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Upper Duddon Landscape Recovery

A group of farmers, landowners and environmental organisations have successfully formed a partnership to work together to plan landscape-scale nature recovery in the upper Duddon Valley.

The DEFRA-funded Landscape Recovery scheme is designed to work with farmers and other land managers to manage the land in ways that will improve soil and water quality and reverse the decline in nature.

The Upper Duddon partnership is one of 22 successful projects selected across England. The two-year development phase started in January 2023 to scope out potential options to farm and manage the land in ways that will help nature thrive and recover. At the end of this development phase local farmers involved in the partnership will have the option to enter a 20-year scheme to implement the changes on their land that they have helped design.

The development phase will work with farmers to explore how existing agri-environment schemes could be enhanced and expanded, with farmers receiving payments for environmental benefits provided.

The multi-partner project includes Forestry England, National Trust, South Cumbria Rivers Trust, University of Cumbria and University of Leeds and Natural England.

The project builds on existing environmental projects in the upper Duddon. The Restoring Hardknott Forest project will continue to work with Forestry England to restore native woodland on their site. The South Cumbria Rivers Trust will explore possible river restoration work on the upper Duddon and its tributaries. The University of Cumbria’s Back On Our Map project will contribute their expertise on the recovery of rare flora and fauna.

The work is likely to explore options for restoration of native woodland, wood pasture, heath, scrub, and peat bogs. It will also include the necessary feasibility studies to enable the future restoration of rare species, potentially including water voles, globeflowers, tree pipits and pine marten. This long term partnership will help ensure a vibrant future for small farms in the Upper Duddon and will provide employment for local people through the creation of new jobs.

During the two year planning phase there will be opportunities to find out more at local meetings and site visits, and from the organisations involved.

View our interactive story map here and read our detailed blog here.

Please contact John Hodgson ( if you’d like to find out more.