Logs roll out recycle challenge for Cumbria park

Henry Wild and his sprocker spaniel Mischief with some of the timber that the park has finally been able to extract

Henry Wild and his sprocker spaniel Mischief with some of the timber finally been able to be extracted

Red squirrels and red-blooded youngsters will be among those benefitting from an ambitious timber recycling project now underway at a major Lakeland caravan park.

Skelwith Fold near Ambleside says that new forest trails in its 130-acres of woodland have allowed the extraction of hundreds of fallen trees from over the last decade.

But the next stop for the oaks, ash, beech and conifers won’t be the timber merchants. Instead, they will return to the park in a raft of different guises.

Bird and red squirrel nesting boxes, and chippings to provide a soft landing for energetic youngsters in the park’s playground are just two of the many uses to which the trees will be put.

Many of the trees were victims of the savage storms which struck Cumbria in the winter of 2005, and which felled around 800 specimens across park.

Skelwith Fold owner Henry Wild said that he and his staff had come together to see just how many ways it would be possible to recycle their huge timber harvest.

The results, he said, convinced him to take the challenge of finding a new life for every splinter:

Skelwith Fold is surrounded by 130 acres of woodland

Skelwith Fold is surrounded by 130 acres of mature woodland

“There are so many purposes to which trees can be put, and they will create an amazing legacy here which will far more valuable to us than their cash worth,” said Henry.

“In addition to nesting boxes, we will be constructing park furniture such as outside seating, and making planters for flowers and shrubs, as well as timber fencing.

“We intend, as far as possible, to use traditional joinery and carpentry skills which will provide a valuable learning experience for our grounds staff.

“Many of the trees will also yield roofing beams and can be used on a new building project which we will be getting underway this year.

“Even smaller branches and roots can be put to work as “eco-piles” which, as they naturally age, create habitats for insects – which in turn provide food for birds.

“A big benefit of removing all the fallen trees is that it will now help the forest floor to regenerate with new plants and saplings, and that too has positive implications for wildlife.

“The extraction was a massive project that has taken over six months, but now we have this amazing timber stockpile and are determined not to let a single branch or twig go to waste!” added Henry.

Meanwhile, Skelwith Fold is now considering what other uses can be found for its new and extensive network of forest trails throughout the grounds.

Ideas put forward so far include an obstacle course which will challenge holidaymakers to get “down and dirty” as they try and create a new time record in their age class!

There is more information about the park at www.skelwith.com