Juniper is in decline in the U.K....Cumbria, with the most extensive stands in England, is no exception.
Juniper -- one of the first tree species to colonise Cumbria after the last ice age -- has been a feature on the fells ever since.
Juniper is adapted to extreme weather conditions, and thrives in the poor soil of the Lake District mountains.
Many of the trees are now very old; the few seedlings that they do manage to produce are heavily grazed by sheep and rabbits.
Juniper regeneration is so poor that it has been included in the Biodiversity Action Plan as a priority species for Cumbria.
|Digging out and scraping away the turf, prior to planting a seedling.|
Funding from the High Level Scheme has allowed for the planting of 500 seedlings high above Troutbeck Park Farm to boost numbers here over the long term.
|National Trust Land Rover with the plants and materials.|
|The power barrow taking the tools and materials on the next leg of the journey.|
|The quad bike and trailer also being used to transport|
the juniper seedlings, stakes and mesh guards.
|This is the point where it is too difficult for the quad bike to go any further.|
Everything has to now be manually carried up the long, steep slope .
| Clambering up into the mist with bundles of stakes and mesh guards.|
The designated planting site is still some distance away.....
|A young Juniper....approx 3 years old newly planted into bare ground. The turf has been stripped back from around where the juniper has been planted.|
|Juniper seedlings with plastic mesh guards to protect them from sheep and rabbits.|
Juniper is an important habitat:
It supports, or is host to over 40 types of insects, including the juniper carpet moth. The caterpillars feed exclusively on juniper.
The Ring Ouzel, an upland bird of the thrush family, feeds up on ripe juniper berries before its Autumn migration to Southern Spain, or the Atlas Mountains in North West Africa.
Various schemes, aimed at conserving juniper, will hopefully safeguard the long term future of this threatened species.