Nature of Cumbria Project


Ancient woodland, Borrowdale, Cumbria. Photo: E. R. Wilson 2012.


Public Talks on the Nature and Natural History of our Region

The NATURE of CUMBRIA Project is an important community outreach initiative supported and curated by Silviculture Research international. Inaugurated in 2012, the initial focus of the project was to organise short series of illustrated talks on nature, conservation and natural history in Cumbria. Each series had a central theme and was aimed at a general audience. Talks were held at different venues around Cumbria, often during lunch-times or in the afternoon, so that we could encourage the widest audience participation. The speakers were professional conservationists, natural resource specialists, scientists and naturalists with expert knowledge of their topic. They were all committed to outreach in the community, knowledge sharing, and enthusiastic about presenting their ideas and experiences. Most of the speakers were able to volunteer their time to the project, so that costs could be kept to a minimum and everyone was able to attend.

The series were as follows:

  • Series 1. Trees and Woods in Our Landscape: past, present and future (NoC1) (Spring 2012). This series celebrated and explored the remarkable trees and woods of Cumbria. We talked about ancient yews, oaks and ash trees, traditional woodland crafts and our relationship with wood as a resource, and the future of trees in the Cumbrian landscape.
  • Series 2. Ancient Ash Trees and their Future in Cumbria (NoC2) (Autumn/Winter 2012-13). This series was launched in November 2012 and is now continuing in response to widespread concern about the threat of ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea) to the many rare and valuable populations of ancient ash trees in Cumbria. See the Forthcoming Events page for the latest information on this series.
  • Series 3. Cumbria’s Iconic Wildlife (NoC3) (April 2013). This series was delivered at Penrith Public Library, on Monday lunch-times throughout April 2013. Speakers included: Nathan Fox, talking about ospreys in Cumbria; Joanne Backshall, on native crayfish; Emma Tapp, talking about red squirrel conservation; Steve Hewitt, on the otters of Eden valley. The series was curated by Ted Wilson.
  • Series 4. More Trees in Cumbria (NoC4) (November – December 2013). This series continued with our exploration of Cumbria’s unique woodland heritage with further discoveries and insights to more of the special trees in our midst. 

Since 2014, the NATURE of CUMBRIA project adopted a less formal model. Talks continue to be presented on natural history themes, with a distinct focus on trees, forests, forest conservation and forest health. However, rather than a themed series of talks at one venue, individual events are integrated with the lecture series of hosting organisations. This enables the messages about the NATURE of CUMBRIA to be delivered throughout the county and to the most diverse audiences. In recent years, NATURE of CUMBRIA talks have been presented with the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, U3A, local natural history societies, colleges/universities, and other organisations across the county. A listing of past presentations and events can be found on the Public Talks page, here


Cork oak (Quercus suber), Gosforth, Cumbria. Photo: E. R. Wilson 2015.


The Nature of Cumbria Project is most grateful for logistic and financial support from the following organisations:

Future NATURE of CUMBRIA Talks

We are always looking for new themes, venues and speakers to develop the NATURE of CUMBRIA Project, and bring excellent talks to more communities across the county. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please get in touch. Full details are on the Contact page.

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