Skelsmergh and Scalthwaiterigg Parish Woodlands
Skelsmergh Parish Woodland

This small woodland is located between the A6 and the hamlet of Garth Row. By an Enclosure Award dated 1824 the land is owned by the parish council. Until 1999 the land was let annually as grazing but during the approach to the Millenium members of the parish council became attracted by the idea of creating a community woodland using the services of volunteers. The woodland is fully stocked with a wide range of broadleaved trees.

The Management Plan defines the following objectives:

  1. To manage the trees so as to bring to ultimate maturity a range of broadleaves at appropriate spacing whilst encouraging a diverse understorey and ground flora coupled with the maintenance of views into and from the site by the maintenance of a ride leading to the seat.
  2. To encourage wild birds by the selective siting of nesting boxes.
  3. To enhance the local landscape by introduction of wild flowers and shrub species to increase the interest of the site for the public.
  4. To ensure that the site remains accessible for the local community and the general public for informal recreation.
  5. To encourage use by local schools as an environmental studies resource.

Detailed guidance on the achievement of the objectives is to be found in the following documents:

Bee-hives are sited in the woodland and a local apiarist gives tuition in bee-keeping in the summer months. Income from honey sales goes towards upkeep. For further information follow this link.

Garth Row Quarry

Located on the opposite side of the A6 to the parish woodland this is a former ‘borrow-pit’, dating from the same Enclosure Award of 1824, now thoroughly naturalised. It remains in the ownership of the parish but there are no plans for active management.

Coldharbour Quarry

Another former ‘borrow-pit’, this small area of .11 acre is located on the north-east side of the A6 half-way between Garth Row and Watchgate. With the aid of a grant from Friends of the Lake District the boundary wall was restored in 2008 and the land subsequently planted with broadleaves. The land is not easily accessible and is intended simply to form a small landscape feature and wildlife refuge with minimal management input.

Land at Gurnal Bridge

Forming a narrow riverside strip adjacent to the River Sprint upstream of Gurnal Bridge this land is licensed to the council for public access by the Stephenson Trust. Various small-scale management tasks have been undertaken. A Millenium Seat was erected in 2000 but demolished by a falling tree in 2014. Replacement is being considered.

Oak Trees along the A6

The original Millenium Project, these are the 21 Oaks lining the east side of the A6 between Burton House and the Burneside junction. They were planted in 2000 by a small group led by a supervisor from Whinfell Institute and funded by Voluntary Action Cumbria. From this initiative sprang all the other local woodland projects.

Benson Knott ‘Quarry’ woodland

Assigned to the surveyor of highways for the then parishes of Scalthwaiterigg, Hay and Hutton i’the Hay by an enclosure award dated 1815 this woodland, on the north western flank of Benson Knott, is a historical anomaly. Its purpose as a stone quarry for highway repairs is spent, it is not accessible by the public from any right of way and it is subject to a perpetual right of grazing in favour of the adjoining land. It is quite a prominent landscape feature but its trees are over-mature and as there are few signs of natural regeneration it is likely to decline in future years. There are no plans to actively intervene at present.