Tentergarth meadow restoration project update

Our latest project in the historic meadow behind the miller’s cottage is now into its last 6 months of its restoration process and we are making good progress.

Since May 2022, the mill team have been busy bringing the overgrown meadow back into management. This is so that the meadow flowers underneath the previous thick Bramble could find space to re-grow.

Why are we restoring the meadow?

During the summer months of 2022, volunteers got stuck in cutting back the thick briar. Then low impact paths were created providing access throughout the growing meadow. Over the months that followed, we saw a lovely range of hoped-for native flowers emerging such as Lesser Celandine, Cuckoo-flower, Ribwort Plantain, Greater Plantain, Meadow Buttercup, Red and White Clover, Pignut, Common Speedwell and Knapweed as well as several types of grasses. There were instances of abundant day-time moths such as Chimney sweeper and a wide range of bees and butterflies. These results proved to us how important it was to carry out this work.

We have left some thick Bramble patches in order to continue to support that habitat and associated wildlife. It is also important to support hay meadow habitat which is in serious decline in the UK.

What improvements are we making?

The meadow area itself is south-facing with a small stream running along 2 sides and enclosed by a high granite stone wall. It offers ideal space for wildlife such as Bees, Dragonflies, Frogs, Toads, Slow worms and a range of songbirds as well as Bats and Moths. Established alongside the meadow grasses and flowers, there are some Oak, Hazel and Damson trees which link up with the ancient woodland below the meadow.

As well as the existing natural zones, we have identified that there is perfect opportunity to enhance this mosaic of habitats by creating a wetland area in the north-west area and a heritage orchard in the north-east area.

In March, the volunteers completed the planting of 9 new standard trees in the orchard area.  They have installed native Bullace, Greengage, Medlar, Quince and Victoria Plum. In the past, these were all common fruit trees in English gardens and do support our native wildlife. To add to the resilience of our species stock in the face of climate change and provide extra interest, they’ve also planted 2 native Walnut trees.

In May 2023, our new pond was dug out out and the space is now naturalising into the surrounding landscape. Following our observations over the summer, the plan is to add puddling clay in the coming months which is the traditional method used to ensure that it holds rainwater. This is so  it establishes into the wetland habitat zone that we’d like to achieve. Once the pond is watertight, wetland plants will be added to provide shelter and food for the range of aquatic creatures that will inhabit it.

Community Involvement

During the summer and autumn of 2022, we held planned activities aimed at involving the local community in our project. At our May event at National Mills Weekend, 29 volunteers got involved in our flower survey. In September, 3 students from West Cumbria Learning Centre and 5 families from West Cumbria Home Education group helped us to rake the meadow, as traditionally carried out in the past. During October half-term week, we invited people to help us sow more flower seeds in places where they were needed. An amazing 57 folk took part with this activity! All 4 of these community events provided everyone with quality time with their family or group learning new skills in an idyllic location whilst working as a team.


On Sunday 14th May, we will be holding more family friendly activities in the meadow at our next event during National Mills Weekend . See our events page for more information https://www.eskdalemill.co.uk/visit/events/


During the first year of this meadow restoration project, we’ve been supported by 14 regular volunteers overall and received 1989 hours of their time. As well as getting involved in this nature project, they have all enjoyed supporting our other mill operations such as gardening, building maintenance, visitor support and machinery operation.

Our volunteers personally benefit from working with us. Not only does it improve their wellbeing but they also learn or develop skills that are useful to them. We work closely with our volunteers to make sure they carry out tasks that they find interesting, whether for future employment, their own aspirations or to enable them to share their skills.

In the winter, 4 members of our practical team received dry stone walling training from a Lake District National Park ranger and helped to repair a 5m derelict section of our boundary wall. In the coming months, our path maintenance crew will receive certified strimmer training from H&W Forestry Services and participants will have opportunity to gain professional support with botany and plant identifcation skills within the meadow itself from the team at Wild Lakeland.

We welcome enquiries from new volunteers looking to support our small, rural, heritage charity. All we ask is that they commit to one day per fortnight, are willing to work safely as part of our team, are able to communicate efffectively and are happy to learn new skills.

Our community events, as described above, are the perfect chance to get involved and get a taste of what we do. See our volunteering pages for more information https://www.eskdalemill.co.uk/volunteering/

Public enjoyment

In the coming months, we’re looking forward to opening up the meadow to our visitors! A new gateway has been installed enabling access from our reception area. We are just making the finshing touches so that people can enjoy a picnic and take in the bucolic sights and sounds of Eskdale. This will also link up with our Miller’s Garden where there is beckside seating and a kitchen garden.


The 2 year project totalling £25,400 is generously supported by our local funders to whom we are incredibly grateful: Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria Community Foundation, Friends of the Lake District and Lake District Foundation.