Geltsdale Farm

Rewilding a commercial hill farm in Cumbria
Credit: Alastair Driver

At a glance




2,545 hectares

Start date





Upland, Mixed woodland, Wetlands (including peatlands and marsh) and Grassland and meadow

Key species

Ring ouzel, Luing cattle, Curlew, Whinchat and Hen harrier

Rewilding actions

Habitat restoration and Deer control

Engaging people

Volunteering and Recreation

Geltsdale Farm is a working hill farm located within Geltsdale nature reserve in Cumbria. The ambition of the project is to recover nature, and to minimise the amount of management intervention and input required on the site through active restoration and natural regeneration.

The site is being managed for nature within the context of a commercial hill farm, and continues to produce high quality meat.

Ring ouzel and curlew monitoring is undertaken by RSPB staff and breeding whinchat monitoring is conducted by volunteers.

The majority of the project is open land, providing high quality recreational opportunities to local people.


A reduction in sheep grazing was the main intervention on the site, to be replaced with low density grazing animals including Luing cattle.

Roe deer control is an on-going requirement to encourage natural regeneration of woodland habitats. Some heather cutting is undertaken for black grouse, however this intervention is decreasing. Active peat bog restoration has been undertaken, including drain blocking and re-wetting.

Images: Alastair Driver


Credit: Alastair Driver
Credit: Alastair Driver

Future Plans

  1. 1 To enable natural processes to thrive across the site increasing the abundance of birds and other wildlife.

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