People visiting Stanley Ghyll, in Eskdale, this winter can now catch a glimpse of an iconic, historic view which has been cleared for the first time since the Victorian era.
National Park rangers, volunteers and specialist contractors have been busy over the past year to remove several hectares of rhododendron from the popular Stanley Ghyll. In the process they have cleared the way for the spectacular viewpoint of upper-Dalegarth Falls, which would have last been enjoyed in the late 1800s.
Lake District National Park Area Ranger Rec Cathey said: “Our volunteers have done an excellent job over the last year undertaking the hand-removal of a hectare of rhododendron on the more accessible sections and this, combined with the work of the specialist contractors, has completely transformed the outlook and ambience of the ghyll.
“The area looks especially beautiful in the winter light, so it’s the ideal time to visit. We just ask that people take care and read the signage as there are newly exposed drop-offs above the upper falls.”
The Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) has been managed this year to control the spread of invasive species and improve conditions that will encourage the regeneration of native woodland, conserving and preserving the natural and cultural heritage of this beauty spot.
Rhododendron is an invasive plant, which destroys natural habitats and grows so quickly and thickly, meaning very little light can get through its thick canopy. This is why this view of Dalegarth Falls has been obscured for so long. Since the extensive removal work took place, there has been a noticeable increase of birdlife in the ghyll and several rare lichen and native plant species will now be able to thrive.
This work isn’t a one-off. Volunteers will continue their mighty efforts as part of work parties and the contractor will be revisiting his work annually, for the next two years, in order to keep on top of any regrowth.