West Cumbria Rivers Trust and Hayton Castle Fields are upskilling local volunteers to protect wildlife and their own homes

Jayne Mann


West Cumbria Rivers Trust is working with Hayton Castle Fields and the local community to clean up the local woodland and river to create a haven for people and wildlife and aims to reduce flooding downstream of the site. The cleanup is part of a weekly permaculture project and allows the young people involved to learn about woodland ecosystems, as well as woodworking and construction skills. Funded through The Community Challenge Fund, set up by The Rivers Trust and the Greggs Foundation, the project is currently attended by Mayfield School and Lakes College students.
Local volunteer Claire says, ‘My three kids love visiting the Castle and getting involved in the project, it’s a fantastic way of getting to know the community and learning about the outdoors.'
The woods in Hatyon has been previously used as a dumping ground and the trees are very overgrown. The project plans to remove fly-tipping and invasive plants from Patten Beck and prevent further rubbish from being thrown. The project also hopes to thin overgrown trees to benefit water and land habitats and create leaky dams in the wet woodland areas where flood waters can be safely stored to reduce flooding in downstream Allonby.
Rosie from West Cumbria Rivers Trust said ‘This is one of the best projects I’ve been involved with, we are upskilling local people, protecting the environment and the river and helping to prevent people’s homes flooding, not many projects can make such big claims’
In the last month, West Cumbria Rivers Trust have been thinning the trees and lots of enthusiastic volunteers have been involved in moving the logs and creating wildlife habitat piles from the brash. One of the trees is already in place as the first leaky dam, but the next will be a living dam made of willow and hazel which allows a constant flow of water through, but safely holds back any excess water in floods. The trust have also moved one truckload of fly-tipping from the site but have much more to move. There is still lots to do, so if you would like to be involved, please contact: [email protected]. leaky-dam-west-cumbria-rivers-trust Finally, West Cumbria Rivers Trust is planning to sensitively construct an access route into the woodland and bog for groups of all abilities to learn about river and woodland conservation and see the leaky dams for years to come. For more information on this project please visit the West Cumbria Rivers Trust website.
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