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Our ecological restoration project right here on University land and in collaboration with partners across the North of England.

ECOWoods Action Days

We regularly meet with volunteer students and staff during term-time for our ECOWoods fix. Each session is slightly different and presents a great opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge, gain practical experience of nature restoration work and give back to nature, all whilst spending time outdoors, with likeminded people.

We meet at the ECOHub on Southwest Campus and walk over to the site. Activities include native tree planting and aftercare, coppicing, spring bulb planting, tree seed collection and sowing, wildflower meadow management, natural building, and hedgerow and woodland maintenance. We provide equipment such as wellies and waterproofs if necessary.

We always find time to sit down and have a cuppa and biscuit! This is a great opportunity to relax in nature and get to know one another.

Students on an ECOWoods field trip

ECOWoods Field Trips

Our field trips run regularly throughout the year giving our community the opportunity to get hands-on experience and learn about innovative natural solutions to the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Through the programme, we visit a range of landscapes and ecosystems, carrying out a range of tasks at each site aimed at restoring, maintaining and developing natural habitats and environments.

Restoring Hardknott Forest

Set in the Duddon Valley, one of the largest conifer plantations in the Lake District, Hardknott Forest is a 666-hectare landscape-scale nature restoration project. In a partnership with the University of Leeds and Forestry England, the project is being designed and implemented as a natural climate solution with specific benefits to nature and people. For more information, visit the Restoring Hardknott Forest webpage.

Wild Ingleborough

Wild Ingleborough is a wide-reaching partnership to improve biodiversity and regenerate habitats for wildlife across large-scale areas of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales from the valley floor to the top of the mountain. This will aid nature’s recovery in this part of North Yorkshire by supporting low intensity farming and helping wildlife to be more resilient in the face of the climate emergency and other pressures. Find out more on the Wild Ingleborough website.

Wild Haweswater

Wild Haweswater is a joint initiative between the RSPB and United Utilities. At the heart of this rugged Lake District landscape, nature restoration works alongside hill farming, for nature, water and people. Ancient Atlantic oakwood are protected, uplands, woodlands and natural processes restored, rivers re-naturalised, peat bogs rewetted, and floodplains reconnected. For more information, visit the Wild Haweswater website.

Lowther Estate

Eight hundred and fifty years ago, the earliest known member of the Lowther family established himself in the corner of Cumbria that is now known as the Lowther. Today, together with the reintroduction of ecosystem engineers, it is managed in a way that promotes a more natural environment where biodiversity and species richness increases. To find out more, visit the Lowther Estate website.

Green Lancaster Events

Take a look at all of our upcoming Green Lancaster events, get involved and join the team in 2022/23.


Why get involved?

The ECOWoods project started in 2018 and since then has developed to become a year-round, inclusive programme for staff and students.

According to the 2021 State of the UK’s Woods and Trees report by the Woodland Trust, less than 7 percent of the UK’s land area is covered by broadleaf woodland and only 2.5 percent by ancient woodland.

We aim to reinstate natural processes (such as grazing, flooding, and woodland regeneration), improve biodiversity, reconnect fragmented habitats, sequestrate and store carbon, as well as create opportunities for nature-based recreation, connection and wellbeing. We are also harbouring discussions around the role that keystone-species reintroduction could serve in reinvigorating ecosystem-services and trophic cascades.

The ECOWoods project is firmly anchored in principles of ecosystem restoration, natural regeneration, and natural climate solutions. It also encourages a connection as well as a balance between humans and the rest of nature, for the benefit of all. We hope that participants can nurture their relationship with nature by engaging with it through their senses, taking time to appreciate its beauty from big landscapes to small insects, feeling awe and wonder for its complex ecosystems, and acting from a place of compassion by volunteering to have a positive impact.

We really believe this large-scale project can and will leave a long-standing legacy for future generations, contributing long-term to the positive outcomes of the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

A volunteer from LEC removing tree protection from an established tree at Forrest Hills

Dedicated Sessions

Every year, we run a number of dedicated sessions for specific groups such as teaching modules, departments, or societies.

Dates and times are flexible and there are lots of benefits to taking part in an ECOWoods session. The sessions are good for getting out in the open, building team spirit and give volunteers a great level of satisfaction. If you are interested in booking a dedicated session for your group, email us at

Recent sessions and Field Trips

Take a look at some pictures from our sessions below and if you're interested, find out more about the sessions via our events feed.