Restoring Hardknott Forest  


The Forestry Commission is undertaking an exciting project to restore Hardknott Forest, one of the largest conifer plantations in the Lake District, to native woodland.

Hardknott forest is a 600 hectare conifer plantation in the upper reaches of the Duddon valley in the Lake District. It was planted in the 1930s after strong local opposition. Now, 70 years later, the forest plantations are reaching maturity. After consultation with local people and organisations the Forestry Commission has decided to restore the entire plantation into native habitats of oak and birch woodland, bogs and open ground. This initiative represents a historic opportunity to create the largest semi-natural woodland in the Lake District; linking Hardknott Forest with the existing Duddon Valley Woodlands, a series of ancient oak woodlands that snake down the valley and all the way to the coast.

In partnership with the Forestry Commission, we are assiting with practical restoration activities and research. Volunteers from the University of Leeds, Scottish Rural University College, and the John Muir Trust have contributed over 1000 days of conservation work.

Regular volunteer days are the second Sunday and the fourth Tuesday of each month and run from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

To find out more or if you are interested in helping out please contact John Hogdson, Harknott Forest Project Officer (j.h.hodgson[at]