European Rewilding Network
059

Wild Ennerdale

Shaping the landscape naturally

Ennerdale is a spectacular upland landscape with rock outcrops, extensive woodland, dynamic natural rivers, a glacial lake and highly valued flora & fauna. The Wild Ennerdale Partnership has a future natural vision focused on releasing natural processes and enhancing the valley’s sense of wildness. 
The Wild Ennerdale project allows nature to shape the landscape and wildlife of the forest, which lies next to Ennerdale Water in the Lake District.
The Ennerdale valley was once covered by oak, elder and birch trees. Clearance began in the 15th century and forestry plantations lasted from the 1920s to 1990s.
John Malley
Natural lake-shore habitats of Ennerdale.
Wild Ennerdale
Wild Ennerdale is working on expanding the natural woodlands.
Wild Ennerdale

Lying on the northwestern edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, the Ennerdale Valley boasts some of England’s most vibrant natural environments. It is also home to one of the longest running ecological restoration projects in the UK, with the Wild Ennerdale partnership allowing the landscape here to evolve naturally with decreasing human intervention.

The 17-year-old partnership, one of the UK’s largest wild land partnerships, is a collaboration between people and organisations led by The National Trust, The Forestry Commission and United Utilities (as the primary land owners in the valley), and Natural England, the British government’s advisor on the environment.

The aim of the partnership is to shift focus from piecemeal land ownership to a pioneering, one-valley, landscape-scale approach. An innovative way of upland management that blurs the boundaries between forestry and farming, the partnership is also a showcase for promoting natural river hydrology, with the River Liza, which flows through the valley, representing one of England’s most naturally dynamic river systems. 

Project: Wild Ennerdale
Region: Cumbria, The Lake District
Type of protection: 45% Special Area of Conservation or Site of Special Scientific Interest 34 hectares of schedule ancient monument
Habitat types: River, lake, ancient woodland, plantation forest, mire, montane sub-mountain and subalpine grassland, scree and exposed rock, pastoral farmland
Keystone species: Red and roe deer, Sitka spruce, sheep, cattle, freshwater mussel, arctic charr, red squirrel, salmon and trout and over 100 bird species.
Fauna (mega) species present: Galloway cattle, Red and Roe deer
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Methods and experiences to allow natural numbers and densities of native, wild or rewilded species, Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild, Successful agreements with hunting entities about sustainable hunting and the development of wildlife watching tourism, in order to bring back wildlife in natural numbers, Successful agreements with water management entities about changing water management methods to allow for natural processes, Successful examples of enterprises that are based on economic values of the wild and that contribute to rewilding through generating revenues, business, jobs and income
Aim and vision: Allowing the landscape to evolve naturally with reducing human intervention.
To allow the evolution of Ennerdale as a wild valley for the benefit of people, relying more on natural processes to shape its landscape and ecology.
Uniqueness of the project: Wild Ennerdale is one of the UK’s largest wild land partnerships. It is widely recognised for its partnership working, future natural approach and for pioneering innovative ways of upland management which blur boundaries between forestry and farming. In addition, It is a flagship for promoting natural river hydrological process through the River Liza.
Other activities: Community involved, Education, Recreational activities, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: To see more healthy functioning ecosystem processes driving dynamic habitats and inspiring others to be more natural process and habitat structure focussed.
Results so far: • 17 years of partnership working, shifting focus from piecemeal land ownership to a pioneering one valley landscape scale approach.
• Planting of over 40,000 native tree species and natural uphill expansion of existing native Side Wood.
• Move from intensive sheep to extensive cattle grazing across much of the valley and provided advocacy for wider similar changes in other parts of Cumbria.
• Passionate and enthusiastic volunteer group contribute equivalent of 2 full time staff per annum and act as local advocates.
• New heath land created, and valley bottom mire restoration.
• Reintroduced Marsh Fritillary (Butterfly) now one of the Uk’s largest and most healthy populations.
• Watercourse restoration, restoration of Artic charr population and maintenance of red squirrel population.
• Historic landscape mapping and management plan.
• Recognition of wildland in the Lake District World Heritage Status inscription.
• Pioneering farming and forestry integration.
Inspirational value: Wild Ennerdale offers the opportunity to observe, learn and share with others. As we try to operate alongside natural processes we are excited to see how the valley changes and develops. The valleys big 3 landscapes of mountain, forest and water combined with the Partnership’s future natural vision are pioneering in the context of typical upland management in the UK.
Experience you would like to share: The River Liza, one of England’s most natural dynamic river systems. Extensive cattle plunging through the river or appearing out of the forest.Spawning Arctic charr, atlantic oakwood “rainforest” and subalpine dwarf juniper and willow remnants. The valleys sense of tranquillity. Partnership working and advocacy, forgetting who owns what and working as one landowner.
Experience you would like to gain: More understanding of river and forest natural processes. Best practices in species reintroductions. Approaches to tourism that do not detract from the sense of wildness or impact on natural processes. Local community engagement: opportunities & challenges.
Map
Country
UK, England
Start year
2003
Size (ha)
4750
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic, Freshwater lakes, Marine: coastal
Natural process
Flooding, Natural grazing, Other, River dynamics
Flagship species
Feral cattle, Red deer, Roe deer
Wild Ennerdale
Ennerdale is a spectacular upland landscape with rock outcrops, extensive woodland, dynamic natural rivers, a glacial lake and highly valued flora & fauna. The Wild Ennerdale Partnership has a future natural vision focused on releasing natural processes and enhancing the valley’s sense of wildness. 
The Wild Ennerdale project allows nature to shape the landscape and wildlife of the forest, which lies next to Ennerdale Water in the Lake District.
The Ennerdale valley was once covered by oak, elder and birch trees. Clearance began in the 15th century and forestry plantations lasted from the 1920s to 1990s.
John Malley
Natural lake-shore habitats of Ennerdale.
Wild Ennerdale
Wild Ennerdale is working on expanding the natural woodlands.
Wild Ennerdale

