Trees planted to boost Cumbria black grouse

Paul Stobbart on his farm Mr Stobbart plans to plant thousands of trees

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Thousands of trees will be planted on a Cumbrian fell in a scheme to boost numbers of an endangered bird.

Farmer Paul Stobbart will receive £130,000 from the Forestry Commission for the scheme to help black grouse.

It will involve planting 16,000 trees such as oak, birch and rowan in a 25-hectare wood.

Another aim of the scheme will be to tackle landslides, with the new trees helping to bind the soil together to prevent erosion.

The Forestry Commission said 80% of the black grouse population was concentrated in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It said the population in the area was about 1,000 adult males, which showed a recovery after numbers fell following recent hard winters.

Forestry Commission woodland officer Jim O'Neill said: "The North Pennines has very low levels of native woodland cover, so a scheme of this size makes a real impact."

Mr Stobbart said: "It's good to boost wildlife like black grouse, but planting is also a sound option for the land in economic as well as environmental terms.

"Long-term I also hope trees will provide hillside shelter for livestock."

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