Lake District wildlife haven becomes 'super national nature reserve'


Some 3,000 ha of forests, mountains and water in the Lake District has been designated as a Super National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Ennerdale has become the biggest nature reserve in Cumbria and the ninth largest in England. Natural England said the status gave the area protection from development.

Ennerdale is home to rare wildlife including Red Squirrel, Freshwater Pearl Mussel and Arctic Charr, as well as juniper and rare plant species. The area is managed by the Wild Ennerdale partnership, including Forestry England, the National Trust, United Utilities and Natural England.

Red Squirrel is found in the Ennerdale area of the Lake District (Clive Daelman).

It has been managed with sustainable grazing by hardy cattle, efforts to restore native trees and woods, restoring more natural river processes and planting juniper, helping nature recover.

Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England, said: "Ennerdale is a diverse and varied landscape which supports some of our most unique and precious wildlife. It has Freshwater Pearl Mussels that dwell in the river and which can live for 100 years and the Arctic Charr, a fish that has hung on in the valley since the last Ice Age."

The first super national nature reserve was designated in 2020, and the latest designation marks 70 years since the first NNRs were established to protect England's most important habitats.

Rachel Oakley, spokeswoman for the Wild Ennerdale Partnership, said: "We are constantly reminded of the nature and climate crisis we face now and for the future and this announcement shows how working together and prioritising nature can reap rewards for us all. Nature can thrive if given space and a helping hand and we are seeing tangible results of that in Ennerdale."