Restoring Hardknott Forest - 3 day conservation weekend
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This is a unique chance to really get to know the strikingly beautiful Duddon Valley by working to help restore its native forest. This is a three-night event.
Restoring Hardknott Forest is an exciting project to restore one of the largest conifer plantations in the Lake District to native woodland. Non-native trees are gradually being removed and replaced with native species such as oak. The Project is a partnership between Forestry England and the University of Leeds. They are combining practical conservation, informed by research and monitoring, to create and restore 630 hectares of native woodland and other wildlife rich habitats.
The local area is known to support rare mammal species such as dormice, otters and red squirrels, and birds increasingly seen here include great spotted woodpeckers, jays and bullfinches. Monitoring of the wildlife and vegetation is an ongoing and fascinating part of the project. Learn more about the project here.
A regular location for our annual Hidden Lakes camps, this year, we will be staying at The Birks, a recently restored farmhouse, which provides comfortable but basic accommodation for students and conservation work groups.
We really get the best of both worlds on this event; you will get the chance to learn actively about techniques used in forest conservation, and the rewilding movement in general, as well as having a day and a half for walking/exploring the area. And all in a familiar OutdoorLads setting.
The schedule is still flexible but is likely to be:
- Friday: arrivals and buffet
- Saturday: Breakfast and prepare lunch, meet local project manager for intro talk and tool collection, walk to work site for day of work. Return to accommodation for evening meal.
- Sunday: Half day working, rest of day for walking/resting. Return to accommodation for evening meal.
- Monday: we will organise a proper walk then return home.
PLEASE NOTE - one of the leaders is planning to bring one very well behaved dog.
- Restoring_Hardknott with permission of John Hodgson
- The_Birks_Winter courtesy of The Birks/The Grove School
- All other photos leaders own and used with full permission
IMPORTANT! - Participation Statement
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COVID-19 – IMPORTANT, Please read the following before you sign up to this event:
- Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are extremely mild, or who lives or is in a support bubble with someone showing symptoms, is asked not to attend. This is in line with the government’s coronavirus advice.
- You must also immediately self-isolate and not attend the event if you or someone in your household or support bubble shows coronavirus symptoms or tests positive. Read the NHS self-isolation guidance.
- OutdoorLads strongly encourages all attendees to take a rapid lateral flow test immediately prior to attending an event. This will help to keep everyone safe. Order free Rapid Lateral Flow Tests.
What to bring
At the accommodation:
- Comfy warm clothes
- spare shoes/slippers
- All Beds have single mattresses – You will need to bring all bedding / towels (Sheets/pillows/sleeping bags)
In addition to the usual warm and waterproof stuff we normally expect on a hill in early spring, remember that we will be working with sharp tools on rough ground...wellies and your second best waterproofs would be ideal! We will be in an elevated site too so remember lots of warm layers!
Day Rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Hand sanitiser and a face covering: whilst we are living with Covid-19, please bring your own to events to help keep everyone safe
Water: bring at least two litres in a water bottle, or better still, a hydration bladder
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Waterproof bags: keep spare clothing, electronics and anything else dry even when your rucksack leaks by using Ziploc type food bags or, better still, outdoor activity waterproof bags
Boots: waterproof and breathable hiking boots with good ankle support
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters, and carry a spare, dry pair
Walking Poles: always optional, love them or hate them, but give them a try and decide for yourself
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry.
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain.
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Emergency equipment: the walk leader will bring any emergency equipment required for the group, but you are welcome to bring any that you have, such as additional high energy food, a survival bag, a whistle, a medical kit, a torch and something to make fire (either storm proof matches or a firelighter
Map and compass: the walk leader will have these, but if you like map reading or want to develop your skills, bring yours along
Mobile Phone: keep it in a waterproof bag for use in emergencies, and a spare battery/charger is a good idea
Food & drink
Evening meals and breakfast will be provided but you will need to bring a contribution to the Friday evening shared buffet (enough for two people, home-made and/or creative goes down a treat!).
You will also need something for lunch on both Saturday and Sunday - bring energy dense treats for a long day out!
Bring your own drinks should you want anything other than tea & coffee that is provided. A flask is thoroughly recommended.
Also, we are a long way from the pub so if you are partial to a sherry in the evening, do plan ahead. We will be expecting people to be fit to work, however.