WORK is underway to create a new nature reserve near Keswick.

Four thousand new trees are due to be planted over the next two years as plans to officially designate part of the Armathwaite Hall Estate take shape.

Staff from the Lake District Wildlife Park (LDWP) are working with Cumbria Woodlands and United Utilities.

The new reserve centres on the four acre Whitebecks Woodland, which has already seen more than ten thousand small shrubs and several thousand new trees planted during the past decade as part of a previous project with The Woodland Trust.

The project aims to expand and enhance the woods as a private nature reserve, which it’s hoped will attract an array of native species from the Biodiversity Action Plan including red squirrels, bats and barn owls.

LDWP manager, Richard Robinson, said: “The aim of this new nature reserve is to join up existing hedgerows and create corridors where wildlife can thrive undisturbed by our modern world. Conservation is a central part of our ethos and restoring habitats for wild animals and plants is vitally important to everyone involved with the Wildlife Park.

"We’re looking forward to nurturing this rich habitat and helping it to flourish.

A new conservation volunteer group is playing a vital role in nurturing oak and ash trees, as well as preparing the land for additional new planting.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Lucy Dunn on 017687 76239 or email