Imagine standing in one of the wildest landscapes in England, looking up the valley and seeing Scots pine and native woodland stretching into the distance along a meandering burn. Black grouse forage below and golden eagles soar above.
This is the future we see for the land along the Scaup Burn at Kielderhead, stretching up to the Whitelee Nature Reserve and on towards the border.
Pollen analysis shows prehistoric woodland here with alder, birch, elm and willow, as well as Scots pine, of which a few survive.
Our plan is to bring all this back, restoring natural processes and rebuilding the healthy ecosystems that help with carbon storage and water quality. By using local seed stock and giving nature a helping hand we will increase biodiversity and build a really resilient ecosystem. In the long term, the habitat we create would allow for the reintroduction and encouragement of species such as beaver and pine marten.
Kielderhead covers thousands of acres and is the ideal place for one of the most ambitious restoration projects in the country. In partnership with the Forestry Commission, who own the land, we have received an initial development grant of £20,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to progress the plans and apply for the full grant needed to deliver the first phase of the project, which will see us planting over 30,000 trees between 2018 and 2022. We will keep you posted on developments.
The project will give members of the public unparalleled opportunities to learn about our natural heritage and experience a special sense of wilderness. Much of the restoration work will be carried out by volunteers, and engaging and training them will be vital to the delivery of the project.