At 216 hectares, Eycott Hill Nature Reserve consists of upland habitats, with approximately half of the site forming the Eycott Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest. The report compares two time periods, pre- and post- Cumbria Wildlife Trust management: 2011, when the site was managed as an upland livestock farm, and 2017, after the site had undergone extensive restoration work and management as a nature reserve for four years.
A natural capital assessment is an emerging field of study that identifies the assets of a site, for example woodland, wetland and upland shrub heath, and then determines the benefits that come from them, such as carbon storage, water quality; and, recreation and physical health benefits. These benefits are also known as ecosystem services. These services are then given a monetary value which, when the costs of managing the site are also considered, gives the net capital value of Eycott Hill. This method was applied for time periods 2011 and 2017, to show how changes in site management can have a positive effect on the provision of public benefits.
The state of biodiversity at Eycott Hill was also compared across the two time periods. Some areas, such as natural flood management, pollination services and social benefits cannot yet be quantified using the natural capital framework, although they still contribute to wider ecosystem services that benefit the public through slowing the flow of water, supporting pollinating insects; and improving health and well-being.