Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.
Web Counter when published 2 148 375


" Tree Planting in Holme Woods "

Date & start time:      19th March 2024.   10 am start. ( NY 127 211)

Location of Start :     Watergate Farm, Loweswater, Cumbria, Uk.  (park at Maggie's Bridge)

Places visited :          Watergate Farm, Holme Woods, Holme Force.

Walk details :              A short local walk in the woods.

Highest point :           Will be ... coming back in a year, a decade and a century's time.

Walked with :             Eighteen friends, neighbours and National Trust personnel plus myself.

Weather :                     Overcast but fine. 

                                        A big thank you for the additional photos from John Macfarlane.             


© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


There's been a lot of felling of timber in Holme Wood in the last year due to Larch disease.

As a consequence there are gaps in the woodland that need replanting to maintain the woods for the future.

Today there was a local invitation  to come along and help on a Community Planting Day.

The morning started well with a sighting of a white pheasant in my garden.
Then it was over to Watergate Farm for 10am, to join the rest of the group.

The woodland is owned and maintained by the National Trust and today's activity was organised by them

but with a large input from Rosamund and John Macfarlane who, living locally, have taken a great and caring interest in the woods.

The area is important for red squirrels, spotted flycatchers, owls and all manner of wildlife.

Today we hope to mitigate some of the environmental damaged which occurred during the necessary removal of the trees.

Watergate is the local National Trust Farm, workshop and home to Mark on the left, our local National Trust ranger.

As we gathered we said hello to many friends and neighbours and had a briefing about the purpose of the day.

Time for a group photo before we set off . . . courtesy of John and his tripod and self timer.

John Macfarlane, Mark Astley, myself, Ellie, Ian, Ian, Judy, David, Joan, Katherine (over the back) Richard,

Anna, Leon, Melinda, Rosamund, James, Beth, Les, Stuart and Andy.

We walked out into the wood where Mark divided the group, based on our preferred tasks.         ( photo by John )

- - - o o o - - -


     ( photo by John )

There's somewhere in the region of 800 primroses to plant.

so Joan and Judy make a start.


- - - o o o - - -

As a group of us head further into the woods,work was already well underway

planting wild flowers close to the seat and the lower bridge over Holme Beck.

We head up the waterfall track, spades in hand.

Next to a recent clearing, Ian introduced us to the task ahead.

In the bag are the tree saplings, alongside them the support stakes we will be using, these should survive a good few years then rot away naturally.

The innovation for today is the use of biodegradable starch tree guards.  They are more expensive than traditional plastic but don't need to be removed.

They too will biodegrade in a few years time once they have protected the new trees from the weather, from deer and other ground based nibblers !

The trees we are planting today are Aspen from Thorpe Trees Yorkshire
A slow demonstration as Ellie found a rocky place to dig.

One could just make a slit in the ground and drop the young trees in, but these are second year plants so there's more root growth than normal.

We've been asked to dig a hole and spread the roots more widely, covering them with as much soil as possible.

Stuart and I make a start . . .
Tree planted, staked and gently pressed home . . .
Add the tube, careful not to damage the sapling.

John's photo of Stuart and I as we get into the swing.

The trees were to be planted about 3 metres apart, preferably not under the canopy of existing trees.

     ( photos by John once again )

Ellie watches as the protective tube is carefully placed and strapped to the post.

That's great . . . now do it again, there's only 98 more to go !

- - - o o o - - -

Work progressed fast and soon it was time for a quick lunch stop.

That's me with three or four more samplings ready to plant after lunch.

About half of the trees would not be receiving the tube protection, so as to be able to ascertain (over time) whether the extra cost was worthwhile.

The sun made an occasional appearance so by this time jackets were placed to one side.

- - - o o o - - -

Once our group had completed our 'Aspen' task there was time to have a look at what else had been done.

On the walk up to the waterfall we passed several spots . . .
. . . where the  young primroses had been planted.

Above the falls, where a new forest track had been bulldozed through, the erosion and bare earth was a significant scar on the woods.

Today some of the guys had been raking the earth and spreading a special woodland flower mix.

Hopefully the range of about 40 different, specialist woodland seed types and the open aspect may help the forest floor recover more quickly

Quick view of Holme Force as we pass, looking good after recent rain.
On the way back down you could spot more of today's planting.

Along with the colourful Aspen, the group has also planted an avenue of small leafed Lime, one every 20 yards or so on the way up to the falls.

Given time (quite a bit of time it has to be said) this should support caterpillars and moths for the flycatchers and become another feature of the woods.

There are lime trees in the woods already of course, but mainly down by the lakeside.

Today's work done, it was time to head back down, passing our newly planted trees on the way.

- - - o o o - - -

For those that know the woods, the Trust has also employed a commercial contractor

who has planted about 5000 new saplings on the higher slopes where the majority of Larch were removed.

The iconic eye feature of the 'Loweswater Pheasant' Woods will also have to be cleared and removed, but hopefully another planting session

to fill the eye (socket) with colourful Aspen will help maintain the unique feature of this artistically shaped woodland, one of only two in Cumbria.

Not heard of the Loweswater Pheasant . . . read on.

The side of Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell was clear felled in the wartime and re-planted in the shape of a pheasant.

The shoulder area was already cleared when this photo was taken in 2022, much more has had to be felled since.

If it helps, hold your cursor over the photo to see the outline (sorry it may not work on some computers or tablets).

- - - o o o - - -

A quick meet up at the end of the session, where Mark and the team discussed the activities of the day and expressed their appreciation for everyone's help.

During today's specialist planting we managed to plant 100 Aspen, 30 Lime and over 800 primrose plug plants, plus the bag of seed mix.

Time will tell as to the success rate of the planting, but just a week later some of the larger primroses are already setting flowers.

A big thank you to the National Trust Team, both local and from Head Office.

Melinda, Ellie, Ian and Ian (I hope I've got you two in the right order), Leon, Mark and Anna.

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with my iPhone 11pro mobile phone camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . gloves, spade and sturdy footwear.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 15th March 2024 - Brundholme Woods

A previous time up here - 28th February - Hedge Laying Course

Next walk - 24th March 2024 - Watendlath & High Seat