We are well into the swing of summer, so we thought it was about time we updated you on the work we’ve been doing with our Community Interest Company, Buy Land Plant Trees.
When we last updated you, we had just planted 25,000 trees in our 13-acre field. They are now really starting to establish themselves and the areas without trees have blossomed with beautiful meadow flowers such as valerian, meadowsweet, dog rose and honeysuckle which makes it smell gorgeous down there. With all the extra vegetation this year, it is already humming with wildlife – birds, insects, bees, all sorts! It is lovely and we can’t wait to see it continue to develop over time.
Back in the winter, you may remember that we bought a large piece of land (100 acres to be exact) at the back of Low Fell near Loweswater in the Lake District. Well…we have some news: we have now bought nearly 60 acres at the front! This means we own a whole mountain (albeit a little low one)! And the other great thing is that neighbouring landowners are already restoring their land to better wildlife habitat so that makes around 225 acres of land being restored in total.
The whole reason behind why we have Buy Land Plant Trees is to act locally to help reduce and further prevent the effects of climate change. Everything we’ve done in our seven-acre and 13-acre field has been in line with that and Low Fell will be no different! Not only will we be planting trees on Low Fell but we will also be re-establishing moorland and restoring a peat bog too all of which will increase carbon capture, help with local flood mitigation and increase habitats for local wildlife.
Our immediate priorities will be to fix the fences, give the land a rest from grazing, let the heather, juniper and bilberry already on the fell recover and start the process of restoring the peat bog. Lots to keep us busy!
In the longer term, we plan to plant a wide variety of vegetation on the fell with tree species such as rowan, hawthorn, blackthorn, crab-apple, birch, alder and aspen. We’ll also be increasing the volume of scrub and moorland plants, accelerating the goals of the higher-level stewardship scheme for moorland restoration the fell is currently under. By planting out the land sensitively with a wide variety of vegetation the hope is that a more diverse mosaic of habitats will be created for local wildlife, whilst the planting of tree types such as willow and alder in specific areas on the fell will help to contribute to flood alleviation in the local area – an area which has suffered in recent years with flooding of land and homes.
The restoration of the peat bog is a really exciting part of the project and something we haven’t had the opportunity to do with our other pieces of land. In the long term, the bog will act as a significant carbon store with the potential to hold 30–70kg of carbon per cubic meter, alongside the capability of holding up to 20 times its own weight in water which will further contribute to flood prevention in the area. The hope is that the peat bog will also help to attract a wealth of plants, animals and insects that inhabit peatlands, currently extremely scarce due to the decrease in peatland across the UK.
Eventually, we would also like to promote agroforestry on Low Fell by getting some livestock back on the land, working alongside the increased vegetation. We already work closely with the local farming community to source the Herdwick wool for our products so we’d love to get a few Herdies up there and demonstrate that farming and tree planting can work hand in hand.
So, that’s all the news for now! We just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you once again for your support via your purchases with Chimney Sheep. It helps us continue to do what we can for the planet and for our local community.
Until next time.