Woodlands and Forestry

woodlandsWe all, instinctively, want to protect our woodlands. We find comfort in our native trees – the Ash of Cumbria, the coppiced hazel and thick-girthed sessile Oak under the cliffs and caves of the Eden between Armathwaite and Wetheral. We are interested in the ancient woodland of the Fairy Tables along the Black Lyme, because its soil – undisturbed for hundreds of years – preserves unusual lichen and insects.

Timber processing brings 600 million pounds a year to Penrith and the Border, and provides employment (through BSW, Jenkinson’s and others) for 2,500 people – more than a third of the total number of forestry and wood-processing jobs in England. And it is a good industry.

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Rory Stewart MP has met with representatives from United Utilities and Eden District Council to explore solutions to the failing drainage system in Penrith’s Weatherigg’s Park, which has caused sewerage to be washed up onto pathways and grass verges throughout the park, during heavy downpours. The park, which is located between Clifford Road and the A66, is well […]

Border Country


Rory Stewart MP was delighted to visit BSW Timber’s Carlisle sawmill recently, to see the work of one of the constituency’s largest employers and to find out about its incredible rate of recent growth, praising the ‘huge potential for the timber industry in Cumbria, for Cumbrians.’ The local MP met with with Hamish Macleod, Director […]



The British forestry industry produced a record 12 million tonnes of wood in 2014, increasing wood production in the UK by a third since 2008 and fuelling the country’s one nation economy, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss will announce today. The trend spells good news for the 40,000 people employed in the £1.9 billion British forestry […]

Ash dieback

rory calls for cumbria pilot to fight ash dieback following emergency meeting

Rory has called for Cumbria to take the national lead in protecting our ash trees from Ash dieback disease. On Saturday, the local MP called a meeting of the Penrith and the Border forestry and woodlands ‘think-tank’ specifically to discuss the issue. The extensive conversation drew in representatives from the Forestry Commission, the National School […]


press statement on ash dieback (chalara fraxinea) in cumbria

“I am extremely saddened to hear that the first case of ash dieback has been found here in Cumbria, in Aspatria. Given our county’s woodland cover – and the great importance of our ash trees culturally, environmentally and of course economically – I shall be convening an emergency meeting of our constituency forestry and woodlands […]


rory joins DEFRA secretary of state to herald ‘a landmark year for forestry’

Rory joined Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP, former Forestry Commission Chair Lord Clark of Windermere, and George Webb, Chairman of Confor (the national member organisation promoting forests and woodland) at a conference in London last week, where he contributed to a wide-ranging debate on the future of forestry, including issues around protection of […]

Cumbria forest

Lessons from our woodlands

If you had climbed the pale soaking fell-grass out of Bewcastle, and passed the Bloody Bush, you would have seen Tynedale:  close-cropped pasture behind dry-stone walls,  owner-occupied farms, Milburns and Dodds, and the bastle-houses of bandits, converted to barns. But now the shape of the valley can only be guessed at. A rough carpet of […]

Cumbria forest

Rory’s think-tank manifesto for Penrith and the Border’s Woodlands

A local think-tank, formed by Rory, has submitted an ambitious proposal for Penrith and the Border’s woodlands to the Independent Forestry Panel (IFP) on the occasion of its visit to Cumbria. The think-tank’s ambitious “fifty-year vision” for Penrith and the Border, includes ensuring an increase in commercial wood supply; that investment in apprenticeships and education […]