200th tree planted in Haweswater Celebration Wood

As part of our work to restore the landscape here, we’re delighted to have planted the 200th tree in Celebration Wood, which neighbours the mossy ancient woodland of Naddle Forest here at Wild Haweswater.

Wild Haweswater is the base for ground-breaking landscape recovery work, which is the result of the pioneering partnership between us at the RSPB and landowner United Utilities and we’ve been working together on this since 2011, to enhance this beautiful landscape for the future, benefitting wildlife, water and people. 

Celebration Wood, one of several of our conservation projects at Wild Haweswater, is a unique place to plant a tree – to mark a special occasion such as an anniversary, or in memory of the life of a loved one.

It was set up on 1 February 2022 and today is its 2nd anniversary! Since then, Celebration Wood has grown in popularity as a way for both local people and those from further afield with a love of the Lake District, to leave a lasting legacy, benefiting wildlife, as well as helping to restore the native trees that have been lost from the landscape. The Lake District fells should be home to a whole host of native trees such as Downy Willow, Creeping Willow and Aspen, but they have mostly been lost to the English uplands or pushed to the very edges of the craggiest cliffs, by munching sheep and deer.

Some of our team manage the largest native tree and plant in the Lake District here at Wild Haweswater, where many of these species are grown. Our staff and volunteers gather the seeds in autumn, grow them on in the nursery and then plant them back out into the landscape as part of our restoration work. All the trees for Celebration Wood are also grown in this nursery and there is a choice of saplings for you to choose from including Sessile Oak, Alder, Willow, Rowan, Downy Birch, Aspen, Hawthorn, Crab Apple and Bird Cherry.  Celebration Wood supporters also select a pair of personalised ceramic tree markers, beautifully hand-crafted in the Lake District by local ceramist Coco Ceramics; one to keep and one to hang on their tree.

These trees are also all playing their part in helping nature in the Lake District National Park, for example, as an ancient native species, Sessile Oak supports more wildlife than any other tree in the British Isles. It provides habitat for several hundred species of insects, birds and many mosses, liverworts, lichens and more. 

Planting the 200th tree is an incredible milestone for Celebration Wood. When we started this scheme two years ago, we weren’t sure how the public would respond but it has been incredible. Every tree in Celebration Wood has a story – whether planted to celebrate a special occasion, anniversary, birthday, wedding, or in memory of a loved ones’ life.

“A lot of the woodland in the Lake District, particularly in the uplands, has been lost to over-grazing, so Celebration Wood is an ideal opportunity for people who have a love of this beautiful part of Cumbria, to support the recovery of this landscape, help us grow Haweswater’s beautiful woodland, improve the quality of drinking water in Haweswater reservoir and create a place for iconic wildlife such as Red Squirrels and Woodpeckers to thrive.”

– Bea Normington, our Celebration Wood Officer who set up the scheme at Haweswater

“Trees are a vital part of the solution to tackle climate change. We have worked with the RSPB to plant thousands more trees, alongside other important habitat work in the uplands, such as putting the bends back into Swindale Beck and blanket bog restoration.

“All of these measures lead to increased carbon storage, reduce the risk of downstream flooding by slowing the flow of water off the fells, naturally purify the water for drinking and benefit a wide range of wildlife and enhance the natural landscape for visitors.”

Andrew Wright, Woodland Officer at United Utilities, who own Wild Haweswater

Donations for a tree planting cover the cost of purchasing and caring for the tree as well as the creation and maintenance of Celebration Wood. To discover more about planting a tree, visit our website here.

Image credits
1) Celebration Wood Officer Bea planting the 200th tree – a Bird Cherry, inside a tree cage to protect it. Taken by Annabel Rushton
2) Celebration Wood is located on the edge of Naddle Forest – an area of ancient oak woodland and temperate rainforest here at Wild Haweswater. Taken by Bea Normington.
3) A beautiful ceramic tree marker, in the shape of an oak leaf, made by local ceramicist Coco Ceramics. Taken by Wild Intrigue.

Blog by Annabel Rushton, RSPB Visitor Experience Manager at Wild Haweswater

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