Lake District’s Ancient Rainforest to Gain National Nature Reserve Status

In an ambitious move to safeguard one of the UK’s most precious natural habitats, the National Trust and Natural England have unveiled plans to declare Borrowdale’s temperate rainforest in the Lake District a National Nature Reserve (NNR).

This initiative aims to protect and enhance the largest remaining section of England’s native rainforest, a habitat as vital and vibrant as its tropical counterparts, despite the cooler climate.

Borrowdale, renowned for its significant rainfall, hosts a unique ecosystem that mirrors the biodiversity of a tropical rainforest within the UK’s temperate setting.

The proposed NNR designation marks a significant step towards recognizing and preserving the area’s rich natural and cultural heritage, which has been shaped by centuries of fell farming.

The project will commence with the conservation of 35 hectares of woodland, with plans to expand by linking isolated patches of forest to create continuous wildlife corridors.

These efforts are designed to bolster the forest’s resilience, encourage biodiversity, and facilitate the natural regeneration of this ancient habitat.

Collaboration with the local farming community is at the heart of this project.

The National Trust emphasises the importance of integrating traditional land management practices with modern conservation efforts to achieve the best outcomes for Borrowdale’s landscape and its inhabitants.

By supporting farmers in accessing conservation funding, the initiative aims to harmonize agricultural practices with ecological preservation.

Jade Allen, National Nature Reserve Officer, expressed enthusiasm for the project, highlighting its potential to protect and rejuvenate Borrowdale’s rainforests.

“Our goal is for these woodlands to thrive once again, improving biodiversity and reconnecting fragmented habitats to create a more robust ecosystem,” Allen stated.

The project also seeks to deepen the connection between the community and the natural world, celebrating Borrowdale’s rich history and its role in the broader landscape.

As the application process progresses, a decision on the NNR designation is eagerly anticipated this spring.

This landmark project represents a hopeful future for the Lake District’s rainforests, ensuring they remain a haven for wildlife and a source of inspiration for generations to come.

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