Cumbria Wildlife Trust is celebrating the culmination of a five-year project at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve, to combine habitat restoration with restorative low-input farming and people engagement.
Funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project has involved the planting of 10,150 trees and restoration of six hectares of hay meadow.
Volunteers have contributed more than 1,200 days of work, delivered 47 skills courses to 500 people, reached more than 1,200 people through 173 art workshops and engaged more than 3,250 people with nature across 233 events.
More than 28,000 people have visited the reserve during the five year period.
A spokesman for Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “In 2017 we blocked 20 man-made ditches that were draining water into Naddles Beck and created 29 wetland scrapes, a series of shallow pools that provide wildlife habitats.
A recent study has revealed that aquatic invertebrates have benefited from the creation of these pools as there are now eight species of dragonfly breeding on the nature reserve, with the most exciting being the broad-bodied chaser, which is spreading northwards but is still considered rare in Cumbria.
“In the last few months of the project, a brand new public right of way from the Mungrisdale road on to the nature reserve has been installed by the Lake District National Park Authority.
“This has seen the construction of two additional footbridges, funded by the Lake District Ramblers’ Association and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, on the west side of the nature reserve to enable access over Naddles Beck.
“We have installed new interpretation panels welcoming visitors at this side of the reserve and provided information on the wildlife in the pools and wetland areas.
“Finally, we’ve waymarked a path to the summit of Eycott Hill allowing visitors to follow a route through the uneven and boggy ground. We thank the local landowners for their co-operation and we hope local residents and visitors enjoy the new footpath.
“As a result of a three-month extension to the project, due to the COVID-19 situation, the Eycott Hill project officers have been busy creating a series of educational resources based around the nature reserve for children, young adults and students. T
“The resources include fact files and activity sheets on hay meadows, wild flowers, geology and natural history, all of which can be downloaded from our website.”
Nichola Jackson, Eycott Hill communication and events officer, said: “The Eycott Hill project has been truly wonderful to deliver and has included a huge range of activities, from the habitat management and reserve works to all the events engaging people of all ages in wildlife and nature.
“Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, attended an event, taken part in a skills course or visited the nature reserve. The support we have received throughout the project has been instrumental to its success, so thank you.”
Cumbria Wildlife Trust will continue to look after Eycott Hill Nature Reserve, a 216-hectare site of exceptionally rich wildlife habitat, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for the plants in the swamps and mires and its geology.”