By Simon Whalley, Head of Community Development at Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Cumbria Wildlife Trust is working in partnership with the local community, Eden Rivers Trust, and Penrith Town Council to develop the Cold Springs Community Nature Reserve and to link up green spaces in the town. Following consultation with the local community, conservation work has started this year at the site, on land gifted to the Trust by Ann and Brian Clark.
Local people at the heart of Cold Springs
Our way of working on this new Community Nature Reserve was to consult widely locally and then develop a local Steering Group. The Steering Group is made up of representatives of local groups and will help navigate a positive way forward.
The funding from the development year of the Access to Eden: breaking barriers, building bridges partnership project led by ERT and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund allowed for staff time to ensure an extensive consultation could take place.
78 people had their say on certain aspects of the reserve, discussing key topics such as the extent of dog use, where paths and entrances would be sited, what would be planted, the inclusion of ponds, what interpretation and signage should be present, a Wildlife Garden and a Community Orchard.
Groups that have come forward to work with the Trust and to take some ownership of the site are Cold Springs Care Home, 2nd Penrith Scouts; Beaconside Primary School; Ullswater Community College SEN group; local resident groups, 4 Eden and Penrith Town Council.
It is great to see members of the local community working together to co-design and take ownership of a site which will prove to be a blessing for local residents.
Creating a better place for nature
Physical work started this year with the planting of 1200 trees to expand the current ancient hedge lines. The addition of 2000 plug plants will increase the species diversity in the grassland, and we’ve also installed new fencing and gates with the help of residents and the local scout group – all giving up their time and starting to get a feel for this new green space.
Work will continue this winter. Two ponds will be completed using contractors and planting will start on the Community Orchard. We are asking community groups to fundraise or volunteer from January 2024 to plant fruit trees in small groups.