Restoring Hardknott Forest - 3 day conservation weekend

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Hostels and Bunkhouses
Mar 17

15 people attending

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Manual work, rough terrain, carrying hand tools, plus mountain walking.

Now an established ODL fave, 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: wPossibility of longer walk or simply return home.

Photo credits:

  • 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


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Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are extremely mild, or who has recently tested positive for Covid-19, is asked not to attend


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