Lowther Park forest plan
Lowther Park comprises of four forest blocks, Lowther Park, Sillathwaite Wood, Uldale and Dent, together forming of 344ha of mostly coniferous forest. Lowther Park is situated 5km east of Egremont, 2km south of Cleator Moor and is just outside of the north western boundary of the Lake District National Park. All of Lowther Park is owned freehold having been purchased in six separate conveyances between 1928 and 1973. This is the fourth revision of the Lowther Park Forest Plan, the first was approved in 1997, while the last revision was in 2009. A substantial amendment was made in 2014 to prioritise the felling of larch crops and their subsequent restocking, in light of the then developing Phytophthora Ramorum outbreak, these works have largely been completed following a significant larch felling programme in 2021-2022. This plan largely draws from earlier works, with a greater focus on restocking to replace the lost larch crops.
Recreationally, Lowther Park is managed primarily for quiet, low-key recreational activity, with walking and cycling being the focus. Illegal access by motorbike riders continues to be an ongoing problem in the forest.
- successful restock sites and underplanting operations with minimised pest damage. Successful natural regeneration where appropriate to utilise natural processes.
- clearfell sites of productive conifer to be restocked with similar species mixes where appropriate to maintain the productive capacity of the forest.
- delivery of Forest Plan felling/thinning proposals of commercially marketable parcels of timber to maintain sustainable productivity of the forest.
- continue to retain stands of older crop where possible, considering stability and plant health, to increase structural diversity in the forest to provide landscape and environmental benefits.
- improved riparian zones through broadleaf planting.
- expansion of the Low Impact Silvicultural Systems areas will allow for increased light and resulting improvements to diversity via thinning.
- increased landscape diversity through new species planting will improve the visual appeal of the forest for visitors.
- continue to maintain a desirable forest landscape for visitors, quiet atmosphere, and opportunities for low-key recreation. Explore opportunities for improved parking provision.
- historic features will be routinely identified and protected during our planning and implementation of forest operations.
What we’ll do
Lowther Park has undergone a significant change during the last plan period as large areas of larch which had been infected by Phytophthora Ramorum have been felled. In this plan period the last remaining pure larch crops will also be felled. Larch represented nearly a quarter of the forest in 2020, a figure which has been depleted to just 6% today
The opportunity to create new mixed stands will improve the forest in the period after this felling takes place, with an increased variety of conifer and broadleaf species proposed when compared to the current forest composition.
This plan creates opportunities to increase the areas managed under Low Impact Silvicultural Systems to the long-term benefit of the forest, through increased age, species, and structural diversity.
This plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking over several decades, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2033.
For further information regarding species composition and the future management of Lowther Park, please refer to the full plan below.