meadow also supports a variety of butterflies, bees, dragonflies, slow worms, songbirds, lizards and amphibians. We look forward to recording further findings at our next ‘nature count’ in the summer.

As well as creating low-impact trackways through the reclaimed meadow area, we hope to install a sizeable wildlife pond, small heritage fruit orchard and workshop activity area. Seating on this higher ground will also be provided so the idyllic Eskdale scenery and atmosphere can be viewed and appreciated during a visit to us.

In the coming months, our volunteers will get involved in dry stone walling and further practical meadow work such as bracken bashing, hay raking and summer meadow surveys.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please get in touch with Kate Hughes, Mill Manager who will be able to discuss further with you or your group.

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