Lying on the northwestern edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, the Ennerdale Valley boasts some of England’s most vibrant natural environments. It is also home to one of the longest running ecological restoration projects in the UK, with the Wild Ennerdale partnership allowing the landscape here to evolve naturally with decreasing human intervention.

The 17-year-old partnership, one of the UK’s largest wild land partnerships, is a collaboration between people and organisations led by The National Trust, The Forestry Commission and United Utilities (as the primary land owners in the valley), and Natural England, the British government’s advisor on the environment.

The aim of the partnership is to shift focus from piecemeal land ownership to a pioneering, one-valley, landscape-scale approach. An innovative way of upland management that blurs the boundaries between forestry and farming, the partnership is also a showcase for promoting natural river hydrology, with the River Liza, which flows through the valley, representing one of England’s most naturally dynamic river systems. 

Map
Country
UK, England
Start year
2003
Size (ha)
4750
Area type
Forest-grassland mosaic, Freshwater lakes, Marine: coastal
Natural process
Flooding, Natural grazing, Other, River dynamics
Flagship species
Feral cattle, Red deer, Roe deer
Specification
Project: Wild Ennerdale
Region: Cumbria, The Lake District
Type of protection: 45% Special Area of Conservation or Site of Special Scientific Interest 34 hectares of schedule ancient monument
Habitat types: River, lake, ancient woodland, plantation forest, mire, montane sub-mountain and subalpine grassland, scree and exposed rock, pastoral farmland
Keystone species: Red and roe deer, Sitka spruce, sheep, cattle, freshwater mussel, arctic charr, red squirrel, salmon and trout and over 100 bird species.
Fauna (mega) species present: Galloway cattle, Red and Roe deer
Description
Type of project: Large-scale rehabilitations of natural processes, including herbivores, carnivores and/or scavengers being present, Methods and experiences to allow natural numbers and densities of native, wild or rewilded species, Projects based on a stewardship anchored in respect for land, water, and all living things, with a management striving to support natural processes and utilize nature’s own mechanism, Re-introductions / re-stockings of locally extinct or rare key wildlife species, or breeding of such species with the goal to release them into the wild, Successful agreements with hunting entities about sustainable hunting and the development of wildlife watching tourism, in order to bring back wildlife in natural numbers, Successful agreements with water management entities about changing water management methods to allow for natural processes, Successful examples of enterprises that are based on economic values of the wild and that contribute to rewilding through generating revenues, business, jobs and income
Aim and vision: Allowing the landscape to evolve naturally with reducing human intervention.
To allow the evolution of Ennerdale as a wild valley for the benefit of people, relying more on natural processes to shape its landscape and ecology.
Uniqueness of the project: Wild Ennerdale is one of the UK’s largest wild land partnerships. It is widely recognised for its partnership working, future natural approach and for pioneering innovative ways of upland management which blur boundaries between forestry and farming. In addition, It is a flagship for promoting natural river hydrological process through the River Liza.
Other activities: Community involved, Education, Recreational activities, Research, Sale of sustainable products
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: To see more healthy functioning ecosystem processes driving dynamic habitats and inspiring others to be more natural process and habitat structure focussed.
Results so far: • 17 years of partnership working, shifting focus from piecemeal land ownership to a pioneering one valley landscape scale approach.
• Planting of over 40,000 native tree species and natural uphill expansion of existing native Side Wood.
• Move from intensive sheep to extensive cattle grazing across much of the valley and provided advocacy for wider similar changes in other parts of Cumbria.
• Passionate and enthusiastic volunteer group contribute equivalent of 2 full time staff per annum and act as local advocates.
• New heath land created, and valley bottom mire restoration.
• Reintroduced Marsh Fritillary (Butterfly) now one of the Uk’s largest and most healthy populations.
• Watercourse restoration, restoration of Artic charr population and maintenance of red squirrel population.
• Historic landscape mapping and management plan.
• Recognition of wildland in the Lake District World Heritage Status inscription.
• Pioneering farming and forestry integration.
Exchange
Inspirational value: Wild Ennerdale offers the opportunity to observe, learn and share with others. As we try to operate alongside natural processes we are excited to see how the valley changes and develops. The valleys big 3 landscapes of mountain, forest and water combined with the Partnership’s future natural vision are pioneering in the context of typical upland management in the UK.
Experience you would like to share: The River Liza, one of England’s most natural dynamic river systems. Extensive cattle plunging through the river or appearing out of the forest.Spawning Arctic charr, atlantic oakwood “rainforest” and subalpine dwarf juniper and willow remnants. The valleys sense of tranquillity. Partnership working and advocacy, forgetting who owns what and working as one landowner.
Experience you would like to gain: More understanding of river and forest natural processes. Best practices in species reintroductions. Approaches to tourism that do not detract from the sense of wildness or impact on natural processes. Local community engagement: opportunities & challenges.
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