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What's wild and special about Carlisle

What's wild and special about Carlisle

Carlisle is situated in the lower floodplain of the River Eden. It is also bound on one side by the Solway Firth, which is an immeasurably important estuary for wildlife.

River Eden
The River Eden is the longest river in Cumbria, fl owing from its source in the Pennines to its mouth in the Solway Firth. It is also one of England’s most valuable for wildlife with breeding salmon and trout.

This value is recognised through its classification as a Special Area of Conservation, making it of European importance. The River Eden is home to many other species including otters, lamprey and the rare white-clawed crayfish.

The River Eden has 184 recorded plant species – more than any other river in England. It supports large numbers of the endangered white-clawed crayfish as well as one of the largest populations of Atlantic salmon in northern England.

The Solway Firth
The Solway Firth – the third largest estuary in England and one of the most important for wildlife, borders the edge of the constituency. Internationally significant numbers of birds such as pink-footed geese and barnacle geese flock to feed in the estuary and surrounding salt marsh, making this a mecca for birdwatchers.

In partnership with the Solway Wetlands project, we are supporting four apprentices over the lifetime of the scheme to provide experience in a broad range of activities and to help them develop an understanding of wildlife conservation.

Lowland raised bogs
These are formed on the low lying and flat floodplain of the Solway. These deep peat habitats are extremely important for a variety of wetland species, as well as being an important store of carbon. Wreay Woods Nature Reserve follows the course of the River Petteril and hosts a wonderful array of flowers under a canopy of oak, ash and birch. Bluebells are a particularly fine sight in the spring.

Your Member of Parliament’s response to our four asks:

Conservative party logoResponse from John Stevenson MP, Conservatives

Thank you for your letter of 20th February 2015. First of all, I would absolutely like to pay tribute to the work of Cumbria Wildlife Trust. I am extremely pleased to read of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust working with the University of Cumbria to help young people improve job prospects. Schemes like this help to teach the importance of our wildlife, while providing skills for those who take part.

I am assured that the Conservative Party is aware and extremely sympathetic to the Wildlife Trust’s campaign. Its manifesto will be published during the General Election campaign, and I certainly expect this to be reflected. But I believe the progress the Government has made shows our commitment to protecting and promoting our natural environment for the present and for the future.

You will be aware that the Government published the first Natural Environment paper in 20 years to establish the Biodiversity 2020 strategy. Part of this has included £7.5 million to establish 12 Nature Improvement Areas, 148,000 acres of priority habitats, and to create 20,000 acres of woodland – plus another million trees in England’s towns and cities. You might be interested to know that England’s woodland cover is expanding at a rate not seen since the fourteenth century.

I absolutely agree with you that being outside in nature provides physical, mental – and cultural benefits. This is why protection of access to the countryside remains so important. The Government is simplifying the way of recording rights of way so they can’t be lost or challenged. Work is also ongoing with Natural England to establish the England Coastal Path – which will be passing through Carlisle.

The Conservative Party has a long tradition of valuing British countryside and is committed to protecting our natural environment, keeping development sustainable and giving everyone the opportunity to access and enjoy the great British outdoors. I will certainly expect to see this if a Conservative Government is elected in May – and I hope to be able to support Cumbria Wildlife Trust in the capacity of MP for Carlisle.

A vision for the Carlisle constituency

Gosling Sike Farm

Gosling Sike Farm is a 36 acre organic farm situated at Houghton, just on the outskirts of the constituency. The Trust plans to develop this site for the benefit of wildlife and also for the community of Carlisle. Our vision is to provide visitor and education facilities for all ages within the community. This will help to develop their understanding of the wildlife that surrounds them and the important part that wildlife-friendly farming plays in creating the habitats they rely on.

Orton Moss Nature Reserve

Orton Moss Nature Reserve is a former lowland raised mire much modified by man. It was historically important to local naturalists for its important butterfly populations. An increase in woodland cover means it is now a great place to see woodcock, willow tit and a number of other woodland birds.

Cumbria Wildlife Nature Reserves located in the Carlisle constituency:

Gosling Sike Farm Nature Reserve

Orton Moss Nature Reserve

Wreay Woods Nature Reserve

Quarry Banks Nature Reserve