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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Site’s bid to protect nature

A LAKELAND holiday business is taking action in case ash die-back disease hits its 130 acres of woodland.

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WORKING TO PROTECT FLORA AND FAUNA: Henry Wild, the owner of Skelwith Fold caravan park at Ambleside, is asking holiday guests to help the park discover what flora and fauna are at risk from an ash tree disease

Skelwith Fold caravan park in Ambleside will ask holiday guests to help it discover what flora and fauna are at risk from the deadly fungus.

The park will then be able to evaluate if certain types of wildlife and plants can survive by re-locating to the woodland.

To help with its project, Skelwith Fold plans to use the eyes and ears of visiting families next year to help identify what species are supported by the threatened trees.

According to Skelwith director Henry Wild, the grounds of the park contain thousands of ash specimens, which in turn play host to many types of animals, birds, insects and plants.

Mr Wild said: “The biodiversity supported by ashes is absolutely staggering.

“Birds such as the bullfinch feed on its seeds, and the leaves of the ash are an important food source for many types of moth, including rare and endangered species.

“In addition, hole nesting birds like owls and woodpeckers make the ash their home, and even snails, stag-beetles and other insects rely on the ash as a food source or a habitat.”

Forestry bosses have said there are now four confirmed sites in Cumbria affected by the deadly tree disease. The exact locations have not been revealed but one lies between Carlisle and Brampton, another is between Penrith and Brough and the other two are located north west and south east of Keswick.

Mr Wild said: “It would be a devastating blow to Skelwith Fold if ash die-back robbed us of all these natural treasures which have co-existed with the trees here for literally centuries.

“But we are not prepared just to shrug our shoulders and assume that all these species will simply vanish, which is why we are launching this audit of our present flora and fauna.”

Holidaymakers will be issued with a list of flora and fauna associated with ash trees, and asked to report if and where any are spotted.

These will then be compared with sightings of the same species following any disease outbreak.

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