Cumbrian farm saved from development


Farmland on the edge of Penrith, Cumbria, which was earmarked for development will now become a nature reserve after part of the family holding was passed to Cumbria Wildlife Trust (CWT).

The land was part of Cold Springs Farm, owned by Brian Clark until his death in 2004. After Clark died, some of the land was sold for development but his wife, Ann, battled to hand some of the farm to CWT.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is planting native trees and bushes to boost food availability for migrant species like Redwing (Andy Thompson).

Before she died in 2021, Ann said: "I am entrusting this land to Cumbria Wildlife Trust and have complete confidence that they will use it effectively, for nature and people."

Simon Whalley, CWT's head of community development, said: "It is very generous. They have changed the lives of a lot of people who live in Penrith for the future, for sure."

The 14-ha site will be called Cold Springs Community Nature Reserve. Native trees and bushes such as hazel, elder, hawthorn and blackthorn have already been planted on site.

It is hoped that increased availability of autumn berries on the site, which will become wood pasture, will attract thrushes and warblers. There will be a circular route around the reserve once a new path is added and a closed path is re-opened following construction work by Persimmon Homes on adjacent land.

Discussing the management plan for the site, Whalley added: "All the flowers that go in will be attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies. The idea is to also put in some extra benches for people to sit on and take it all in."

Interpretation boards will also be added to help visitors to the site engage with nature and learn about the species present. Furthermore, CWT will add a pond, a sensory garden area and a community orchard.